Posts tagged ‘medicine’


  1. Mali P, Esvelt KM, Church GM. Cas9 as a versatile tool for engineering biology. Nat Methods. 2013 Sep 27;10(10):957-63. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.2649. PubMed  PMID: 24076990.
  2. Esvelt KM, Mali P, Braff JL, Moosburner M, Yaung SJ, Church GM. Orthogonal Cas9 proteins for RNA-guided gene regulation and editing. Nat Methods. 2013 Sep 29. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.2681. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 24076762.
  3. Jao LE, Wente SR, Chen W. Efficient multiplex biallelic zebrafish genome editing using a CRISPR nuclease system. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Aug 20;110(34):13904-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1308335110. Epub 2013 Aug 5. PubMed PMID: 23918387; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3752207.
  4. Pennisi E. The CRISPR craze. Science. 2013 Aug 23;341(6148):833-6. doi: 10.1126/science.341.6148.833. PubMed PMID: 23970676.
  5. Koboldt DC, Steinberg KM, Larson DE, Wilson RK, Mardis ER. The next-generation sequencing revolution and its impact on genomics. Cell. 2013 Sep 26;155(1):27-38. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2013.09.006. PubMed PMID: 24074859.
  6. Rivera CM, Ren B. Mapping human epigenomes. Cell. 2013 Sep 26;155(1):39-55. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2013.09.011. PubMed PMID: 24074860.
  7. Bauer DE, Kamran SC, Lessard S, Xu J, Fujiwara Y, Lin C, Shao Z, Canver MC, Smith EC, Pinello L, Sabo PJ, Vierstra J, Voit RA, Yuan GC, Porteus MH, Stamatoyannopoulos JA, Lettre G, Orkin SH. An Erythroid Enhancer of BCL11A Subject to Genetic Variation Determines Fetal Hemoglobin Level. Science. 2013 Oct 11;342(6155):253-257. PubMed PMID: 24115442.
    • Commentary: Hardison RC, Blobel GA. GWAS to Therapy by Genome Edits? Science. 2013 Oct 11;342(6155):206-207. PubMed PMID: 24115432.


  1. Deeti S, O’Farrell S, Kennedy BN. Early Safety Assessment of Human Oculotoxic Drugs Using the Zebrafish Visualmotor Response. J Pharmacol Toxicol Methods. 2013 Sep 30. doi:pii: S1056-8719(13)00299-2. 10.1016/j.vascn.2013.09.002. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 24091134.


  1. Chakravarti A, Clark AG, Mootha VK. Distilling pathophysiology from complex disease genetics. Cell. 2013 Sep 26;155(1):21-6. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2013.09.001. PubMed PMID: 24074858.
  2. Moreno JA, Halliday M, Molloy C, Radford H, Verity N, Axten JM, Ortori CA, Willis AE, Fischer PM, Barrett DA, Mallucci GR. Oral Treatment Targeting the Unfolded Protein Response Prevents Neurodegeneration and Clinical Disease in Prion-Infected Mice. Sci Transl Med. 2013 Oct 9;5(206):206ra138. PubMed PMID: 24107777.


  1. Tappeiner C, Gerber S, Enzmann V, Balmer J, Jazwinska A, Tschopp M. Visual acuity and contrast sensitivity of adult zebrafish. Front Zool. 2012 May 29;9(1):10. PubMed PMID: 22643065; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3453526.
  2. Bianco IH, Kampff AR, Engert F. Prey capture behavior evoked by simple visual stimuli in larval zebrafish. Front Syst Neurosci. 2011;5:101. doi:10.3389/fnsys.2011.00101. PubMed PMID: 22203793; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3240898.

