While spontaneous tumours may occasionally develop in inbred and isogenic strains of Xenopus laevis, the South African clawed toad, they are extremely rare in natural and laboratory populations. Only two amphibian neoplasms, the renal adenocarcinoma of Rana pipiens and the lymphosarcoma of Xenopus laevis, have been extensively explored. Amphibians are resistant to the development of neoplasia, even following exposure to “direct-acting” chemical carcinogens such as N-methyl-N-nitrosourea, that are highly lymphotoxic, thus diminishing immune reactivity. Regenerative capacity in adults, and a dramatic metamorphosis which remodels much of the larval body to produce the adult form, are unique to amphibian vertebrates, and the control mechanisms involved may protect against cancer. For example, naturally rising corticosteroid titres during metamorphosis will impair some T-cell functions, and the removal of T-regulatory (suppressor) functions inhibits the induction of altered-self tolerance. Altered-self tolerance is not as effectively induced in adult Xenopus laevis as in mammals, so cancer cells with new antigenicity are more likely be rejected in amphibians. Amphibian immunocytes tend to undergo apoptosis readily in vitro, and, unlike mammalian immunocytes, undergo apoptosis without entering the cell cycle. Cells not in the cell cycle that die from nuclear damage (apoptosis), will have no opportunity to express genetic instability leading to cell transformation. We suggest that all these factors, rather than any one of them, may reduce susceptibility to cancer in amphibians.
You need to register (for free) to download this article. Please log in/register here.
Advocates of chimpanzee research claim the genetic similarity of humans and chimpanzees make them an indispensable research tool to combat human diseases. Given that cancer is a leading cause of human death worldwide, one might expect that if chimpanzees were needed for, or were productive in, cancer research, then they would have been widely used. This comprehensive literature analysis reveals that chimpanzees have scarcely been used in any form of cancer research, and that chimpanzee tumours are extremely rare and biologically different from human cancers. Often, chimpanzee citations described peripheral use of chimpanzee cells and genetic material in predominantly human genomic studies. Papers describing potential new cancer therapies noted significant concerns regarding the chimpanzee model. Other studies described interventions that have not been pursued clinically. Finally, available evidence indicates that chimpanzees are not essential in the development of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies. It would therefore be unscientific to claim that chimpanzees are vital to cancer research. On the contrary, it is reasonable to conclude that cancer research would not suffer, if the use of chimpanzees for this purpose were prohibited in the US. Genetic differences between humans and chimpanzees, make them an unsuitable model for cancer, as well as other human diseases.
Non-Animal Approaches for Consumer Safety Risk Assessments: Unilever’s Scientific Research Programme
Paul Carmichael, Michael Davies, Matt Dent, Julia Fentem, Samantha Fletcher, Nicola Gilmour, Cameron MacKay, Gavin Maxwell, Leona Merolla, Camilla Pease, Fiona Reynolds and Carl Westmoreland
Non-animal based approaches to risk assessment are now routinely used for assuring consumer safety for some endpoints (such as skin irritation) following considerable investment in developing and applying new methods over the past 20 years. Unilever’s research programme into non-animal approaches for safety assessment is currently focused on the application of new technologies to risk assessments in the areas of skin allergy, cancer and general toxicity (including inhalation toxicity). In all of these areas, a long-term investment is essential to increase the scientific understanding of the underlying biological and chemical processes that we believe will ultimately form a sound basis for novel risk assessment approaches. Our research programme in these priority areas consists of in-house research as well as Unilever-sponsored academic research, involvement with EU-funded projects (e.g. Sens-it-iv, carcino - GENOMICS), participation in cross-industry collaborative research (e.g. COLIPA, EPAA) and ongoing involvement with other scientific initiatives on non-animal approaches to risk assessment (e.g. UK NC3Rs, US ‘Human Toxicology Project’ consortium).
Rachel O. Johnson, Thomas V. Tittle, Maria P.M. Sefchick, Leslie D. Zettergren, Laurens N. Ruben, Richard H. Clothier and Michael Balls
With the use of in vitro methods and cell lines, functional aspects of apoptosis in the Xenopus laevis B3/B7 and mouse EL4 thymoma cell lines are revealed. Moreover, by using information gleaned from digital imaging and immunocytochemistry, changes in locations of key proteins implicated in apoptotic anti-cancer responses, e.g. p53 and Mdm2, are shown. Suggestions are offered as to what these results might mean with respect to the evolutionary conservation of the function and structure of these two molecules and to cancer resistance in amphibians. Finally, studies are described on resveratrol as an anti-cancer therapeutic reagent in the two thymoma cell lines and in normal X. laevis thymocytes.
Laurens N. Ruben, Rachel O. Johnson, Richard H. Clothier and Michael Balls
The rarity of spontaneous cancer in amphibians, and the difficulty of inducing cancer in these lower vertebrates, suggest that they possess an effective system for resistance to the development of cancer. The first part of this narrative presents evidence for cancer resistance in amphibians, and then a variety of studies designed to help understand the physiological basis for this resistance are reviewed. Here, our emphasis is on evidence with regard to the role that apoptosis might play.