Can mouse models be used to study human regenerative medicine?
Why do we use mice for medical and biological research, first of all? This question has a fairly straightforward answer. Mice are inexpensive, they grow rapidly, and people rarely object to experiments involving them. But mice have a much more important role to play than pragmatism. Despite being smaller and less similar to humans on the outside, we share a lot of similarities. Nearly every mouse gene has a function that is similar to a human gene. Many genes are essentially identical, except for the genetic variations found in all species. The anatomical similarities between humans and mice are striking.
For the sake of clarity, it is best to divide biomedical research in two categories. The success of the model mouse should be judged separately based on the type of research being conducted. By dividing the debate on the utility of the mouse into two distinct categories, it is possible to better target the criticism of those who are against the model.
At this point, the usefulness of the model mouse in the field physiological research has been largely established. The information gained by studying mice has literally filled entire books, particularly in the fields of genetics and pathology. Humans and mice share so many similarities that it’s possible to create functional human/mouse blends. These hybrids are known as GEMMs or ‘genetically-engineered mouse models. GEMMs consist of mice which have had a mouse gene replaced by its human counterpart. GEMMs are a powerful tool in medical research. They have led to many medical breakthroughs. One of the most notable is our current treatment for acute promyelocytic lymphoma (APL), created with GEMMs.