Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a cancer of the lung lining, normally caused by asbestos, that develops decades after exposure. Chemotherapy, and recently more targeted drugs, show some benefit although only a minority of patients respond and invariably the cancer eventually escapes control. Several key genetic changes in mesothelioma differ from patient to patient, which may influence how the cancer responds to treatments. We have developed a new preclinical model using fertilized hen’s eggs as an alternative to laboratory rodents. Mesothelioma cells are labelled to allow monitoring of tumour growth and/or regression using fluorescence and longitudinal bioluminescence imaging in addition to histology. All cell lines tested efficiently form tumour nodules within seven days, supported by a blood supply and stromal chick cells. The model is rapid, cost-effective, scalable, and adaptable with multiple potential endpoints, to enable the evaluation of drug targets against the range of common mesothelioma genetic backgrounds.
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