Stem cells

  1. Abad M, Mosteiro L, Pantoja C, Cañamero M, Rayon T, Ors I, Graña O, Megías D, Domínguez O, Martínez D, Manzanares M, Ortega S, Serrano M. Reprogramming in vivo produces teratomas and iPS cells with totipotency features. Nature. 2013 Sep 11. doi: 10.1038/nature12586. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 24025773.
    • Commentary: De Los Angeles A, Daley GQ. Stem cells: Reprogramming in situ. Nature. 2013 Sep 11. doi: 10.1038/nature12559. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 24025771.
    • News coverage: More-Primitive Stem Cells Produced

Ig Nobel price 2013


  1. Sridhar S, Begom S, Bermingham A, Hoschler K, Adamson W, Carman W, Bean T, Barclay W, Deeks JJ, Lalvani A. Cellular immune correlates of protection against symptomatic pandemic influenza. Nat Med. 2013 Sep 22. doi: 10.1038/nm.3350. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 24056771.


  1. Lee MT, Bonneau AR, Takacs CM, Bazzini AA, Divito KR, Fleming ES, Giraldez AJ. Nanog, Pou5f1 and SoxB1 activate zygotic gene expression during the maternal-to-zygotic transition. Nature. 2013 Sep 22. doi: 10.1038/nature12632. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 24056933.



  1. Ran FA, Hsu PD, Lin CY, Gootenberg JS, Konermann S, Trevino AE, Scott DA, Inoue A, Matoba S, Zhang Y, Zhang F. Double Nicking by RNA-Guided CRISPR Cas9 for Enhanced Genome Editing Specificity. Cell. 2013 Sep 12;154(6):1380-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2013.08.021. Epub 2013 Aug 29. PubMed PMID: 23992846.
  2. Yang H, Wang H, Shivalila CS, Cheng AW, Shi L, Jaenisch R. One-Step Generation of Mice Carrying Reporter and Conditional Alleles by CRISPR/Cas-Mediated Genome Engineering. Cell. 2013 Sep 12;154(6):1370-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2013.08.022. Epub 2013 Aug 29. PubMed PMID: 23992847.
  3. Mali P, Aach J, Stranges PB, Esvelt KM, Moosburner M, Kosuri S, Yang L, Church GM. CAS9 transcriptional activators for target specificity screening and paired nickases for cooperative genome engineering. Nat Biotechnol. 2013 Sep;31(9):833-8. doi: 10.1038/nbt.2675. Epub 2013 Aug 1. PubMed PMID: 23907171.
  4. DiCarlo JE, Norville JE, Mali P, Rios X, Aach J, Church GM. Genome engineering in Saccharomyces cerevisiae using CRISPR-Cas systems. Nucleic Acids Res. 2013 Apr;41(7):4336-43. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkt135. Epub 2013 Mar 4. PubMed PMID: 23460208; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3627607.

Science special section - Forces in Development

  1. Purnell BA. Forces in development. Forceful thinking. Introduction. Science. 2012 Oct 12;338(6104):209. doi: 10.1126/science.338.6104.209. PubMed PMID: 23066070.
  2. Kicheva A, Cohen M, Briscoe J. Developmental pattern formation: insights from physics and biology. Science. 2012 Oct 12;338(6104):210-2. doi: 10.1126/science.1225182. Review. PubMed PMID: 23066071.
  3. Furusawa C, Kaneko K. A dynamical-systems view of stem cell biology. Science.  2012 Oct 12;338(6104):215-7. doi: 10.1126/science.1224311. Review. PubMed PMID: 23066073.
  4. Newman SA. Physico-genetic determinants in the evolution of development. Science. 2012 Oct 12;338(6104):217-9. doi: 10.1126/science.1222003. PubMed PMID: 23066074.
  5. Behrndt M, Salbreux G, Campinho P, Hauschild R, Oswald F, Roensch J, Grill SW, Heisenberg CP. Forces driving epithelial spreading in zebrafish gastrulation. Science. 2012 Oct 12;338(6104):257-60. doi: 10.1126/science.1224143. PubMed PMID: 23066079.

