Beneficiary: Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch, Member, Whitehead Institute and Professor, Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA, USA
Grant: DKK 2.476.836
Two major challenges when using mouse models to model human cancers such as melanoma are that the human tumor cells transplanted to mice 1) represent the end-stage of the disease and 2) that the host animals are usually immunocompromised.
Thus, these models fail to actually show development of the disease and they fail to display the ongoing interaction between melanoma cells and the immune system as the disease progresses.
To curb these two shortcomings, the team led by Rudolf Jaenisch of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has set out to create an experimental model system that will make it possible to study initiation, progression, and manifestation of human melanoma in immune competent host animals.
Their basis is generation of human-mouse neural crest chimeras – where mice embryos are introduced with human neural crest cells carrying the genetic dispositions alleged to lead to development of the particular cancer – and their goal is a model that has the potential to show how melanoma cells evade the immune system.
Given a positive outcome, this innovative project can help devise strategies to improve the effectiveness of current immunotherapies, to test novel immunotherapies, and to identify novel targets in melanoma treatment.
Malkiel Cohen, Postdoctoral researcher
Kristin Andrykovich, Graduate Assistant