A lab model of bone cancer
Less than one percent of cancers are bone cancers and they're especially hard to treat with current therapies. However, finding new treatments is hampered by the lack of a good lab model of bone cancer. Researchers now turn to mice to create one, focusing on molecules in the Hedgehog pathway, which is known to be overactive in bone cancer. The team deleted a gene called Patched 1 (Ptch1), which results in greater activity of the Hedgehog pathway. When they deleted Ptch1 in mature mouse bone cells, no tumours were produced. But when they deleted it in the stem cells that give rise to mature bone cells, they observed bone deformities and tumours shown here by microCT of leg joints (pictured, right) when compared to normal mice (left). The Ptch1-mutant mouse may therefore prove to be a useful model for developing new bone cancer treatments.
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