Visual sciences

  1. Hardie RC, Franze K. Photomechanical responses in Drosophila photoreceptors. Science. 2012 Oct 12;338(6104):260-3. doi: 10.1126/science.1222376. PubMed PMID: 23066080.

Neural behaviour

  1. Fernandes AM, Fero K, Arrenberg AB, Bergeron SA, Driever W, Burgess HA. Deep Brain Photoreceptors Control Light-Seeking Behavior in Zebrafish Larvae. Curr Biol. 2012 Sep 18. pii: S0960-9822(12)00944-X. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.08.016. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 23000151.

Retinal development

  1. Xiang M. Intrinsic control of mammalian retinogenesis. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2012 Oct 12. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 23064704.

Eye diseases

  1. Sahly I, Dufour E, Schietroma C, Michel V, Bahloul A, Perfettini I, Pepermans E, Estivalet A, Carette D, Aghaie A, Ebermann I, Lelli A, Iribarne M, Hardelin JP, Weil D, Sahel JA, El-Amraoui A, Petit C. Localization of Usher 1 proteins to the photoreceptor calyceal processes, which are absent from mice. J Cell Biol. 2012 Oct 15;199(2):381-99. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201202012. Epub 2012 Oct 8. PubMed PMID: 23045546; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3471240.


  1. Krogsbøll LT, Jørgensen KJ, Grønhøj Larsen C, Gøtzsche PC. General health checks in adults for reducing morbidity and mortality from disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Oct 17;10:CD009009. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD009009.pub2. PubMed PMID: 23076952.

was awarded jointly to Sir John Gurdon and Shinya Yamnaka

for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent

They also won the Lasker Award in 2009.


Retinal Development

  1. Salbreux G, Barthel LK, Raymond PA, Lubensky DK. Coupling mechanical deformations and planar cell polarity to create regular patterns in the zebrafish retina. PLoS Comput Biol. 2012 Aug;8(8):e1002618. Epub 2012 Aug 23. PubMed PMID: 22936893; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3426565.
  2. Chen M, Wang K, Lin B. Development and degeneration of cone bipolar cells are  independent of cone photoreceptors in a mouse model of retinitis pigmentosa. PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e44036. Epub 2012 Aug 31. PubMed PMID: 22952865.
  3. He J, Zhang G, Almeida AD, Cayouette M, Simons BD, Harris WA. How variable clones build an invariant retina. Neuron. 2012 Sep 6;75(5):786-98. PubMed PMID: 22958820.
    • Commentary: Chen Z, Li X, Desplan C. Deterministic or stochastic choices in retinal neuron specification. Neuron. 2012 Sep 6;75(5):739-42. PubMed PMID: 22958814.

Eye disease

  1. Murakami Y, Matsumoto H, Roh M, Suzuki J, Hisatomi T, Ikeda Y, Miller JW, Vavvas DG. Receptor interacting protein kinase mediates necrotic cone but not rod cell death in a mouse model of inherited degeneration. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Sep 4;109(36):14598-603. Epub 2012 Aug 20. PubMed PMID: 22908283.
  2. Kohl S, Coppieters F, Meire F, Schaich S, Roosing S, Brennenstuhl C, Bolz S, van Genderen MM, Riemslag FC; the European Retinal Disease Consortium, Lukowski R, den Hollander AI, Cremers FP, De Baere E, Hoyng CB, Wissinger B. A Nonsense Mutation in PDE6H Causes Autosomal-Recessive Incomplete Achromatopsia. Am J Hum Genet. 2012 Sep 7;91(3):527-532. Epub 2012 Aug 16. PubMed PMID: 22901948.
  3. Manzini MC, Tambunan DE, Hill RS, Yu TW, Maynard TM, Heinzen EL, Shianna KV, Stevens CR, Partlow JN, Barry BJ, Rodriguez J, Gupta VA, Al-Qudah AK, Eyaid WM, Friedman JM, Salih MA, Clark R, Moroni I, Mora M, Beggs AH, Gabriel SB, Walsh CA. Exome Sequencing and Functional Validation in Zebrafish Identify GTDC2 Mutations as a Cause of Walker-Warburg Syndrome. Am J Hum Genet. 2012 Sep 7;91(3):541-7. PubMed PMID: 22958903.


