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A Mouse Model of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection for Drug Discovery

UCSF researchers have generated and validated a K14-HPV16 transgenic mouse model, in which transgene expression produces neoplastic progression that fully resembles the gynecological and other epithelial dysplastic lesions induced by high risk HPVs. This model offers an invaluable tool for studying HPV infection and developing new drugs for HPV treatment.


Novel Zebrafish epilepsy models carrying the same genetic mutations found in the human population make excellent tools for high-throughput drug screening, in vivo toxicology studies and basic research purposes. 

Ras-Driven Conditional Model Of Liver Cancer

Liver cancer is among the most lethal cancers, the third and sixth most frequent cause of cancer death in men and women, respectively.  Amongst the several histologically different primary hepatic malignancies, hepatocellular carinoma (HCC) accounts for 70 to 85% of the cases.  Animal models that mimic features of liver tumor development in human are invaluable research tools for understanding the mechanism of liver carcinogenesis and developing new drugs for treatment of patients with HCC.

Collaboration Opportunity: Novel Mouse Models of Human Hepatitis B Virus Infection for Drug Discovery and Vaccine Research

HBV infection can lead to chronic infections that result in 0.6 million deaths per year worldwide by causing liver failure and cancer. Clearance of HBV infection is age dependent, with the majority of adult-acquired infections leading to spontaneous clearance, whereas infection in young children often leads to chronic infections. To study these early events of infection and immune activation that lead to HBV clearance or persistence, in vivo models are needed to screen and validate lead drug candidates. HBV cannot infect mice, however, researchers at UCSF have generated transgenic mouse models that mimic critical features of primary HBV infection observed in humans.


UCSF researchers have developed a mouse model to understand and evaluate the role of integrin 8 (itg8) in specific cell types. These mice can be used in the screening and development of therapeutics targeting itg8. by incorporating loxP sites into specific regions of the integrin 8 locus (itg8-floxed mice). The floxed mice are viable, fertile, and show no obvious phenotype. Tissue-specific itg8 gene deletion is accomplished by cross-breeding the itg8-floxed mice with tissue-specific Cre-recombinase expressing mice. This conditional deletion system circumvents the early lethality of the complete genetic knockout of itg8.

Mouse Model for Studying Epithelial Derived Tumors

Animal models are useful not only for studying and understanding the biological and genetic factors that influence the development of different cancers, but also for developing treatments against those cancers. Unfortunately, although epithelial tissue derived cancers (e.g. breast, colon, lung, skin, and ovarian), are among the most common human cancers, very few models exist for studying the events leading to these tumor types or for testing new therapeutic treatments. Instead, many murine cancer models, incorporating mutations in tumor suppressor genes, typically develop soft tissue sarcomas or lymphomas. Therefore, a mouse model of epithelial carcinomas will facilitate the study and treatment of many common cancers not fully addressed by currently available models.Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), have developed a knockout mouse model of epithelial tissue derived carcinomas. This newly developed cancer model does not rely upon the breeding of multiple generations in order to develop chromosomal instability and is not dependent on homozygous loss of tumor suppressor genes. Instead, following exposure to ionizing radiation, tumor development occurs 2-5 months later and develops in multiple tissues including the ovary, lung, and liver. With their rapidity of tumor onset, wide spectrum of tumors, and decreased animal maintenance, these knockout mice represent a new model for studying ovarian as well as other epithelial derived cancer types and will be useful for the development of therapeutic treatments.


Adult neurogenesis has been a difficult process to study for the simple reason that visualizing and following the stem cells and their progenies in vivo are difficult. Currently available BrdU and viral-marker based methods can only achieved transient labeling and in small populations of adult neural stem cells. Their uses are limited in trying to visualize and follow adult neurogenesis over time. UCSF investigators have created a mouse model in which a large population of adult neural stem cells and their progenies can be labeled and traced in vivo.

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