The number of new anti-cancer drugs emerging for clinical trials in humans far exceeds the availability of pediatric acute leukemia patients to be entered into clinical trials. Therefore, preclinical testing of new agents for the treatment of childhood acute leukemia is essential to ensure that the most promising drugs are prioritized to enter clinical trials. Historically, the murine system has been central to modeling human leukemia in vivo. A greater knowledge of the molecular lesions underlying particular subtypes of leukemia has led to the generation of genetically engineered murine models, generally involving the knockin or knockout of certain genes and fusion genes at their normal genetic locus. However, the most predominant in vivo models for preclinical drug testing have been human leukemia xenografts. Successful engraftment of all subtypes of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, most subtypes of acute myeloid leukemia as well as juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia, chronic myeloid leukemia and chronic lymphocytic leukemia have been described in various immune- deficient murine hosts. Preclinical testing of novel therapeutics in vivo will likely identify the most promising new agents to enter clinical trials, and will allow their future use to be optimized in combination with other novel and conventional chemotherapeutics.
Keywords: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia, Nf1 knockout mice, nonobese diabetic, Xenograft Models
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