Dengue: Humanised Mouse

Following a media briefing and news release on 11 Sep 2013, the story on SMART new mouse model that will help in dengue study was published in The Straits Times, TODAY and Lianhe Zaobao; as well as broadcasted in the News on Channel 5, 8 and Channel U. Here is the crux of the story:

Scientists are close to developing therapeutics (vaccine & drugs) to fight dengue, with the latest innovative solution - the Humanised Mouse - by SMART Infectious Diseases Interdisciplinary Research Group (ID IRG).

This humanised mouse model could potentially lead to a medical breakthrough to tackle dengue infection. Immuno-deficient mice are inject with human foetal liver stem cells to replicate the human immune system in their bodies. They are then injected with the dengue virus.

Researchers found that the mice exhibited key features of dengue infection, in particular the drop in blood platelets count, which is caused by the virus inhibiting the platelet production in the bone marrow. 

Professor Jianzhu Chen, the Ivan R. Cottrell Professor of Immunology at MIT, and SMART Lead Investigator of ID IRG, said: “The humanised mice have human immune cells as opposed to non-humanised mouse with no human immune cells at all. Because dengue virus infects only human cells, development of humanised mouse enables us to establish a small animal model of dengue virus infection. This means that researchers can now test a drug on this mouse and evaluate the drug’s efficacy more effectively.