Genetically Engineered Pigs to Study Cancer

Kalla, D., Kind, A., and Schnieke, A. (2020). Int J Mol Sci 21. doi: 10.3390/ijms21020488


Recent decades have seen groundbreaking advances in cancer research. Genetically engineered animal models, mainly in mice, have contributed to a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms involved in cancer. However, mice are not ideal for translating basic research into studies closer to the clinic. There is a need for complementary information provided by non-rodent species. Pigs are well suited for translational biomedical research as they share many similarities with humans such as body and organ size, aspects of anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology and can provide valuable means of developing and testing novel diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Porcine oncology is a new field, but it is clear that replication of key oncogenic mutation in pigs can usefully mimic several human cancers. This review briefly outlines the technology used to generate genetically modified pigs, provides an overview of existing cancer models, their applications and how the field may develop in the near future.