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Chicken eggs to improve the treatment of cancers in children

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Tumor samples are implanted in chicken eggs to define precise treatments.

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Researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) want to improve treatments for children with cancer. By growing tumors in eggs, they are studying how certain already approved drugs can help treat childhood cancers.

The chicken egg does not have the immune system to reject implanted tumors, says Chinten James Lim, assistant professor in the department of pediatrics at UBC and researcher at the University Research Institute. 'BC Children's Hospital.

The hen's egg is also highly vascularized, which allows the tumor to grow quickly. [The egg] provides the different elements that the tumor sees in the patient, that is to say it is bathed in nutrients which allow it to develop, specifies Chinten James Lim.

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While teams work on cancer research models with mice or zebrafish, Chinten James Lim uses chicken eggs.

In 2022, in Canada, 15.7% of deaths among children and youth aged 1 to 14 were the result of a tumor smart. According to Statistics Canada, it is the second leading cause of death for this age category, after accidents.

In British Columbia, about 130 new cases of cancer are diagnosed in people under 17 each year, according to BC Cancer. The most common cancers in the province are leukemia, brain cancer and lymphoma.

Chinten James Lim believes that one of the The biggest challenges in treating childhood cancers is the accessibility of drugs.

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Childhood cancers are very rare cancers in the population. […] We therefore do not have very much data to carry out large-scale clinical studies, indicates the researcher.

Therefore, the number of therapeutic products approved for children is not the same as for adult cancers.

A quote from Chinten James Lim, professor assistant in the department of pediatrics at the University of British Columbia

The Public Health Agency of Canada reports that the five-year cancer survival rate is nearly 84% among children. Chinten James Lim, for his part, believes that this rate can improve with more precise treatments.

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Eggs have a weak immune system and are richly vascularized, making them makes a rapid growth device for tumors.

Chinten James Lim specializes in precision oncology, which involves characterizing a specific patient's tumor or cancer, understanding what's different about it, what's different ;origin of this cancer.

If the process is accompanied by a genetic analysis, the tumor that grows in an egg makes it possible to evaluate the most appropriate treatment for a young patient. The next step is to identify a particular drug, chemotherapy or special agent that has never been used for this cancer and test the treatment directly on the egg. /p>

This allows you to make this type of decision and not wait for the medication to be administered to a patient.

A quote from Chinten James Lim, assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of British Columbia

A xenograft is the transplantation of cells from a donor of a biological species that differs from that of the recipient.

The first cancer cell transplants humans on a chicken embryo were described at the beginning of the 20th century. Since then, the egg model has been used in many other fields: tissue bioengineering, biomaterials, vascular diseases, pharmacology and infectious diseases.

Melany Juarez, doctoral candidate in biology at the National Institute of Scientific Research, explains that optimal models in cancer research must be reproducible, efficient , cheaper, faster and with potential for standardization. And with xenografts on eggs, it works very, very well, she says.

Egg-grafted cancer tissue samples mainly come from biopsies. If you do a xenograft in a mouse, for example, you'll have the whole piece, says Chinten James Lim.

He adds that The chicken's egg model uses a reduced sample proposition. The difficulty lies in the availability of a sufficient number of samples to carry out as many studies as desired, specifies Chinten James Lim.

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