Researchers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology offer improved mouse model that could revolutionize the study of bone metastases. Their method, which involves the injection of cancer cells via the so-called tail artery in the mouse tail, overcomes many of the limitations of traditional models of mouse. Thus, it can open a new chapter in the development of therapeutic strategies for the treatment of bone metastases and progression of cancer.
In a study published in Nature Communications, a team of researchers, led by Takahiro Kondo Kuchimaru and bus from the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech), introduced a mouse model that could significantly improve the understanding of the basic biology of bone metastases.
It is widely known that the metastasis - the spread of cancer cells from the primary tumor to other parts of the body - one of the leading causes of death from cancer in humans. Bone Metastases typically occur when cancer cells spread from bone tumors arising, for example, in the prostate, breast, lung and kidney.
Experimental mouse models provide vital information about the spread of cancer cells, and methods of treatment. Over the past 20 years, a model based on intracardiac (IC) injection was considered the "gold standard" for the induction of bone metastases. This model involves injection of tumor cells directly in the mouse left ventricle of the heart. This requires a high degree of technical expertise, even if successful, the number of cancer cells that can be administered at any time limited. Another disadvantage is that the IC model tends to be more suitable for the study of cancer cell lines, which have a relatively high metastatic ability, excluding the analysis of the "weaker" cancer cell lines.
In contrast, the new method developed by the group Kondo, involves injection of cancer cells via the tail artery (CA) in the mouse tail - a procedure that can be performed much easier, since the artery is visible on the body surface. This method allows researchers to introduce a greater number of cancer cells, avoiding death. In addition, the new method provides a way to study cancer cell lines with low bone metastatic potential.
The researchers emphasize that the model CA advantageously provides that bone metastases develop in the hind limbs with a much higher efficiency.
Using bioluminescence imaging (BL), the team was able to detect bone metastases in only five to twelve days after the introduction of the SA all investigated cell lines.
"Overall, the results showed that the injection of the CA provides a reliable method of development of metastases in bone, increasing the efficiency of delivery of a wide variety of cancer cell lines in the bone marrow of the hind limbs in mice," - they say.
Furthermore, model CA enables scientists to control the progression of metastasis in the bone for a longer period of time compared with the IC model due to lower frequency lethal metastases in other organs. This represents a big step forward for a deeper study of the rest of cancer cells and reactivation.
The researchers conclude: "Our model can open up a new way of understanding the metastatic processes in bone and development of drugs to prevent metastasis and recurrence of the bone."