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Keywords:

  • cancer;
  • chimeras;
  • embryonic stem cell;
  • genetically engineered mouse model;
  • non-germline models;
  • recombinase mediated cassette exchange

Abstract

Recent technological advances have opened the door for the fast and cost-effective generation of genetically engineered mouse models (GEMMs) to study cancer. We describe here a conceptually novel approach for the generation of chimeric GEMMs based on the controlled introduction of various genetic elements in embryonic stem cells (ESCs) that are derived from existing mouse strains with a predisposition for cancer. The isolation of GEMM-derived ESC lines is greatly facilitated by the availability of the newly defined culture media containing inhibitors that effectively preserve ESC pluripotency. The feasibility of the GEMM-ESC approach is discussed in light of current literature and placed into the context of existing models. This approach will allow for fast and flexible validation of candidate cancer genes and drug targets and will result in a repository of GEMM-ESC lines and corresponding vector collections that enable easy distribution and use of preclinical models to the wider scientific community.