The littlest patient

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Science  03 Oct 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6205, pp. 24-27
DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6205.24

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Cancer researchers have long been frustrated by a dismal statistic that plagues their field: Ninety percent of drugs that shine in mice fail in people. Now, mouse models are undergoing an overhaul in an effort to change that. At Columbia University, Kenneth Olive is working with mice that are genetically engineered to spontaneously develop pancreatic cancer; in his "mouse hospital," the animals undergo regular ultrasounds, surgeries, and treatments in the hopes of clarifying the biology of the disease and how best to treat it in people. Another model involves grafting tumor tissue from cancer patients into individual mice. Although there's much excitement that these cutting-edge mouse models will prove a more reliable guide, like all animal models they come with drawbacks, and are expensive and time-consuming to work with.

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