Mouse “avatars” in the treatment of progressive cancers


We’re not sure what to make of this one at all, but apparently some people are now willing to pay to have pieces of their tumor transplanted into laboratory mice to test whether specific drugs will work on their tumor in those mice. Don’t expect your insurance company to pay for this type of highly experimental care! And it ain’t cheap either!

The news report appeared very early today on the Associated Press web site, and the study is very clear about the limited data that is available to support this type of experimental care. However, for those with the money to burn, it does appear — solely on the basis of this report — that if a drug doesn’t work at all in your tumor when it is transplanted into the right sort of laboratory mouse, then it isn’t gonna work in you either.

In theory, it might be possible to use such a process to find out whether prostate cancer patients with progressive disease responded well to newer drugs like abiraterone acetate, enzalutamide, etc. (either before or after androgen deprivation therapy). However, it takes months to do this, and there is no evidence at all (yet) to imply that using mice in this way works any better than care based on medical guidelines or care using the gene tests that can already be used to help pick drugs for some forms of cancer. (No such gene tests are widely available yet with respect to picking drugs to treat progressive prostate cancer.)

2 Responses

  1. There are a few sites recently about using oxygen. Can you comment on this?

  2. Dear Bill:

    Here is a link to a relatively recent review article on the use of hyperbaric oxgen in the treatment of cancer (as opposed to its use in the treatment of proctitis and rectal bleeding in men who have radiation therapy for prostate cancer).

    I am not aware of any clinical data at all suggesting a value of the use of hyperbaric oxygen in the treatment of prostate cancer per se. There are data on the use of hyperbaric oxygen in treatment of proctitis and rectal bleeding as a consequence of radiation therapy for prostate cancer. This is clearly helpful for some (but certainly not all) men with this problem; here’s one example of such a paper.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: