National Institutes of Health scientists have developed a new mouse model that could help to improve the relevance of these invaluable laboratory test animals to human health and disease, and the development of human therapeutics. The new mice, which the researchers have called “wildlings”, have acquired the microbiomes of wild mice, but retain the genetics of laboratory mice so can easily be modified for research. In two preclinical studies investigating treatments for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, and sepsis, the immune responses of wildling mice, but not those of regular laboratory mice, mirrored human immune responses. The researchers claim that using the wildlings instead of traditional laboratory mice in the preclinical studies could feasibly have stopped the scientists from moving on to carry out initial human trials that had potentially deadly results.
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