A porcine model of tumorigenesis

S.J. Adam, L.A. Rund, K.N. Kuzmuk, L.B. Schook, C.M. Counter
30th International Conference on Animal Genetics, August 20-25, 2006, Porto Seguro, Brazil


Given the limitation of using mouse models for preclinical studies in radiation, hyperthermia, and photodynamic therapies, we sought to exploit the pig as an experimental and preclinical model for human cancer. Pigs offer the advantage of having a similar size, diet, metabolism, and anatomy to humans. To this end, we have shown that porcine cells can be genetically converted to a tumorigenic state and produce tumors when returned to the host animal. However, this growth depended on suppression of the immune system, likely owing to the reliance on expressing human genes for this tumorigenic conversion. Future studies will determine whether modified porcine genes or in vivo tumor induction methods can be employed to drive cells to malignant fates and overcome the need for immunosuppression. In short, we have developed a rapid, reproducible, and genetically malleable method to induce tumors of sizes similar to those treated clinically in humans in a large mammal, which should provide a robust preclinical cancer model for studies of imaging as well as hyperthermia, radiation and photodynamic therapies.