Designing Studies and Rodent Models for Studying Prebiotics for Colorectal Cancer Prevention

Authored by: Umar Asad , Nancy J. Emenaker , John A. Milner

Handbook of Prebiotics

Print publication date:  January  2008
Online publication date:  January  2008

Print ISBN: 9780849381713
eBook ISBN: 9780849381829
Adobe ISBN:


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Rodent models continue to play a critical role in identifying processes and mechanisms mediating human disease. 1 Their relevance surfaces from cross-species hybridization studies demonstrating homology for several human genes. Preclinical studies with rodent models are already widely used to characterize the biological response to a host of compounds with potential anticancer activities and identify their specific molecular targets. 24 However, it is clear that these are models and thus their similarities and disparities to human beings must be considered when designing studies and interpreting findings. Regardless, rodent models (i.e., mice and rats) are widely used to provide mechanistic insights about many diseases including colorectal cancer. These easily manipulated preclinical models provide essential in vivo data across a number of cancer processes including carcinogen bioactivation, DNA repair, cell signaling pathways, apoptosis and so forth. A few important lessons learned from rodent models include the occurrence of candidate tumor suppressor genes and the elucidation of oncogenes involved in tumorigenesis and tumor maintenance. As new models are developed it will be systematically possible to evaluate more sensitive and targeted agents for cancer prevention and therapy, prior to evaluation in humans thus assisting in the identification of individuals who will benefit maximally whether with a drug or a bioactive food component. 5 –7

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