Treatment shows promise for HIV suppression in monkeys | The magic and mystery of animal research | Gene editing lets blind mice see again
March 20, 2019
FBR Smartbrief
Top Story
Treatment shows promise for HIV suppression in monkeys
Researchers treated three monkeys with a single injection of anti-HIV monoclonal antibodies, and the virus was suppressed for three years in one monkey, and long-term suppression was achieved in two other monkeys, although their immune systems fought back against the treatment. Next steps are to find a way to mitigate the negative immune response so the treatment can potentially work consistently in humans.
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine (3/15) 
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The magic and mystery of animal research
The magic and mystery of animal research
(Mauricio Lima/AFP/Getty Images)
Biomedical scientists are tasked with objectively observing the rhythms of life and death, but as Justin Chen writes, the work can evoke a kind of mystery, wonder and intensity that only fades when researchers leave the bench behind. "The work ... made me feel part of a larger order. I could experience a different version of life and death than I did in the outside world -- not as personal or intense but just as strange and profound."
STAT (tiered subscription model) (3/11) 
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Research Breakthroughs
Gene editing lets blind mice see again
Gene editing lets blind mice see again
(Ferdy Damman/AFP/Getty Images)
Researchers who used a virus to deliver a gene to certain retinal cells in blind mice were able to alter 90% of the target cells so they could sense light, and the results restored vision to the animals that underwent treatment. The results persisted for the animals' lifetimes, and researchers say the technique could be ready for human testing within three years.
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (3/18) 
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Scientists help sheep grow their own bone grafts
Scientists under the auspices of the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine used a 3D-printed scaffold to grow bone tissue on the ribs of sheep, then used those grafts to repair defects in the animals' jawbones. The results, which came after a decade of efforts, could improve treatment for troops with combat injuries as well as civilians in need of reconstructive surgery, researchers said.
U.S. News & World Report/HealthDay News (3/18) 
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Noninvasive Alzheimer's treatment shows promise in mice
Research reported in the journal Cell suggests noninvasive sensory stimuli -- in the form of flashing lights and clicking sounds -- could help the body clear the toxic proteins associated with Alzheimer's disease and improve cognition, memory and other brain functions. Those benefits were documented in a study of mice and generated enthusiasm for clinical studies in humans.
Scientific American online (3/14),  The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (3/14) 
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Coil can release meds from inside stomach, pig study suggests
A coil that slowly releases medication from inside a patient's stomach may one day help treat diseases that require multiple doses of medication throughout the day, such as tuberculosis. The coil has been tested on pigs, which exhibited no side effects, according to findings published in Science Translational Medicine.
New Scientist (free content) (3/13) 
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Scientists explore genetic technique for animal health, conservation
Scientists explore genetic technique for animal health, conservation
Reproductive biologists are injecting surrogate-father farm animals with sperm-producing stem cells from males with desired characteristics such as disease resistance or heat tolerance as a way of propagating those qualities more quickly than conventional breeding would allow. The technique could be beneficial for a variety of livestock species and could also assist with conservation of birds and other species for which semen storage is problematic.
Nature (free content) (3/14) 
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Chimeras show promise for organ supply, but researcher urges caution
Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte sees gene editing and chimeras -- involving one species growing an organ from another -- as a solution to a shortage of organs for implantation, but he says the technology must be handled with care to stay out of ethical minefields, and he is in no hurry to see it used in humans until it is ready.
Wired (tiered subscription model) (3/19) 
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Brain organoid in a dish seems to tell muscles to contract
A brain organoid grown from human stem cells spontaneously connected to a spinal cord and muscles taken from a mouse, and the muscles appeared to contract. Scientists say the miniature system was too primitive to achieve any sense of consciousness, but the advance could accelerate the study of conditions such as motor neuron diseases.
The Guardian (London) (3/18) 
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Animal Health
Researchers study pig welfare using facial recognition tech
Researchers study pig welfare using facial recognition tech
(Damien Meyer/AFP/Getty Images)
Researchers are exploring whether facial recognition technology could be used to monitor animal welfare and pinpoint painful conditions that need treatment. The technology has demonstrated 97% accuracy for facial recognition in studies involving pigs, and the next step involves screening for signs of distress or contentedness in the animals.
BBC (3/19) 
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Other News
FBR News
Lasker Foundation Student Essay Contest - Deadline April 11
Medical students, interns, residents and fellows; doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows in biomedical research; graduate students in public health programs; and graduate students in other health profession programs are eligible to apply for the Lasker Foundation's 2019 Student Essay Contest. Applicants should write an essay of 800 words or less outlining an educational strategy that to increase interest in biomedical sciences among young men and women. Submissions are due by April 11. Learn more.
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For 35 years, FBR has advanced biomedical research for the sake of both human and animal health. We can't do our job without your support. Please give what you can. Together we will continue to make a difference.
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Happiness? The color of it must be spring green.
Frances Mayes,
professor, writer and "Under the Tuscan Sun" memoirist

March 20 is the spring equinox

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About FBR
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.
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