Mouse model of human immune system validated

23 May 2011

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Category: Research & medical benefits

rna–invitro–hiv.jpgA mouse model of the human immune system has been validated by replicating the results of a recent human HIV clinical trial.

A preventative HIV treatment, called tenofovir, was found to work similarly in both the ‘humanised' mice and large scale human clinical trials.

The mouse model can now be used to search for novel HIV preventative treatments.

The mice, called humanised BLT mice, have a fully functioning human immune system and so can be infected with HIV in the same way as humans. They are produced by introducing human bone marrow, live and thymus tissue into mice bred without an immune system of their own.

Scientists were able to reproduce the results of a 2.5-year human study of the preventative treatment tenofovir. The topical medicine was found to reduce vaginal transmission of HIV by two fifths in humans.

Applying the same experimental method to the mice, researchers found that tenofovir protected against vaginal HIV transmission in ninth tenths of the mice.

After confirming the efficacy of the humanised BLT mice model, researchers then tested six further potential HIV prevention treatments. These medicines have not yet been tested in humans.

All but one of the medicines showed partial or complete protection against HIV. These medicines are now being considered for testing in humans.

Read more about HIV and animal research here.