Tags: see | through | transparent | mice | research

'See-Through' Mice Open Door to New Medical Research

By    |   Friday, 01 August 2014 03:50 PM

Laboratory mice are often used by scientists to investigate illnesses and try out new treatments that eventually make their way to human patients. Now scientists are reporting a significant step forward that could open the door — or maybe it's a window — to huge advances in medical research: The development of “see-through” mice.
A team from the California Institute of Technology has come up with a way to make whole see-through mice — whose bodies and organs are transparent — allowing scientists to better study and understand of interactions between the human brain and body, and improved accuracy in disease diagnosis and monitoring.
They said the advance could lead to new treatments for an array of medical conditions, such as autism and chronic pain, Medical News Today reports. 
The development was reported by Viviana Gradinaru, M.D., an assistant professor of biology at the institute, in the journal Cell.
Mice have been used in medical research for nearly a century, primarily because their genetic makeup is very similar to that of humans.
The new technique developed by Dr. Gradinaru and colleagues involves inserting mouse tissues into hydrogels as a way of preserving their 3D structure and crucial molecular information. Detergents are then applied to extract lipids from the tissue, making it transparent — revealing organs and biological processes inside their bodies.
“Although the idea of tissue clearing has been around for a century, to our knowledge, this is the first study to perform whole-body clearing, as opposed to first extracting and then clearing organs outside the adult body,” said Dr. Gradinaru.

“Our methodology has the potential to accelerate any scientific endeavor that would benefit from whole-organism mapping, including the study of how peripheral nerves and organs can profoundly affect cognition and mental processing, and vice versa."

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Scientists have developed 'see-through' mice — whose bodies and organs are transparent — opening the door to new advances in medical research.
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Friday, 01 August 2014 03:50 PM
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