Nearly Forgotten 80-Year-Old Tissue Allograft Method for Transplanting Fly Tissue Resurrected, Enables Resurgent Study of Tissue Regeneration and Tumor Growth in Drosophila

A study conducted by ICREA (Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies) researcher Dr. Cayetano González, at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), and published online on September 10, 2015 in Nature Protocols describes a virtually forgotten technique used in the fly Drosophila melanogaster dating back 80 years. This method allows the transplantation of tissue from larvae to adult flies, thus allowing research into tumor growth and other biological processes of biomedical interest, such as tissue regeneration. The article is titled “Studying Tumor Growth in Drosophila Using the Tissue Allograft Method.” In 2002, Dr. González, head of the Cell Division lab at IRB Barcelona, faced a major technical problem with respect to research into tumor growth in Drosophila, namely the limitless growth of malignant tumours, which kill the fly. The solution seemed straightforward—tumor transplants, a common technique used in cancer research in mammals, including humans, which involves the transplantation of the tumor mass to mice. With over a century of research into the fly, it was hoped that the many tools available for this model would include one for tissue transplants. “And this was indeed the case, but the articles devoted to methodologies were few and incomplete and therefore reproducing the technique in the lab was very complicated,” explains Professor González. Developed in 1935, the technique was used extensively in the following decades and then fell into disuse and practically disappeared towards the end of the last century. “In 2002, only a small number of researchers worldwide were aware of the existence of the technique,” he says. Professor János Szabad, from the University of Szeged, in Hungary, was one of the few who continued to use the method and he invited Dr.
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