  1. Schmitt MW, Kennedy SR, Salk JJ, Fox EJ, Hiatt JB, Loeb LA. Detection of ultra-rare mutations by next-generation sequencing. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Sep 4;109(36):14508-13. Epub 2012 Aug 1. PubMed PMID: 22853953.
  2. Papers related to ENCODE
      1. Schaub MA, Boyle AP, Kundaje A, Batzoglou S, Snyder M. Linking disease associations with regulatory information in the human genome. Genome Res. 2012 Sep;22(9):1748-59. PubMed PMID: 22955986.
      2. Stamatoyannopoulos JA. What does our genome encode? Genome Res. 2012 Sep;22(9):1602-11. PubMed PMID: 22955972.
      3. Frazer KA. Decoding the human genome. Genome Res. 2012 Sep;22(9):1599-601. PubMed PMID: 22955971.
    1. Nature (with links to Genome Research papers)
      1. Skipper M, Dhand R, Campbell P. Presenting ENCODE. Nature. 2012 Sep6;489(7414):45. doi: 10.1038/489045a. PubMed PMID: 22955612.
      2. Ecker JR, Bickmore WA, Barroso I, Pritchard JK, Gilad Y, Segal E. Genomics: ENCODE explained. Nature. 2012 Sep 6;489(7414):52-5. doi: 10.1038/489052a. PubMed PMID: 22955614.
      3. ENCODE Project Consortium, Bernstein BE, Birney E, Dunham I, Green ED, Gunter C, Snyder M. An integrated encyclopedia of DNA elements in the human genome.Nature. 2012 Sep 6;489(7414):57-74. doi: 10.1038/nature11247. PubMed PMID: 22955616.
      4. Thurman RE, et al., The accessible chromatin landscape of the human genome. Nature. 2012 Sep 6;489(7414):75-82. doi: 10.1038/nature11232. PubMed PMID: 22955617.
      5. Neph S, et al., An expansive human regulatory lexicon encoded in transcription factor footprints. Nature. 2012 Sep 6;489(7414):83-90. doi: 10.1038/nature11212. PubMed PMID:22955618.
      6. Gerstein MB, et al., Architecture of the human regulatory network derived from ENCODE data. Nature. 2012 Sep 6;489(7414):91-100. doi: 10.1038/nature11245. PubMed PMID: 22955619.
      7. Djebali S, et al., Landscape of transcription in human cells. Nature. 2012 Sep 6;489(7414):101-8. doi: 10.1038/nature11233. PubMed PMID: 22955620.

Oxidative Stress

  1. Mukaigasa K, Nguyen LT, Li L, Nakajima H, Yamamoto M, Kobayashi M. Genetic Evidence of an Evolutionarily Conserved Role for Nrf2 in the Protection against Oxidative Stress. Mol Cell Biol. 2012 Sep 4. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 22949501.

Stem cells

  1. Sancho-Martinez I, Baek SH, Izpisua Belmonte JC. Lineage conversion methodologies meet the reprogramming toolbox. Nat Cell Biol. 2012 Sep 3;14(9):892-9. doi: 10.1038/ncb2567. PubMed PMID: 22945254.
  2. Loh KM, Lim B. Epigenetics: Actors in the cell reprogramming drama. Nature. 2012 Aug 30;488(7413):599-600. doi: 10.1038/488599a. PubMed PMID: 22932382.


