Monday, December 15, 2014

Would you test your own mice?

This is the latest in cancer testing. Pick your cancer treatment by getting your own mice to test with your own tumor tissue to see what might be the best treatment option for you.

Yes seriously. If you have a spare $30,000 you too can test on your own mice. It seems crazy. But people are trying it and swearing by it. Basically a piece of their tumor tissue is sent to a lab where they inject it into mice and try some different treatments to see which responds best.

In addition to the expense, there are no guarantee its going to work. The tumor tissue is grafted under the skin of the mice so its not the same environment of a human breast or lung. It takes several months to wait for the mice and patients might need to begin treatment before then. Finally immunotherapies can't be tested as the mice have impaired immune systems.

However there is hope:

""Even if it turns out these have real value," they're likely to be eclipsed by newer advances, such as ways to grow tumor cells in a lab dish that take only a few weeks..."

And I feel bad for the mice....

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