Contributions of mouse biology to breast cancer research

Robert Cardiff, Howard A. Bern, Leslie J. Faulkin, Charles W. Daniel, Gilbert H. Smith, Lawrence J T Young, Daniel Medina, Murray B. Gardner, Sefton R. Wellings, G. Shyamala, Raphael C. Guzman, Lakshmanaswamy Rajkumar, Jason Yang, Gudmundur Thordarson, Satyabrata Nandi, Carol L. MacLeod, Robert G. Oshima, Albert K. Man, Earl T. Sawai, Jeffrey GreggAnthony T W Cheung, Derick H Lau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


These epitomes were introduced with the thought that comparative medicine is based on the concept humans and animals often share the same disease. Although the concept has been suggested in the past, the development of genetically engineered mice (GEM) has brought this concept into breathtaking reality. The sometimes rather vague morphological and biochemical similarities between diseases of humans and animals described by previous generations of scientists were frequently obscured by the differences between the various species. However, with the advent of GEM, the similarities have been emphatically confirmed by the current scientific generation at the genetic and molecular level. The molecules that cause diseases in humans cause the same diseases in mice. There is truly One Medicine! Increasing reliance on the electronic PubMed abstract leaves the gullible graduate student with the impression that history began three years ago. Science is in danger of substituting sophisticated molecular technique for sound biology. Before becoming too enamored with their marvelous ability to unravel the molecular mysteries of disease, the current generation needs to pause to appreciate the insights of the previous generations of biologists. These short essays end with increasingly sophisticated descriptions of the molecular biology of breast cancer. Modern scientific disciplines of signal transduction (Sawai), genomics (Gregg), bioengineering (Cheung), pharmacogenetics (Lau and Guzman and Nandi), gene discovery (Gregg), genomics (Gregg), host transcription factors (Oshima), GEM premalignancy (Medina and MacLeod) are all invoked for their great promise for understanding and curing breast cancer. Implicit in all of our optimism is the One Medicine concept of comparative medicine. Surely, an understanding of the effects of molecules on any animal will lead to insight into the human disease. In breast cancer, the genetically engineered mouse leads the way. However, the understanding we seek is based on the foundation of experimental biology presented in the initial epitomes by Bern, Faulkin, Daniel, Shyamala and Smith. These basic concepts of causation, preneoplasia and progression have been tested in humans (Wellings) and other species (Gardner and Guzman and Nandi). They have been applied to strategies for treatment (Lau), for prevention (Guzman and Nandi) and for intervention (MacLeod). Although a comparable virus has not been found in human (Gardner), the mouse mammary tumor virus has been useful for gene discovery, understanding of clonality in neoplastic progression, and as the promoter for targeting oncogenes to the mammary gland (Cardiff and Gardner). These epitomes and this symposium brought the current generation that concentrates on molecular biology together with many of the biologists who pioneered the field of mammary tumor biology. It gave all concerned an appreciation for the historical roots of modern breast cancer research. We hope that sharing these epitomes with the general reader will enhance their appreciation of the value of reviewing and understanding biological as well as the molecular basis of disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-31
Number of pages20
JournalComparative Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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