Researchers say President Donald Trump's proposed budget, which would cut almost 20% from the NIH, would diminish biomedical research and threaten groundbreaking work in labs that run on tight margins and already struggle to find finding. Many institutions pushed back against the proposed cuts, but as Stanford University officials noted, the budgeting process is still in the early stages.
This year's Wellcome Image Awards winners highlight advances in biomedical research, including efforts to understand the role of immune function in pregnancy and genetics in eye development as well as highlighting host-bacteria interactions, skin structure, vascular systems and more. Depicted species include mice, a zebrafish, an African grey parrot, a mini-pig, a cat and others.
Autism studies in mice have yielded many groundbreaking developments, but researchers in Rodney Samaco's lab at Baylor College of Medicine are part of a growing group of scientists who are turning to rats. Rats can be more difficult and expensive to work with, but they have bigger brains than mice, and scientists say studies involving the animals may offer new insights into autism and possibly even treatments.
German researchers say they may have identified the cause of obsessive-compulsive disorder: the lack of a brain protein called SPRED2 that inhibits a signaling pathway that is more active when the protein is absent. Mice lacking the protein displayed behaviors associated with OCD, but administration of an inhibitor of the overactive pathway led to improvement.
A study involving rats showed that a protein in spider venom may protect the brain from trauma after a stroke. Australian researchers publishing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that a protein called Hi1a, taken from the venom of funnel web spiders, shut off acid-sensing ion channels in the brain in the aftermath of a stroke.
A bacterial infection that causes inflammation in the gut can spur phage transfer, promoting colonization, according to a study in mice published in Science. The researchers also found that vaccinating the mice with inactivated Salmonella not only protected them but reduced the phage transfer.
Heart tissue samples from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium's 60-year-old gorilla Colo, who died of heart disease, have been submitted to the Great Ape Heart Project, a Zoo Atlanta research group working to better understand and prevent heart disease in great apes using data from physical exams, tests and necropsies. The findings hold promise for other great apes in zoos as well as wild animals, and the project has inspired similar research in other species elephants and domestic animals.
CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology gives scientists new power to edit animals' DNA, helping them to live longer and avoid diseases, but it's also just the latest tool in a long history of human influence over animals and plants, mostly through low-tech means such as breeding. Gene editing adds a new level of safety and precision to these processes, but FDA restrictions may prevent some of the benefits of this technology from being realized, writes Neil Bhavsar.
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The Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) is the nation’s oldest and largest non-profit dedicated to improving human and animal health by promoting public understanding and support for biomedical research. Our mission is to educate people about the essential role animal research plays in the quest for medical advancements, treatments and cures for both people and animals.