Despite the continual breakthroughs in modern medicine, one lingering obstacle is the reality that everyone’s immune systems are different. Thus, new treatments can never be universally effective, and adversely, may even generate negative side effects. To eliminate such risk, scientists at Columbia University have begun to copy the immune systems of patients in custom-altered mice in order to test medications.

To create a “personalized immune mouse,” scientists transplanted human bone marrow stem cells into a mouse with a disabled immune system, as well as a microscopic chunk of human thymus tissue into the mouse’s kidney capsule. After six to eight weeks, the immune system began to take shape.

Scientists first plan to use the mice for diabetes research, with the hope of being able to develop personalized immunotherapies down the line.

[via Gizmag]