Mouse/human chimera will aid hepatitis research

Scientists have long had a hard time studying viral hepatitis in the lab. But they're expected to get a big assist from newly bioengineered mice with livers that closely mimic human organs.

Researchers at the Salk Institute created the mouse/human chimera and found that their livers responded much like a human's when exposed to hepatitis B and C, a pair of diseases that has attracted considerable interest from emerging biotech companies. There are 4.4 million people in the U.S. alone who suffer from hepatitis B and C.

"You could do chimp studies, but that is not very convenient, and it is of course an ethical issue," Karl-Dimiter Bissig, first author of the Salk group's paper, tells MIT Technology Review. "There's really a need to develop animal models where you can make a human chimerism and study the virus."

- here's the story from MIT Technology Review