Hera BioLabs and our VP of Research and Development Tseten Yeshi was featured this week in the Genetic Engineering News (GEN) article titled Humanizing Animal Models for Immuno-oncology. The article highlighted the various efforts to overcome the roadblocks in developing translational cures for cancer through creating models that mode accurately reflect the complexity of the disease. The efforts highlighted in the article include patient derived xenografts (PDX) and humanized models.
Due to the increased ease of model creation with new nucleases technologies like CRISPR and TALEN, the prevalence and utility of humanized models has expanded in recent years. The first step is the creation of immunodeficient strains, in which human cells/tissues are engrafted and develop into the immune system, essentially replacing the missing components of the host immune system. While there are a couple of mouse models available, Hera is leading the way in the creation of humanized rat models.
In the article, Dr. Yeshi discusses some of the advantages to rat which are behind our current efforts to develop liver and immune-system humanized models in our fully immunodeficient rat strains, “They have a lot of advantages over the mouse, such as favorable absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion/pharmacokinetics (ADME/PK) characteristics, ease of handling, ability to sustain more intense intravenous dosing, increased frequency of blood sampling with increased sample size, and larger tissue samples”.