Cancer encompasses a wide spectrum of extremely complex diseases. Genetic and epigenetic modifications in tumour cells lead to the acquisition of “malignant” phenotypes that enable them to escape normal physiological control. Genome editing and transgenesis technologies are used to accurately reproduce these modifications in the mouse, creating animal models that are crucial to understand and better treat cancer. Tumour cells interact at different levels with other systems in the body such as the immune, cardiovascular or lymphatic systems, which in turn modulate tumour growth, invasion, and expansion. Behavioural factors such as diet also have an impact on cancer development. The study of such complexity demands reliable in vivo models that reproduce the features of cancer in a “whole body” context. The precise, targeted, and controlled modification of the mouse genome, using the most advanced genome editing tools, sustains the generation of genetic mouse models of cancer that are crucial for understanding the molecular basis of tumour development and the preclinical validation of new and more efficient cancer therapies.
The Unit has more than 20 years of experience in the design, generation, and validation of genetically modified mouse models using state-of-the-art genome editing techniques. It also maintains a cryoarchive of the hundreds of genetically modified mouse lines created at the CNIO