Quantitative Assessment of animal models for human disease
The mouse is a primary model organism for basic immunology and our understanding of its immune system is much greater than that of the human.
While the molecules and basic mechanisms of immune function seem largely the same between mice and humans, disease treatments that work well in mice very often fail in human clinical trials. This lack of concordance between mice and humans can likely be attributed to 75 million years of evolution since our last common ancestor and to the “lifestyle” of humans being very different from that of laboratory mice. Computational biology can play a leading role in bridging the cross-species barrier by studying the similarities and differences between organisms. We hypothesize an increased understanding of species differences will not only gain us fundamental new insights on how evolution and environment affect the immune system, but will also make translation a more intelligent process, increasing the chances of success.