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Thread: Of mice and men

  1. #1

    Of mice and men

    Dear Dr. Young and everybody else. I have a question that I would like to get answered.

    I'm reading all these great news about mice and rats and I wonder if there is any reason that the same procedures could not work in humans?

    I understand that doing it in humans is a more difficult and complex procedure. But I think it would be odd if one could do it with one species and it would be impossible with another.

    I think it's just question of research, money and effort before we get the cure.

    When I was injured two years ago the question of beeing cured was like a distant dream. I had hope, but it was more a question of faith. Based on what I have learnt the last two years and the fantastic development we've seen I don't think it's a question of faith anymore.

    I will just repeat my question:

    Is there any reason to belive the procedures performed on mice should not work after it's been modified and adapted for humans?

    Jan Henrik Nielsen

  2. #2
    Welcome, Jan Henrik. Very good question. The transferability of treatments from rodents to human depend on the treatment.

    I believe that most small molecule drugs can be directly transferred with only a modification of the dose and the therapeutic window. Rats have four times the metabolic, growth, and aging rate of humans. Therefore, the dose and the timing of treatment may need to be greater, more frequent and earlier.

    Transfer of biological therapies, particularly those involving antibodies and proteins are more complicated. This is because proteins act on receptors or specific molecules that may be species specific structures and receptors. Thus, for example, Nogo (the protein that blocks axonal growth) is different from species to species. Blocking nogo with antibodies or blocking nogo receptors with fragments of Nogo is likely to require human molecules.

    Cellular therapies, likewise, will require human cells. This is because animal cells are very likely to be rejected unless they have been genetically modified to express human proteins. The latter has been an object of great investment and effort by several major pharmaceutical companies (Diacrin, Novartis) and there is evidence that animal cells can be modified so that they are not rejected by human. There is rejection even of human cells without careful matching of tissue antigens and suppression of the immune system. From that perspective, autologous (from the same person) transplants are least likely to be rejected. However, it must be noted that the body has auto-immune tendencies and may reject its own cells; this for example is likely to be the case in diabetes where pancreatic cells have not been successful. It is possible that this occurs in other potential auto-immune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and transverse myelitis.

    In summary, there is no single rule that applies to all treatments. Let me give you an example. IN-1 is an antibody that Martin Schwab discovered in mice. It binds to Nogo and stimulates regeneration in rats. It is not clear that this antibody would block human Nogo. IN-1 was discovered in 1987. Developing a form of IN-1 that can be given to humans and that would block Nogo in humans took over 10 years and is just now starting.


  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Boca Raton, Florida, USA


    Just be sure to stop by Orlando and get a pair of mouse ears before you visit Miami. You'll get much better treatment

    Eric Texley

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