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It's Not a Pet

Everyone's talking about personalized medicine. It doesn't get more personalized than having your very own mouse model, implanted with your tissue that can mimic your biology and be used to test drugs or treatments to see if they'll work, says Popular Science's Rebecca Boyle. "Two teams of researchers have been working on personalized mouse models, or mouse avatars, that can serve as test beds for doctors looking for the right treatments," Boyle says. "Physicians could try different combinations of drugs to see what works best, and if they make some mistakes, it's OK because it's a mouse, not a human patient."

In one study, Australian researchers determined the genetic mutations of a pancreatic cancer patient, grafted the patient's tumor tissue onto a mouse, and used the mouse to test a cancer drug they thought might work for the patient, Boyle says. Researchers at Columbia University in New York created a mouse avatar of a human immune system and used it to study autoimmune diseases. "Though personalizing a mouse is tricky and can take precious time … these studies herald a future when personalized medicine means more than just genetic profiles," she adds. "If doctors can test their hypotheses on a virtual you, rather than testing you directly, they might feel free to take more risks."

The Scan

Two J&J Doses

Johnson & Johnson says two doses of its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine provides increased protection against symptomatic COVID-19, CNN reports.

Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine Response in Kids

The Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in a lower-dose format appears to generate an immune response among children, according to the Washington Post.

Chicken Changes to Prevent Disease

The Guardian writes that researchers are looking at gene editing chickens to help prevent future pandemics.

PNAS Papers on Siberian Dog Ancestry, Insect Reproduction, Hippocampal Neurogenesis

In PNAS this week: ancestry and admixture among Siberian dogs, hormone role in fruit fly reproduction, and more.