Country: United States
Date: June 2006
My question in in relation to cancer.
If you were to deliberately take cancer cells from one persons body
and put them into another persons body, would (a) rejection be
enough to cell the spread of these cells, (b) the cancer cells could
take hold? Or could you learn some new data about either how to the
immune system can a destroy cancer, because the cancer cannot win.
Or would you learn more about tissue rejection, because the cancer
does not want to give in, and will fight the immune system and rejection?
This has been done and is being done. In the case where animals that
are highly inbred to the point that they are similar to identical
twins, transplants among these animals will not be outright rejected
and we have learned much about cancerous cells by manipulating other
things in the donor or recipient. We have gone well beyond this basic
approach with a type of animal (a mouse for example) called a
"knock-out" mouse. In this approach, inbred animals have a certain
gene inactivated (knocked out) and we can find out how the gene is
involved in cancer.
If we simply transplant cancerous cells from a genetically
non-identical animal into another animal (called an "allograft") of
the same species, the transplanted cells will typically be rejected as
foreign and not much will be learned unless other things are also
controlled or manipulated. In controlled cases, allografts and
xenografts (transplants between different species) are used and can
give us some valuable information on cancer therapies and experimental
treatments. In fact, one of the most commonly used models for
evaluating agents for the treatment of cancer use xenografts, but they
are not as simple as you propose.
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Update: June 2012