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Chimeric mighty mouse with human brain cells to advance Alzheimers research

Date: 7.8.2019 

Researchers from University of California, Irvine have developed a new transgenic mouse model with human brain immune cells. The novel breakthrough will allow scientists the ability to observe how human brain cells respond to different Alzheimer's-inducing toxic proteins, significantly advancing our understanding into how neurodegenerative disease progresses.

Kredit: UCI MIND.One of the big hurdles facing Alzheimer's and dementia researchers is the lack of an effective animal model for testing new treatments. Hundreds of human clinical trials investigating potential treatments have failed in recent years, despite promising results in early animal testing phases.

It has become increasingly clear that our standard animal models for this disease are insufficient, and it's not entirely surprising. After all, apart from some rare recent discoveries, Alzheimer's disease isn't known to clearly appear in any animal other than humans.

Team from UC Irvine has just produced an entirely new transgenic mouse model, for the first time producing an animal containing functional and growing human microglia, a vital immune cell present in human brains. Some researchers hypothesize dysfunctional microglia play a major role in the neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer's.

"Microglia are now seen as having a crucial role in the development and progression of Alzheimer's," explains Mathew Blurton-Jones, team leader on the research. However, so far we've only been able to study human microglia at the end stage of Alzheimer's in post-mortem tissues or in Petri dishes."





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