Courtesy of Charles River Laboratories

Compared to the treatment for other malignancies, brain cancer therapies exist in the dark ages, with prognoses and mortality rates similar to those from 30 years ago. A new generation of murine models, however, could change that situation in relatively rapid order, experts predict. "To put it into perspective how ridiculously bad the [current] situation is, there have been over 100 clinical trials over the past two decades that have translated into approximately one month additional survival for glioblastoma patients, which is unacceptable," says Ronald DePinho, Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Center, Boston.

DePinho and others want to decipher the causes of malignancies and the unique biological characteristics that impede successful treatment. To do this, they are devising murine models, which recapitulate the human disease, by inserting genetic mutations resembling those detected in human tumors. Scientists now can watch predictable brain tumors develop in...

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