Demonstrating Immunocompetency in Nude Mice
Razi, Farzad R.
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There are a variety of different cancer cell lines that can cause disease in human beings and, ultimately, death. Although research is putting great effort into finding a cure for cancer, it is very difficult to generate therapeutics which are specific to various kinds of cancer, let alone an all-encompassing treatment plan that does not cause harm to healthy tissue. However, oncolytic virotherapy is a promising method of cancer treatment that has high potential to both be safe and apply to many different cancer types. In previous studies, our lab has shown that tanapox virus (TPV) with specific lab-generated genetic mutations is able to dramatically reduce the tissue volume of melanoma, breast cancer, and colorectal cancer in athymic nude mice. Athymic nude mice have no thymus gland, and thus have no T cells, which makes them useful in research because they are unable to reject tumor cells. Therefore, in order to further demonstrate that these results could be applied to a human model with an immune system, we must show that athymic nude mice can be manipulated into producing an immune response, and that they are able to generate anti-TPV antibodies. Then, subsequent experimentation can use these reconstituted nude mice to show that TPV also significantly reduces cancer tissue in nude mice that demonstrate immunocompetency. Here, we aimed to produce functional T-cells in athymic nude mice by injecting the mice with spleenocyte cells from BALB/c mice, and then prove that antibodies had been produced by conducting neutralization assays. We were successful in our efforts because immunized reconstituted nude mice had lower plaque levels than unimmunized nude mice and plaque levels similar to those of immunized BALB/c mice, which have a T-cell population as part of their innate immune system response. This is important, because we can now use these mice as animal models for future cancer research, since they won’t reject tumor cells, unlike the BALB/c mice.