Cancer, immunotherapy, and mouse avatars
Oakley, Oliver R. Department of Biological Sciences, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky.
- Mouse avatars
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Cancer is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. More than 1.6 million new cases of cancer are likely to be diagnosed in the United States in 2015. In the simplest terms, cancer is the loss of regulation of cell division. In a tissue made up of many millions of cells, this loss of regulation results in the uncontrollable growth of an area of that tissue. This enlarged region of tissue containing the cancer cells is known as a tumor. The key to successfully treating cancer is to remove any cells that are unable to regulate themselves before they are able to spread to other parts of the body and initiate the growth of new tumors. In 2014, “cancer immunotherapy” was chosen by the journal Science as the breakthrough of the year. This relatively new development involves targeting parts of the immune system in the treatment of several types of cancers. This approach was taken one step further in recent experimental procedures, with patients paying to have “mouse avatars” produced that carry their personal tumors. These mice are then tested using different immunotherapies to determine the most effective strategy to eradicate their tumor.
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