Bangi, E. et al Sci. Adv. 5, eaav6528 (2019)
Personalized approaches to study drug responses in human tumors may soon have a new animal option for preclinical drug testing and screening: the fruit fly. Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai recently reported on patient-customized transgenic Drosophila that they used to screen drugs with the potential to treat treatment-resistant metastatic KRAS-mutant colorectal cancer.
The team genotyped a 53-year old male patient’s colon tumor to determine its mutation profile. Nine mutations were then recreated with a GAL4/UAS vector in othologous genes in the fly hindgut. The transgenic flies were dosed with different existing drugs to see which, if any, improved survival. The most promising combination—trametinib plus zoledronate—was then administered to that original patient, leading to stable improvements for 11 months.