Polls consistently find that a majority of adults in the UK support the use of animals in biomedical research in the absence of a viable alternative, but only a minority of the public trusts scientists or the regulatory establishment not to harm lab animals, writes research scientist Sarah Bailey, chair of the Animal Research Forum at the University of Bath. It is incumbent upon the research community and individual researchers to promote public trust and debunk myths about animal research by being open with the public about what they do and the standards they must follow, Bailey writes.
Researchers at Auburn University's College of Veterinary Medicine are enrolling dogs in a clinical trial of a peptide to treat melanoma, which frequently occurs in dogs' mouths, says veterinarian Bruce Smith, director of the Auburn University Research Initiative in Cancer. The drug appears to shrink tumors quickly and has been undergoing testing for about a decade, Dr. Smith says.
Early results of studies using CRISPR gene editing technology to cure diseases in monkeys are promising, particularly in diseases that involve mutation of a single gene, but most of the research has been on cells and healthy monkeys. The next step is for researchers to use gene editing to develop nonhuman primate models of specific diseases to generate real-world evidence that gene editing treatments are effective and safe before they are tried in humans.
The brains of infant rhesus macaques infected with the Zika virus shortly after birth did not develop normally and, at 6 months, exhibited abnormal behavior, according to a study published in Science Translational Medicine.
Researchers from the University of Bath developed a graphene-based skin patch that contains miniature sensors to enable fingerstick-free monitoring of blood glucose levels through extraction of glucose from the interstitial fluid using an electric current. Scientists who have successfully used the device to monitor glucose levels on pig skin and in healthy human volunteers are looking to determine its functionality over a one-day wear period, optimize the number of sensors and conduct clinical trials.
Some immunologists say housing laboratory mice in overly sterile environments might stunt their immune systems and reduce their utility as avatars for human diseases, and they are developing more natural mouse models and lab environments to better replicate the real world. Some have introduced pet-shop mice to lab mice, while others have deliberately introduced naturally occurring microbes, brought wild mice into labs or put lab mice in outdoor enclosures, all with varying results.
Tasmanian devils are prone to two transmissible cancers, both of which respond to tyrosine kinase inhibitors, and the findings, reported in Cancer Cell, offer hope for the endangered species. "This study gives us optimism that anti-cancer drugs that are already in use in humans may offer a chance to assist with conservation efforts for this iconic animal," said lead researcher Elizabeth Murchison of Cambridge University's Department of Veterinary Medicine.
A coronavirus newly identified as swine acute diarrhea syndrome that has killed tens of thousands of piglets in Guangdong province, China, might have originated in bats, and the virus may have potential to be transmitted to domesticated animals and to people, researchers reported in Nature. Scientists say wildlife surveillance is critical to predicting zoonotic disease outbreaks in human and animal populations, but culling wildlife could make things worse by disrupting ecosystems, adds virologist Simon Anthony.
A case-control study published in PLOS ONE found that dogs with idiopathic epilepsy were more likely to have cognitive impairments and develop canine cognitive dysfunction at a younger age than controls. Cognitive impairment appeared to progress and stabilize early in dogs with IE, while progression in control dogs was probably because of aging.
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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.