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Arch Hellen Med, 38(2), March-April 2021, 166-176


Review of the applications of mouse models in cancer research

E.P. Kokkinogenis, M. Deli, S. Papakostopoulou, M. Kotsari, P. Zoumpourlis, M. Goulielmaki, V. Zoumpourlis
Unit of Biomedical Applications, Institute of Chemical Biology, National Hellenic Research Foundation, Athens, Greece

The genetic heterogeneity of cancer and the numerous processes that are involved in its development and progression have created the necessity for development of novel methods for its study, aimed at finding new therapeutic approaches. Progress in the field of genetic engineering in recent decades has enabled the development of various model organisms that are used in the study of cancer biology. Such model organisms are among the most common tools for modeling and studying tumors in vivo. The ability to generate mice that represent the genetics of human disease can contribute to identifying those patients who will benefit more from a particular treatment than others who fail to respond effectively. Co-clinical trials can be performed in parallel with studies in humans, during which mice are subjected to the same conditions and therapeutic techniques, and based on the results of the latter, are in turn appropriately applied to human patients. Animal models are also used as a source of tumor cell growth and expansion, which can be derived from human grafts or genetic modification of the models themselves. These are often used in clinical trials to provide information for the complementation of traditional therapeutic approaches and to detect individualized treatments based on the individual characteristics each patient. Alternatively, they can be used to investigate the complex mechanisms and factors involved in various cancer processes, such as tumorigenesis and metastasis. Their application may also be useful in identifying genetic and molecular mechanisms responsible for the heterogeneity of a patient's responses to different therapeutic approaches.

Key words: Basic research, Cancer, Genetically engineered mouse models, Patient-derived xenografts, Preclinical research.

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