BAR HARBOR – Jackson Laboratory researchers have been experimenting with mice to find out how to fight against and potentially prevent leukemia in humans.
The lab created the mice test subjects to use as models to see which mutations or changes in genes can potentially lead to leukemia in humans.
“So we took all the mutations that we knew happened in people and then we engineered those mutations in mice the exact same mutations. That is the part where we had to prove to ourselves and to the community that they would actually cause the same diseases in mice as they do in humans,” said Associate Professor Jennifer Trowbridge.
The scientists at the lab are working to apply the results of their work with mice directly to people.
“One of the practical applications of the work that we’re doing is to be able to identify specific changes that go along with developing leukemia later on, that we can use the presence of that mutation and develop a test around it for people. Do you have that mutation do you not have that mutation?” Trowbridge said.
Once scientists at the lab know what other changes in genes go along with developing blood cancer, they can use that information to develop treatments or therapies to target those changes to help prevent people from developing blood cancer.
“I think we already know what all the mutations are from a lot of work that has been done over the last 20 or 30 years. Now it’s a matter of figuring out what are the mutations that are going to be good for developing new tests,” Trowbridge said.