Combination treatment cures some mice with pancreatic cancer | Roundworm neural map might improve understanding of human nervous system | Researchers find evolutionary link between human brain size, fat metabolism
Pancreatic cancer resists radio-, chemo- and immunotherapies, but researchers have identified a compound that changes myeloid cell migration patterns and promotes an immune response. Combining the compound with a PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor shrank pancreatic tumors and extended survival in mice and was curative in some cases, the researchers reported in Science Translational Medicine.
Scientists have mapped all the neurons and some 7,000 neural connections in roundworms of both sexes, and the work is "a major step toward understanding how neurons interact with each other to give rise to different behaviors," said researcher Scott Emmons. The research, published in Nature, might help scientists understand the human nervous system as well as the biology of disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, Emmons says.
Researchers who analyzed and compared fat samples from humans, chimpanzees and other primates found that the human body is less capable of turning unhealthy fat into healthy fat than the bodies of other primates. The researchers suggest that early humans evolved the ability to accumulate fat to nurture the brain, which uses more energy than other organs.
Mice given antibiotics were more susceptible to viral lung infections such as influenza, possibly because the drugs interfered with gut bacteria that protect the lungs, according to a study in Cell Reports. "This could be relevant not only in humans but also livestock animals, as many farms around the world use antibiotics prophylactically," said researcher Andreas Wack.
Human, animal and environmental health are inextricably linked, and barriers that separate human and veterinary medicine and environmental science must be broken down, writes Carel du Marchie Sarvaas, executive director of HealthforAnimals. One Health approaches such as vaccinating pets and wildlife against rabies, and developing a livestock vaccine for Rift Valley fever virus would improve human health; and physicians, medical researchers, veterinarians and environmental scientists should be encouraged to collaborate, Sarvaas writes.
Pets and people share the same environment, and pets often have the same health problems as their human caretakers, say veterinarians Joseph Bartges and Janet Foley. Pets can reflect their owners' anxiety, obesity, allergies, gastrointestinal problems and other disorders, and family physician Daphne Miller has begun asking her patients about their pets' health to gain more insight.
Scientists studying the bovine rumen believe their findings could be used to selectively breed animals less prone to methane emissions, most of which are released in the form of burps. The scientists found the change would not improve milk production, but they say the change would help the environment, and "we know of no downside to lowering methane emissions in this way," researcher John Wallace said.
Animal testing could be phased out entirely by 2035 by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to an internal memo circulated late last month, raising concerns among some scientists. "If you exclusively depend on in vitro toxicology or mathematical modeling, you're going to miss all the different interactions that happen in a physiological system," says Thomas Zoeller of the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Animal rights groups mislead the public about animal research, but FBR is fighting back with facts. In this resource, highly respected neuro-oncologist and FBR Board Vice-Chair Dr. Henry S. Friedman refutes myths surrounding animal research with scientific evidence and sets the record straight on the reality and benefits of animal research. Check it out.
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