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WG 4: Animal models and translational research

Main objective: Bridge the gap between conventional rodent models and human patients by the incorporation of non-human primate models and models employing humanised mice. 

Animal models allow the discovery of new immunoregulatory mechanisms, and test for the safety and efficacy of novel therapeutic strategies. Several immune cell subsets, receptor expression repertoires as well as innate responses have a high degree of similarity between the human and non-human primate immune system, which is in contrast to rodents. Due to the difference at the level of innate immunity in particular, we propose using humanised mice models. Non-human primates are the closest relatives to humans and, for some human diseases, the only available pathophysiological model. This makes non-human primates an indispensable in vivo model that can yield far more relevant data for translational studies into humans as well as for many other inflammatory, transplantation and autoimmunity studies. However, presently the analytical tools for non-human primates are limited and these will be developed within the context of this Action. 

Methods and means:

  • Selected, well-defined models of infection, inflammation and cancer in non-human primates and humanised mice will be used. Based on the results from WG 1-3, markers and tools for immunophenotyping and functional analysis of MRCs will be selected, tested, validated and applied.
  • Subsequent SOPs for MRC analysis in non-human primate and humanised mice models will be developed.
  • Study of specific MRCs, selected as described above, in blood and tissue samples from non- human primate models of inflammatory and infectious pathologies to analyse their association with disease.
  • Depletion of MRC subsets in humanised mice to test for their pathophysiological relevance.
  • Writing of a scientific paper on the phenotypic and functional relationship between MRC subtypes in humans vs. non-human primates.

Disease specific models for non-human primates are difficult to develop, cost-intensive and require specialised centers and expertise. Partners at a major European center for infectious diseases models are included in this call have already developed outstanding platforms for monitoring diseases, treatments and prevention in relevant non-human primate models of human infections. Thus, Mye-EUNITER will provide the national and international scientific community with a highly competitive infrastructure for pre-clinical research.