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Dis Model Mech. 2017 Aug 1;10(8):939-942. doi: 10.1242/dmm.031260.

Human tissue models in cancer research: looking beyond the mouse.

Author information

1
National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research, Gibbs Building, 215 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE, UK Sam.Jackson@nc3rs.org.uk.
2
Cancer Sciences Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Somers Building, MP 824 Tremona Road, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK.

Abstract

Mouse models, including patient-derived xenograft mice, are widely used to address questions in cancer research. However, there are documented flaws in these models that can result in the misrepresentation of human tumour biology and limit the suitability of the model for translational research. A coordinated effort to promote the more widespread development and use of 'non-animal human tissue' models could provide a clinically relevant platform for many cancer studies, maximising the opportunities presented by human tissue resources such as biobanks. A number of key factors limit the wide adoption of non-animal human tissue models in cancer research, including deficiencies in the infrastructure and the technical tools required to collect, transport, store and maintain human tissue for lab use. Another obstacle is the long-standing cultural reliance on animal models, which can make researchers resistant to change, often because of concerns about historical data compatibility and losing ground in a competitive environment while new approaches are embedded in lab practice. There are a wide range of initiatives that aim to address these issues by facilitating data sharing and promoting collaborations between organisations and researchers who work with human tissue. The importance of coordinating biobanks and introducing quality standards is gaining momentum. There is an exciting opportunity to transform cancer drug discovery by optimising the use of human tissue and reducing the reliance on potentially less predictive animal models.

PMID:
28768734
PMCID:
PMC5560067
DOI:
10.1242/dmm.031260
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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