What Are Humanized Mice and Why Are They Really Used?
With an increase in the advancement of modern techniques used for genetic manipulation, humanized mice have become an important asset. These mice are used to mimic human conditions and apply potential therapies more efficiently, without any of the risks involved with using human patients. Also, because of the ethical disputes associated with the use of stem cells donated by human patients, humanized mouse models represent a loophole that allows for more thorough research of human diseases.
The Basics of Humanized Mouse Models
What are humanized mice? To put it simply, they are animal models used as a type of surrogate of various parts of human biology. Some can simply have human cells, while others might share many genetic and physiologic properties with humans. Because the mouse genome is close in similarity to the human genome, and because it’s far easier to manipulate and change, there are many components of mouse biology that can easily be adapted to faithfully mimic human biological qualities.
The Uses of the Mice
There are many important uses associated with humanized mice. At first, humanized models were used to study the progression of current medical research and the application of specific drugs and treatments. Human pathogens are specific to the human species, so the development of the first humanized mouse models helped researchers to better address them. The manipulation of gene expressions was another one of the fields in which humanized models were used to an increasing extent over the years. Genetic manipulation through methods such as CRISPR, and other techniques designed to obtain knock out and knock in genes, has become the main attraction in the world of medical and genetic research.
What Diseases Do the Mice Help Against?
Some of the first diseases that humanized mice have helped researchers find new therapies and drugs for were immune system and blood disorders. Strains were developed that were capable not only of an impressive rate of human cell engraftment, but also of facilitating the analysis of human disease and cell functionality in vivo. The fields of hematology and immunology have greatly benefited from the development of new humanized mouse models over the years, and other fields were to follow as well. Cancer study, as well as the study of infectious diseases, HIV, and regenerative medicine have also improved a great deal as a result of the increased development of humanized mouse models.
The Future of Humanized Models
When it comes to the use of humanized mouse models for the purpose of genetic manipulation and research, the future is bright. Humanized strains are becoming increasingly more complex along with the genetic and technological tools developed to manipulate the mouse genome. As a result, scientists are increasingly better at targeting certain genes and making sure that they’re targeting the correct ones. Whether in the research of specific viruses and human disorders, or the study of how the human body would react to certain substances, the use of humanized mice has become even more valuable than it was in the past.