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Sourcing your humanized mouse models: top tips for success

    Sourcing Humanized Mice

    As many as 95% oncology drug candidates fail clinical trials — and that’s despite them showing promising results in preclinical studies. One of biggest drivers of this high attrition rate is the relevance of current preclinical models, with many mouse models poorly representing the human immune system.

    CD34+ humanized mouse models offer an effective solution, reconstituting all human immune targets to provide more physiologically relevant preclinical data. But simply choosing to use humanized mouse models is no guarantee of success.

    You must also carefully consider where, and who, you source your humanized mice from. Fail to get this right, and you could end up with preclinical studies that fail to show the true potential of your immunotherapy candidate.

    By reading this blog, you’ll discover:

    • the disadvantages of sourcing your mouse models from just a supplier
    • the benefits of seeking a true partner for your humanized mouse models
    • some top tips for selecting the right partner to unlock the full potential of your preclinical studies

    Relying on suppliers — the perils of poor support

    When it comes to sourcing humanized mouse models, many researchers rely on companies that simply supply the model of choice. While these suppliers may be able to deliver a high-quality model, the interaction often ends there, with no additional services to ensure you get the best out of your models, which can leave researchers feeling inadequately supported.

    The efficient utilization of humanized mouse models requires:

    • Vast knowledge spanning a variety of disciplines and activities — from animal husbandry to data analysis and the ability to work in BSL 2 and BSL 3 laboratories
    • Deep, model-specific expertise, since humanized mouse models are harder to work with than other mouse models, such as immunodeficient or syngeneic mice
    • Appropriate and advanced analytical instruments (which labs don’t often have)

    Additionally, researchers receive little support from suppliers by way of understanding and interpreting the data from humanized mouse model studies (which can be much trickier than with other mouse models).

    Overall, companies that choose to work with suppliers rather than partners run the risk of not being able to unlock the full potential of their humanized mouse models.

    From perils to partnerships — better support, better results

    To overcome these challenges, researchers should consider working with a partner, rather than simply a mouse model supplier. Unlike a supplier, a partner will provide broader and deeper support throughout the entire research process.

    The three most important benefits of working with a partner are:

    1. expert help in selecting the most appropriate model
    2. access to the most advanced analytical technologies
    3. dedicated on-hand expertise for guidance and problem solving

    We explore these in more detail below.

    The right model for your studies

    A poor-fit model can be the difference between the success and failure of your preclinical studies. By seeking the input of a partner, you can mitigate this risk and ensure you get the model that’s right for your research.

    Partners can help you make the right choice in a variety of ways. For example, they can perform tumor infiltration analysis followed by flow cytometry to better characterize the tumor’s behavior, offering you the deeper insights needed to select a model more relevant to your target disease.

    Knowing the immune infiltration quality of your mouse model

    Different tumor types recruit human immune cells in different ways. As such, knowing the infiltration quality of your mouse model can help you select a better fit model.

    Some partners, such as TransCure bioServices, can provide extensive information on infiltration quality, offering you even more opportunity to select a model that maximizes the relevant insights you can glean from your preclinical studies.

    Advanced analytical technologies for deeper insights

    Maximizing the value of your preclinical research (especially research involving humanized mouse models) demands the latest and most advanced technologies. However, many of these instruments are too expensive for most labs to purchase and maintain, while requiring extensive expertise or lengthy training to properly operate.

    The right partner will be able to offer you a range of services that give you access to the benefits of these advanced, enabling technologies — from flow cytometry and immune profiling to immunohistochemistry (IHC) histology platforms and in vivo imaging (Table 1).

    Table 1. Summary of services and technologies that expert partners can offer researchers to support their humanized mouse model research.

    Technology/Service Benefit
    Flow cytometry and immune profiling Enables analysis of immune phenotypes from various mouse tissues, provides insight into tumor/tissue biomarker expression, and deepens understanding of drug therapeutic efficacy
    Immunohistochemistry (IHC) histology Enables investigation of biomarker expression or immune infiltration
    In vivo imaging Offers non-invasive detection and quantification of tumors from study start to finish.

    Enables monitoring of orthotopic, metastatic dissemination, and subcutaneous tumor progression

    In vitro assays (e.g., T/B cell stimulation assays) Provides a deeper understanding of a drug’s mechanism of action

    Dedicated expertise within easy reach

    Beyond model selection and technology support, a well-equipped partner can offer you easy access to a pool of experts spanning a range of disciplines.

    Whether you need customized protocol development, support with complicated experimental execution, or deeper knowledge to facilitate data analysis and interpretation, a reliable partner will be able to set you on the right track and help you smoothly overcome common and complex challenges.

    Choosing the right partner: the importance of extensive experience

    There’s no doubt that the right collaborative partner offers many benefits for your preclinical research. But not all partners were created equal.

    To make sure you select a truly success-enabling partner, be sure, at the very least, to also look for a well-established partner with experience of an array of different study types, and a track record of collaborating with a variety of different pharmaceutical and biotechnology customers.

    Armed with such experience, a partner will know and understand what constitutes preclinical success — and will be able to offer a smoother route to achieve it.

    But that’s not all… more top tips for humanized mouse model success.

    Deep experience is not the only criterion for choosing a success-enabling humanized mouse model partner.

    To discover what these additional considerations are, as well as learn about a host of other insights for unlocking the true value of your humanized mouse model research, download our FREE, insight-packed eBook today.