  1. Asch DA, Volpp KG. What business are we in? The emergence of health as the business of health care. N Engl J Med. 2012 Sep 6;367(10):888-9. Epub 2012 Aug 30. PubMed PMID: 22931228.
  2. Fani Marvasti F, Stafford RS. From sick care to health care–reengineering prevention into the U.S. system. N Engl J Med. 2012 Sep 6;367(10):889-91. PubMed PMID: 22931257.
  3. Barnes KA, Kroening-Roche JC, Comfort BW. The developing vision of primary care. N Engl J Med. 2012 Sep 6;367(10):891-3. PubMed PMID: 22931258.
  4. Baker M. Doctors back circumcision. Nature. 2012 Aug 30;488(7413):568. doi: 10.1038/488568a. PubMed PMID: 22932355.
  5. Nature Outlook HPV
    1. Crow JM. HPV: The global burden. Nature. 2012 Aug 30;488(7413):S2-3. doi: 10.1038/488S2a. PubMed PMID: 22932437.


  1. Maxmen A. Calorie restriction falters in the long run. Nature. 2012 Aug 30;488(7413):569. doi: 10.1038/488569a. PubMed PMID: 22932356.

Ethics, Social and Legal Issues

  1. Greenland P, Fontanarosa PB. Ending honorary authorship. Science. 2012 Aug 31;337(6098):1019. PubMed PMID: 22936744.

Neuroimaging/ Connectomics

  1. Wedeen VJ, Rosene DL, Wang R, Dai G, Mortazavi F, Hagmann P, Kaas JH, Tseng WY. The geometric structure of the brain fiber pathways. Science. 2012 Mar 30;335(6076):1628-34. PubMed PMID: 22461612.


  1. Rogulja D, Young MW. Control of sleep by cyclin A and its regulator. Science. 2012 Mar 30;335(6076):1617-21. PubMed PMID: 22461610.
  2. Koch C. Newsmaker interview: Christof Koch. A vision of how mouse vision can reveal consciousness’ secrets. Interview by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee. Science. 2012 Mar 23;335(6075):1426-7. PubMed PMID: 22442452.
  3. Morris RG, Takeuchi T. Neuroscience. The imaginary mind of a mouse. Science. 2012 Mar 23;335(6075):1455-6. PubMed PMID: 22442473.
  4. Bardin J. Neuroscience: Making connections. Nature. 2012 Mar 21;483(7390):394-6. doi: 10.1038/483394a. PubMed PMID: 22437591.


  1. Shohat-Ophir G, Kaun KR, Azanchi R, Heberlein U. Sexual deprivation increases ethanol intake in Drosophila. Science. 2012 Mar 16;335(6074):1351-5. PubMed PMID:22422983.
    • Commentary: Zars T. Physiology. She said no, pass me a beer. Science. 2012 Mar 16;335(6074):1309-10. PubMed PMID: 22422968.

Philosophy of Science

  1. Bodemer N, Ruggeri A. Finding a good research question, in theory. Science. 2012 Mar 23;335(6075):1439. PubMed PMID: 22442459.

Ethics, Social and Legel Issues

  1. Must try harder. Nature. 2012 Mar 28;483(7391):509. doi: 10.1038/483509a.PubMed PMID: 22460859.
  2. Begley CG, Ellis LM. Drug development: Raise standards for preclinical cancer research. Nature. 2012 Mar 28;483(7391):531-3. doi: 10.1038/483531a. PubMed PMID: 22460880.
  3. Incidental benefits. Nature. 2012 Mar 21;483(7390):373. doi: 10.1038/483373a. PubMed PMID: 22437569.
  4. Hayden EC. DNA donor rights affirmed. Nature. 2012 Mar 21;483(7390):387. doi: 10.1038/483387a. PubMed PMID: 22437587.

