Scientific research is key to improving animal health and welfare, and the American Veterinary Medical Association recently sent letters describing the benefits of biomedical research for both animals and people to the NIH director, the HHS secretary, the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. "Biomedical research conducted in animals opens doors to medical discoveries that save lives and decrease suffering in animals and humans alike," the AVMA says.
Biomedical research is a key component of pandemic preparedness, leading to treatments, vaccines and rapidly deployable diagnostics, write Drs. Hilary Marston, Catharine Paules and Anthony Fauci. "Whether dealing with HIV/AIDS, SARS, Ebola, Zika, or the inevitable unanticipated pathogen that will surely emerge, research has played and will play a critical role before, during, and after the outbreak," they write.
Scientists with the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke published images from humans and marmosets in eLife documenting the brain's lymphatic system, which had been thought not to exist until a central nervous system lymphatic system was discovered in mice in 2015. The lymph vessels are concealed inside the thick, leatherlike dura mater and run alongside much larger blood vessels, making them difficult to detect on an MRI.
After years of development and studies in pigs, human testing is scheduled to begin soon on a bionic kidney comprising stacks of silicon nanopore filters and live kidney cells enclosed in a biocompatible case and connected to the patient's circulatory system and bladder. If the device succeeds, it could ease demand for transplantable kidneys and reduce the need for dialysis.
A study found a combination of three antibodies prevented Zika infection in four monkeys, according to a study in Science Translational Medicine. The antibodies have a short half-life, and regular injections would be required for use as a preventive treatment, researchers said.
Research on mice since the mid-1800s has been instrumental in advancing knowledge about how breast cancer forms, including the role milk production plays in certain types of tumors, Justin Varholick writes. Mice have served "as an essential step between early research on mammary cells and clinical trials in humans," writes Varholick, who traces the history of breast cancer discoveries based on research in mice.
Ivermectin and other anthelmintic drugs have prevented illness and death in livestock, companion animals and people, but drug-resistant roundworms have become increasingly common in sheep, cattle and goats, and researchers are racing to find a solution. Many are studying Caenorhabditis elegans to identify proteins and biochemical pathways that might respond to drugs.
The response from FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb to primatologist Jane Goodall's letter regarding nicotine research in nonhuman primates reiterated the FDA's commitment to following stringent animal welfare rules, but he failed to note that all studies involving animals are continually monitored for compliance. Gottlieb's letter also omits information about the expertise of the veterinary, animal care and scientific staff at the research facility, potentially giving readers the wrong impression.
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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.