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Arch Hellen Med, 33(3), May-June 2016, 342-348


The use of the domestic hen as a model in developmental studies and cancer research

K. Georgadaki, V. Zoumpourlis
Institute of Biology, Medical Chemistry and Biotechnology, National Hellenic Research Foundation, Athens, Greece

The main advantage of the chicken embryo as a model for developmental studies is that it is readily manipulated. This has led to major discoveries in the field of developmental biology. Many genes are found to be expressed in tumors in chickens, the research of which has implications in the understanding of human health and disease. The complexity and heterogeneity of different types of cancer is difficult to study in vitro, to elucidate the molecular events involved in tumor initiation and metastasis. Methods of early detection of cancer and the development of personalized treatments designed to improve patient care will greatly benefit from a better understanding of the main differences between the different subtypes of cancer. In order to achieve this, animal models must be used as the in vivo platform for the research and testing of targeted therapies. The hen is the only non-human organism that develops ovarian cancer with high prevalence. As in women, development of ovarian cancer in the hen is associated with age, and it is histologically similar to the human disease. In both organisms ovarian cancer generates metastases in the same tissues, with accumulation of ascitic fluid. Some aggressive forms of ovarian cancer in women arise from cells of the oviduct. Hens with ovarian cancer express a protein of the oviduct normally absent in the ovary.

Key words: Developmental model, Domestic hen, Ovarian cancer.

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