Cancer patients testing drugs on mouse 'avatars'

By The Associated Press | Posted - Dec. 14, 2014 at 12:21 p.m.



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UNDATED (AP) — Scientists often test drugs in mice. Now some cancer patients are doing the same — with the hope of curing their own disease.

They are paying a private lab to breed mice that carry bits of their own tumors so treatments can be tried first on the customized rodents. The idea is to see which drugs might work best on a specific person's specific cancer.

But there are no guarantees the mice will help. Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, cautions that the approach should be considered highly experimental.

It's also expensive and time-consuming. Mouse testing costs $10,000 or more, and insurers don't cover it. It takes several months, so patients usually have to start therapy before mouse results are in.

Several labs breed these mice but the main supplier to patients has been Champions Oncology, a company based in Hackensack, New Jersey.

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The Associated Press

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