Systems Biology

  1. Weinstein JN. Drug discovery: Cell lines battle cancer. Nature. 2012 Mar 28;483(7391):544-5. doi: 10.1038/483544a. PubMed PMID: 22460893.
  2. Barretina J, Caponigro G, Stransky N, Venkatesan K, Margolin AA, Kim S, Wilson CJ, Lehár J, Kryukov GV, Sonkin D, Reddy A, Liu M, Murray L, Berger MF, Monahan JE, Morais P, Meltzer J, Korejwa A, Jané-Valbuena J, Mapa FA, Thibault J, Bric-Furlong E, Raman P, Shipway A, Engels IH, Cheng J, Yu GK, Yu J, Aspesi P Jr, de Silva M, Jagtap K, Jones MD, Wang L, Hatton C, Palescandolo E, Gupta S, Mahan S, Sougnez C, Onofrio RC, Liefeld T, MacConaill L, Winckler W, Reich M, Li N, Mesirov JP, Gabriel SB, Getz G, Ardlie K, Chan V, Myer VE, Weber BL, Porter J, Warmuth M, Finan P, Harris JL, Meyerson M, Golub TR, Morrissey MP, Sellers WR, Schlegel R, Garraway LA. The Cancer Cell Line Encyclopedia enables predictive modelling of anticancer drug sensitivity. Nature. 2012 Mar 28;483(7391):603-7. doi: 10.1038/nature11003. PubMed PMID: 22460905.
  3. Garnett MJ, Edelman EJ, Heidorn SJ, Greenman CD, Dastur A, Lau KW, Greninger P, Thompson IR, Luo X, Soares J, Liu Q, Iorio F, Surdez D, Chen L, Milano RJ, Bignell GR, Tam AT, Davies H, Stevenson JA, Barthorpe S, Lutz SR, Kogera F, Lawrence K, McLaren-Douglas A, Mitropoulos X, Mironenko T, Thi H, Richardson L, Zhou W, Jewitt F, Zhang T, O’Brien P, Boisvert JL, Price S, Hur W, Yang W, Deng X, Butler A, Choi HG, Chang JW, Baselga J, Stamenkovic I, Engelman JA, Sharma SV, Delattre O, Saez-Rodriguez J, Gray NS, Settleman J, Futreal PA, Haber DA, Stratton MR, Ramaswamy S, McDermott U, Benes CH. Systematic identification of genomic markers of drug sensitivity in cancer cells. Nature. 2012 Mar 28;483(7391):570-5. doi: 10.1038/nature11005. PubMed PMID: 22460902.
  4. Pujadas E, Feinberg AP. Regulated noise in the epigenetic landscape of development and disease. Cell. 2012 Mar 16;148(6):1123-31. PubMed PMID: 22424224.

Eye disease

  1. Zhang J, Benavente CA, McEvoy J, Flores-Otero J, Ding L, Chen X, Ulyanov A, Wu G, Wilson M, Wang J, Brennan R, Rusch M, Manning AL, Ma J, Easton J, Shurtleff S, Mullighan C, Pounds S, Mukatira S, Gupta P, Neale G, Zhao D, Lu C, Fulton RS, Fulton LL, Hong X, Dooling DJ, Ochoa K, Naeve C, Dyson NJ, Mardis ER, Bahrami A, Ellison D, Wilson RK, Downing JR, Dyer MA. A novel retinoblastoma therapy from genomic and epigenetic analyses. Nature. 2012 Jan 11;481(7381):329-34. doi: 10.1038/nature10733. PubMed PMID: 22237022; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3289956.


  1. Vaidyanathan G. Redefining clinical trials: the age of personalized medicine.  Cell. 2012 Mar 16;148(6):1079-80. PubMed PMID: 22424218.

Stem cells

  1. Cherry AB, Daley GQ. Reprogramming Cellular Identity for Regenerative Medicine. Cell. 2012 Mar 16;148(6):1110-1122. Epub 2012 Mar 15. PubMed PMID: 22424223.


  1. Perkel JM Ph D. Run your lab on dollars a day! Biotechniques. 2012 Mar;52(3):141-143. PubMed PMID: 22401545.
  2. Blow N Ph D. Reflections on the modern lab. Biotechniques. 2012 Mar;52(3):145-147. PubMed PMID: 22401546.

