The optical expression pattern of the transgene in glowing head (GH) mice, as visualized by bioluminescence imaging. Reporter activity was detected in the anterior pituitary gland of both genders and the testes of male mice. Image adapted from PLOS ONE.

A new breed of lab animals, dubbed “glowing head mice,” may do a better job than conventional mice in predicting the success of experimental cancer drugs—while also helping to meet an urgent need for more realistic preclinical animal models.

The optical expression pattern of the transgene in glowing head (GH) mice, as visualized by bioluminescence imaging. Reporter activity was detected in the anterior pituitary gland of both genders and the testes of male mice. Image adapted from PLOS ONE.

The Biopharmaceutical Development Program filled, stoppered, capped, and sealed the ch14.18 antibody prior to its labeling and distribution to the NCI Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved dinutuximab (ch14.18) as an immunotherapy for neuroblastoma, a rare type of childhood cancer that offers poor prognosis for about half of the children who are affected. 

The National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Biopharmaceutical Development Program (BDP) at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research produced ch14.18 for the NCI-sponsored clinical trials that proved the drug’s effectiveness against the disease.

From left to right: Weidong Li, principal investigator, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences in Beijing; Nancy Colburn, Ph.D., scientist emeritus, Basic Research Laboratory, NCI Center for Cancer Research (CCR); and Matthew Young, Ph.D., formerly of the Basic Research Laboratory, NCI CCR.

An herbal extract used for centuries to prevent heart disease has now been shown to be effective against colorectal cancer when tested in laboratory cell cultures.

From left to right: Weidong Li, principal investigator, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences in Beijing; Nancy Colburn, Ph.D., scientist emeritus, Basic Research Laboratory, NCI Center for Cancer Research (CCR); and Matthew Young, Ph.D., formerly of the Basic Research Laboratory, NCI CCR.

MRI of transgenic mouse lungs with EGFR-driven lung adenocarcinoma, before and after treatment with CO-1686

A first-of-its-kind drug is showing early promise in attacking certain lung cancers that are hard to treat because they build up resistance to conventional chemotherapy.

The drug, CO-1686, performed well in a preclinical study involving xenograft and transgenic mice, as reported in the journal Cancer Discovery. It is now being evaluated for safety and efficacy in Phase I and II clinical trials.

Pictured, from left: Delaney; Dave Heimbrook, Ph.D., Laboratory Director, Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, and President, Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc.; M.K. Holohan, NCI Legislative Office; Dr. Shyam Sharan, Deputy Director, Mouse Genetics Program; Craig Reynolds, Ph.D., Director of Scientific Operations, NCI at Frederick, and Associate Director, National Cancer Institute; Steve Davis, Chief, Management Operations Support Branch, NCI at Frederick; and Blair Feldman, NCI Legislative Off

U.S. Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) got an overview of the NCI at Frederick, heard about the latest advances in the genetics of breast cancer, and toured the Small Animal Imaging Facility during an Oct. 21 visit to the NCI Campus at Frederick.

Delaney was especially interested in the breast cancer presentation by Shyam Sharan, Ph.D., Deputy Program Director, Mouse Cancer Genetics Program, National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Ligia Pinto

Scientists have identified 11 inflammation markers in the bloodstream that are associated with an increased risk of lung cancer.

Previous studies of inflammation markers have been on a smaller scale or involved fewer markers. The current study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, examined 68 markers associated with various aspects of immunity and inflammation.

The chikungunya virus, which is spread by mosquitoes, causes high fever, severe joint pain, fatigue, and other symptoms. An experimental vaccine manufactured at the Pilot Plant appears to offer protection against the virus, according to results from first-in-human clinical trials. Feature image by A2-33 (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons.

An experimental vaccine for mosquito-borne chikungunya virus, which spread to the U.S. this year, appears to be safe and well-tolerated while offering protection against the virus, according to the results of a first-in-human clinical trial.

The vaccine—made from non-infectious virus-like particles (VLPs)—was manufactured at the Pilot Plant (formerly known as the Vaccine Pilot Plant), which is operated by the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

The chromosomes of an individual with the Ser270Asn-3 amino acid change have longer and more fragile telomeres than those of a healthy control (C2) group. Longer and more fragile telomeres point to a possible defect in telomere maintenance, which may be involved in melanoma development, according to this study.

Researchers, including staff of the Cancer Genomics Research Laboratory (CGR), Leidos Biomedical Research, have recently discovered POT1 as a major susceptibility gene for familial melanoma.

Allograft models were developed by transplanting tumor fragments into the ovaries of recipient mice. Tumor fragments were obtained from genetically engineered mouse (GEM) models that developed ovarian tumors after the induction of genetic alterations similar to those observed in human patients. These genetic events, within several months, lead to ovarian tumor development similar to what is seen in human serous epithelial ovarian cancer (SEOC). Using murine allograft models of SEOC results in faster tumor g

A new genetically engineered mouse model appears promising as an effective tool for preclinical testing of novel therapies for ovarian cancer, which tends to be diagnosed in late stage. There are few effective treatments for the disease.

Part of the challenge in developing new therapies for ovarian cancer is the lack of an accurate animal model to aid in preclinical testing of candidate drugs. Some genetically engineered mouse models do exist; however, these mice have not been optimized for preclinical studies, leading to high failure rates during subsequent human trials.

The figure shows the serial passage of minimally charged HIV into a series of pigtail macaques to adapt the virus, which became capable of causing AIDS in the monkeys, beginning after the third animal-to-animal passage (

In a research milestone reported in the June 20 issue of the journal Science, scientists have developed a minimally modified version of HIV-1, the virus that causes AIDS in infected humans, that is capable of causing progressive infection and AIDS in monkeys. The advance should help create more authentic animal models of the disease and provide a potentially invaluable approach for faster and better preclinical evaluation of new drugs and vaccines.

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