Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Animal Patents, huh? Knocked-in (KI) mice

 Copyright © Françoise Herrmann
Readers beware! This post is still rough sailing for your heart.
No kidding…Now that you know all about knockout mice, can you guess what a knockin mouse might be? Here’s a refresher: a knockout mouse is a transgenic mouse, that is, a genetically modified mouse, and in particular a mouse where the function of a specific gene has been altered. So for example, there are insulin-receptor knockout mice useful for studying diabetes and treatment for diabetes.
So… a knockin mouse is a mouse that… is also genetically engineered, but in contrast to a knockout one, the knockin mouse has a gene targeted for insertion in a specific place in its phenotype. And in particular, the mouse may have a knocked in human gene to humanize it for the study of disease and  in vivo testing of particular treatments (Genoway). How’a that for stormy weather?
The EPO returned one patent for humanized “knockin mice”. I am including the abstract just in case this type of engineering pushes you over the edge of belief:


Provided are compositions and methods that relate to prophylaxis and therapy of angiogenesis associated disease and includes novel knockin mice which express novel human/mouse chimeric endoglin, vectors for use in making such mice, and murine embryonic stem cells comprising the novel human/mouse transgene. Also provided are anti-human endoglin monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) which can be used as antiangiogenic agents for prophylaxis or therapy of human tumor angiogenesis and human angiogenesis-associated diseases having excessive vascularization. The mAbs do not cross react with murine endoglin. Also provides are methods for using the anti -human endoglin mAbs for prophylaxis or therapy of human tumor angiogenesis and for angiogenesis-associated diseases having excessive vascularization.

 For my part, I am not sure that I can "write on.." about these mice. There is such an incredible naivety in drawing a line through the middle of the mammal kingdom that every possible argument on fine lines becomes almost defused. This is cutting-edge research, blinded in a justification of progress and inevitability in the absence of comparable or better alternatives. Who would stop the progress of medicine? 

When I lapse out of consciousness, I wish... I hope.... that Gutenberg will save the day a second time in history, and that soon, we will print human tissues for pharmaceutical testing, complete with a pre-configured genetic makeup, or that computer-generated modeling will do extreme modeling.  I wish ... I hope that philosophers and ethicists might reformulate a quality of life that might include some form of acceptable conclusion, and that our bonds might cease to rip us apart.

And then I regain consciousness, google "knockout", and here is the promise that is returned:

“You think it up, we knock it out…” (InGenious Targeting Laboratory)

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