Knockout Technology May Lead Researchers to Personalized Mesothelioma Treatments
Sigma Life Sciences, a biotechnology company that offers products for all disciplines of life science research from antibodies to animal models, has announced that they have added new genetically modified cancer cells to their range of high-quality cell lines. They expect that their human knockout and knock-in oncology cell lines will “offer researchers cellular models of cancer that are expected to enhance development of drugs for personalized medicine.” Just as with many cancers, mesothelioma treatments can differ dramatically across patients and personalized treatment targeted to a particular patient optimizes the potential for success of the treatment.
Mesothelioma is a rare, incurable cancer of the lining of the lungs or abdomen that is highly aggressive and is resistant to standard cancer treatments, making it a difficult disease to treat effectively. As a result, the disease has challenged the medical and research community for years. Although researchers have made progress in recent years, identifying an effective treatment modality for each patient combating the fatal disease remains elusive.
Using their proprietary tool CompoZr ZFN, Sigma believes their new cell lines will accelerate the development of personalized medicine for researchers through “target validation, identification of mechanistic actions of drugs and investigation of disease development, progression and remission.” The CompoZr tool allows Sigma to develop knockout and knock-in models that enable scientists in the development of personalized drugs.
Knockout is a genetic technique in which one of an organism’s genes is made inoperative, or knocked out, of the organism. The genes are then used to draw inferences from the difference between the knockout organism and normal individuals. Researchers focusing on mesothelioma treatments will especially benefit from this tool and development of cell lines as they continue their pursuit of an effective detection method, treatment, or cure for mesothelioma.
Sigma, which has received a silver medal as a “Top Ten Innovations of 2010″ from The Scientist magazine for developing knockout rats using CompoZr, will start its offering with cell lines that model colorectal and lung cancer. Dr. Edward Weinstein, director of SAGE Labs, Sigma’s genetic engineering laboratories focused on designing and producing off-the-shelf and custom animal models, said the use of knockout technologies will “provide scientists with powerful new tools to study human diseases.”