A new mouse model designed with a microbiome similar to that of wild mice may be a better predictor of human responses to some drugs than commonly used lab mice, according to a study published today in Science. The authors repeated two preclinical studies that had demonstrated positive results in mice only to fail when they reached human testing. With the new models, the team saw results that resembled the drugs’ effects in people rather than the previously misleading mouse results.
Mice can be a valuable model for early biomedical research, but many of the drugs that demonstrate promising results in these animals still fail in human trials. Characteristics such as genetics and physiology often take the blame, but researchers are beginning to realize that environmental factors such as the microbiome may also have an effect.
The methods the researchers used show “great potential to unveil mechanisms that have challenged translational research for years,” says Allison Weis, a postdoc studying immunology and the microbiome at the University of Utah School of Medicine who was not involved in the work. “The findings in this study illustrate the power of the bacterial, fungal, and viral microbiota.”
Read more at The Scientist