How Doctors Die – It’s Not Like the Rest of Us, But It Should Be

A deep article written by Ken Murray about how some physicians and patients would opt for less or no treatments when they encounter terminal illness.


There seems to be a new effective drug for Cystic Fibrosis!

  1. Ramsey BW, Davies J, McElvaney NG, Tullis E, Bell SC, Dřevínek P, Griese M, McKone EF, Wainwright CE, Konstan MW, Moss R, Ratjen F, Sermet-Gaudelus I, Rowe SM, Dong Q, Rodriguez S, Yen K, Ordoñez C, Elborn JS; VX08-770-102 Study Group. A CFTR potentiator in patients with cystic fibrosis and the G551D mutation. N Engl J Med. 2011 Nov 3;365(18):1663-72. PubMed PMID: 22047557.
    • Commentary: Davis PB. Therapy for cystic fibrosis–the end of the beginning? N Engl J Med. 2011 Nov 3;365(18):1734-5. PubMed PMID: 22047565.
    • News coverage: “Cystic Fibrosis Drug a Game Changer?” from

I just come across with this article in Slate Magazine “The Mouse Trap – The dangers of using one lab animal to study every disease.” that talks in great details about the limitation of using animal model to look for new drugs to treat human diseases.  For example, the control healthy mouse can actually be metabolically abnormal because of the way we keep and grow them. A recent paper published in the PNAS has unveiled some of these issues.

Martin B, Ji S, Maudsley S, Mattson MP. “Control” laboratory rodents are metabolically morbid: why it matters. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Apr 6;107(14):6127-33. Epub 2010 Mar 1. PubMed PMID: 20194732; PubMed Central PMCID:  PMC2852022.

And I just notice that this slate article belongs to a series of article, including one that talks about my favorite – naked mole rats.

The Mouse Trap – The Trouble With Black-6A tiny alcoholic takes over the lab.

The Mouse Trap – The Anti-Mouse – Could a hairless African rodent be our secret weapon in the war on cancer?

Naked mole rat from Wikipedia

The genome sequence of the naked mole rat is published recently (Kim et al., 2011) ! This is an amazing creature that lives almost up to 30 years in captivity, 9 times longer than mice. At the same time they do not seem to suffer from cancer or a decline in fertility (Buffenstein 2008).

I have been fascinated by the research on the naked mole rats since I read an research article published by Vera Gorbunova’s group in 2009 (Seluanov et al., 2009). In this study, the authors elucidated the naturally occurred anti-cancer mechanism inside this creature. As it turns out, the cells from the naked mole rat will initiate a program to turn off cell growth as soon as the cells start touching each other in culture, a much earlier response than that in regular rats or mice. The most impressive finding is that this early program that can turn off cell growth actually uses the same cell division control mechanisms as in us, but it is just fine-tuned to respond to growth more sensitively. In the new study that sequenced the genome of the naked mole rat, a number of interesting findings have been found and may reveal other aspects of its longevity and physiology for this success and etc. I will save this for your own personal reading.

I find all these results beautiful and  powerfully remind us how studying our nature can lead to potentially important findings that can “translate” to human health; and how the “traditional” clinical research on human and classical animal models can miss the answer that is already out there.

Extended readings

  1. Buffenstein R. Negligible senescence in the longest living rodent, the naked mole-rat: insights from a successfully aging species. J Comp Physiol B. 2008 May;178(4):439-45. Epub 2008 Jan 8. Review. PubMed PMID: 18180931.
  2. Kim EB et al., Genome sequencing reveals insights into physiology and longevity of the naked mole rat. Nature. 2011 Oct 12. doi: 10.1038/nature10533. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 21993625.
  3. Seluanov A et al., Hypersensitivity to contact inhibition provides a clue to cancer resistance of naked mole-rat. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Nov 17;106(46):19352-7. Epub 2009 Oct 26. PubMed PMID: 19858485; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2780760.