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Genetics Meets Drug Discovery

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Front. Oncol. | doi: 10.3389/fonc.2018.00429

Next-generation in vivo modeling of human cancers

  • 1Cancer Research, Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin, Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft Deutscher Forschungszentren (HZ), Germany

Animal models of human cancers have played a major role in our current understanding of the fundamental biology of tumors. In pre-clinical Oncology, animal models have been crucial assets in drug target and biomarker discovery and validation. In turn, this was translated in improved care for cancer patients. Technological breakthrough in genetic engineering and single cell ‘omics’ offers tremendous potential to improve the informative value of pre-clinical models in the quest for understanding and treat a diverse spectrum of cancer types. Here, I review the state-of-art in modeling human cancers with focus on animal models for human malignant gliomas. I build on this ground as a basis for a more general discussion of the potential ways in which transformative technologies may shape the next-generation of pre-clinical models. I argue that refining animal models along the proposed line will increase the success rate of translation for pre-clinical research in Oncology.

Keywords: mouse models, Cancer, single-cell genomics, CRISPR/Cas9, targeted therapies, Biomarker Discovery, preclinical models, Patient-derived xenografts (PDX)

Received: 28 May 2018; Accepted: 13 Sep 2018.

Edited by:

Danilo Maddalo, Novartis (Switzerland), Switzerland

Reviewed by:

Lilian Varricchio, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, United States
Giovanni Migliaccio, Consorzio per Valutazioni Biologiche e Farmacologiche, Italy  

Copyright: © 2018 Gargiulo. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Gaetano Gargiulo, Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin, Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft Deutscher Forschungszentren (HZ), Cancer Research, Berlin, 13092, Germany, gaetano.gargiulo@mdc-berlin.de