Singapore, 1 December 2010 – A team of researchers at the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) has successfully developed humanised mice with complete human blood system cells. The study addresses the use of humanised mice in research applications and the improvement of the representation of cells of the human blood system that were previously low in number or missing in the mice. The results were published in this week’s PNAS Early Edition. PNAS is the official journal of the US National Academy of Sciences and an authoritative source of high-impact, original research that broadly spans the biological, physical, and social sciences. The team, from SMART’s Infectious Diseases Interdisciplinary Research Group (IRG), includes Postdoctoral Associate Dr. Chen Qingfeng, Postdoctoral Associate Dr. Maroun Khoury and Lead Investigator Professor Chen Jianzhu.
The existing humanised mouse model provides an important tool to study infection by human pathogens, especially those that infect human blood lineage cells (different cells that constitute the blood). They also allow investigations of human immune responses to pathogens in a small animal model. However, current models are far from optimal. For example, repopulation of Natural Killer (NK) cells, myeloid blood lineage cells and red blood cells in the mouse is generally poor or undetectable. NK cells and myeloid cells play important roles in innate immune responses. They are responsible for the rejection of tumors and cells infected by viruses in the human body.
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