A lab-turned-hospital for mice in Boston is helping researchers understand cancer in humans.
Maybe this sounds like the opening line to one of those wasteful-spending reports, but it’s not. And the results — while still a long way from producing a treatment — have allowed researchers to gain insight into the links between cancer and a handful of mutated genes.
New York Times reporter Gina Kolkata describes the “hospital” at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: imaging devices writ small with a dedicated pharmacy and clinical lab. She follows researchers that are looking into prostate cancer.
Mice are injected with a few rogue genes, and researchers monitor any tumors that develop. Initial treatment is similar to what humans in the same situation could expect; even the expected complications are the same. As in humans, the standard treatment works for only so long before the tumors begin resisting. Continue reading →