Reduced levels of Polo-like kinase 1 do not cause any major impact on mouse physiology reports a study published in Nature Communications this week. These findings suggest that cancer drugs which target Polo-like kinase 1 may kill tumour cells whilst sparing normal cells.
Klaus Strebhardt and colleagues generated a genetically engineered mouse model to study the effects of reduced Polo-like kinase 1 on the physiology of the normal mouse. They found that although the mice showed a slightly iron deficiency there were no major effects on different organs of the mice. Not only do these findings suggest that drugs that are available and target Polo-like kinase 1 may selectively kill tumour cells, they also demonstrate the use of these types of genetically engineered mouse models to predict the toxicity of cancer drugs in mice.