April 26, 2017 – Mouse Models


Anchor lead: Are mice really any use in medical research? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Mice are under fire in the scientific community lately, with detractors pointing out that discoveries made in this animal model rarely make the transition to utility in humans. Yet Janice Clements, an HIV researcher at Johns Hopkins, points out that all research questions benefit from a multitude of methods to address them.

Clements: You can’t choose one model. You need to be informed by multiple models. An organ on a chip is still on a chip. It doesn’t have the immune system, it doesn’t have the blood. A mouse does have that system working. The organ on a chip, which is maybe more human, has some things that are better than mice but not everything. Even a nonhuman primate model isn’t ideal. What we always explain to people is animal models are models, and you use the best one for the question you’re asking. :30

Clements says the mouse model has been a scientific workhorse, enabling very precise genetic lineages to be developed. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.