Animal models are helpful in cancer research as – unlike studying the rogue cells in isolation in a dish – they provide an environment that allows tumour cells to behave more naturally. CRISPR is a genome-editing system used in nature by bacteria that’s been harnessed as a tool by researchers to alter targeted genes in the cells and organisms they’re studying. By introducing a change in the DNA, cancerous mutations can be caused. Pictured is a colon tumour created in mice using the CRISPR tool. With this model, the tumours were seen to more faithfully imitate aspects of the human disease, including tumour progression and metastasis [where cancerous cells break away from the tumour and spread to another part of the body; in this case, the liver]. This insight into how colon tumours progress will be advantageous in the hunt for new therapies.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.