Twenty years ago, Dolly the sheep was born, marking a major scientific breakthrough that followed hundreds of failed attempts and sparking debate over the ethics of cloning and whether the technology might ever be applied to humans. Today, animal cloning is uncommon, although of interest for livestock applications, and experts say Dolly's greatest legacy is in demonstrating the feasibility of animal cell reprogramming and laying the groundwork for many important stem cell research and treatment advances.
Scientists at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases reported in the journal Vaccine that monkeys survived exposure to anthrax spores after being vaccinated with a high-dosage anthrax capsule vaccine. Monkeys not given the vaccine did not survive exposure.
Deliberately infecting mosquitoes with Wolbachia pipientis, a bacterium carried by butterflies and bees, and releasing them into nature might reduce Zika virus transmission, scientists say. A study published in Scientific Reports found that Aedes aegypti mosquitoes infected with W. pipientis were less prone to infection with Zika than those without the bacteria, which passes to offspring so could conceivably become widespread once introduced to a population.
University of Pennsylvania researchers treated the autoimmune disorder pemphigus vulgaris in mice by programming T-cells to attack only the part of the immune system causing the disorder. The next step is to cure the disorder in dogs before initiating clinical trials in people, researcher Aimee Payne said.
Silencing the gene that encodes neuroplastin made mice forget an associative learned behavior and could help people with traumatic memories, according to a study published in Biological Psychiatry. Single-photon emission computed tomography imaging showed cellular communication changes in the brains of treated mice.
A study in mice showed that the RBPJ protein restrains the growth of blood vessels in the adult heart, and blocking the protein could promote the development of new blood vessels and help patients recover from myocardial infarction, which can leave them with debilitating heart failure, study leader Mark Mercola said.
Scientists are studying bears' cardiovascular system, fat storage, metabolism, muscle chemistry and renal function in an effort to unravel the secrets of hibernation, including how bears can gain weight without the negative health consequences humans experience and why insulin resistance leads to diabetes in people but not in bears. Researchers hope the findings can one day be applied to human diseases, but they have many more questions to answer: "We have to learn and relearn and relearn that nature has solved these problems," said researcher Heiko Jansen.
Some members of Congress have signaled support for an effort to stop the use of animal surgeries in military training, a move former Army medic Adam Linehan says would deprive military doctors of critical training and injured personnel and civilians of lifesaving expertise. Battlefield medicine is often practiced in difficult circumstances that can leave a medic "blindsided" if he or she has not handled a given injury before, Linehan writes: "For most combat medics, training on live animals is the only way they’ll experience that real blood, bone and tissue before they treat their first battlefield casualty."
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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.