Animal studies prioritize ethics, human health | Drug might prevent blindness in babies | Anti-hypertensive drug boosts survival in mice with cerebral malaria
September 21, 2016
FBR Smartbrief
Top Story
Animal studies prioritize ethics, human health
Recent stories in the media about heart transplantation studies in greyhounds failed to mention either the strict ethics standards to which researchers adhered or the important implications of the research, writes Kemal Atlay, noting invasive techniques cannot be tested in humans without first validating them in animals. "Animal-based research is crucial in ensuring we can still explore and investigate all manner of medical disorders and diseases without putting people's lives at risk," Atlay writes.
The Guardian (London) (9/18) 
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Research Breakthroughs
Drug might prevent blindness in babies
Drug might prevent blindness in babies.
(Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Researchers at Dalhousie Medical School say they have identified a drug that might prevent blindness in infants born with familial exudative vitreoretinopathy, an incurable disorder caused by a mutation in the FEVR gene that impedes blood vessel formation around the retina, causing progressive loss of sight. The drug was tested in zebra fish and mice, and scientists believe test mice can see normally after treatment. (Canada) (9/20), (9/14) 
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Anti-hypertensive drug boosts survival in mice with cerebral malaria
Adding the hypertension drug irbesartan to the anti-parasitic agent chloroquine increased survival odds in mice with cerebral malaria, researchers reported in The Journal of Clinical Investigation. Adding a statin to anti-parasitic drugs also showed promise, said lead researcher Ana Rodriguez, who is seeking funding for clinical trials of the drug combination in people.
The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (9/19) 
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Experimental gel clears ear infection in 1 application
Experimental gel clears ear infection in one application.
(Mario Villafuerte/Getty Images)
An experimental antibiotic gel that could revolutionize ear infection treatment penetrated the eardrums of chinchillas and cleared an infection within a week, researchers reported in Science Translational Medicine. The antibiotic was undetectable in the animals' blood, and the eardrums appeared normal after the gel dissolved about three weeks after application.
NBC News/The Associated Press (9/15) 
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Compounds starve cancer cells in acute myeloid leukemia
Researchers screened 330,000 compounds and found 11 that interfere with a metabolic enzyme in acute myeloid leukemia cells, forcing them into a fasting state that kills cancer cells but not healthy cells. Mice treated with the compounds for 10 weeks lived longer and had fewer leukemia stem cells than untreated mice, and the leukemia did not appear to progress during treatment.
United Press International (9/16) 
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MicroRNA treatment plus chemo could prevent metastasis
MicroRNA treatment plus chemo could prevent metastasis.
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Implantation of a hydrogel containing nanoparticles with microRNAs engineered to target proteins involved in cell migration could -- in combination with chemotherapy -- block surviving cancer cells from spreading to other parts of the body, according to a mouse study published in Nature Communications.
United Press International (9/19) 
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MHC matching might allow stem cell implantation without immunosuppressant
Scientists at the Riken Center for Developmental Biology in Japan say they used major histocompatibility complex matching to successfully transplant reprogrammed monkey stem cells into the eyes of other monkeys without the need for immunosuppressant drugs. The transplanted retinal pigment cells grown from monkey-induced pluripotent stem cells survived without rejection for at least six months in MHC-matched monkeys but were quickly rejected in nonmatched monkeys, the researchers reported in Stem Cell Reports.
The Scientist online (9/15),  HealthDay News (9/15) 
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Other News
Animal Health
Long-distance movement of viruses raises concerns for Antarctic birds
Migratory birds that reach the Antarctic may bring viruses with them, including a novel strain of avian influenza recently identified in chinstrap penguins. The virus isn't causing symptoms in the penguins, but its presence raises concern about other pathogens that migratory birds such as the Arctic tern and skua might pick up when interacting with farm birds in the Americas, including a more potent form of avian influenza that could devastate penguin populations.
The Guardian (London)/Australian Associated Press (9/20) 
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Other News
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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.
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