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Cancer patients testing treatments on mice

Ponca City Now - December 15, 2014 6:53 am

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Scientists often test drugs in mice. Now some cancer patients are doing the same – with the hope of curing their disease.

They’re paying a private lab to breed mice that carry bits of their own tumors so treatments can be tried first on customized rodent "avatars." The idea is to see which drugs might work best on a specific person’s specific cancer.

The mice may help patients make difficult choices. Studies can suggest a certain chemotherapy may help, but often there’s more than one choice and if the first one fails, a patient may be too sick to try another.

Cancer researcher Alana Welm at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation says the testing holds promise, but is time-consuming and expensive. Welm said standard care will be the way for the average patient to receive treatment.

Mouse testing costs $10,000 or more, and insurers don’t cover it.


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