Leaders from the NIH repeatedly highlighted the importance of animal research at a congressional briefing on the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative. Zebrafish, rodents and nonhuman primates have been instrumental in developing techniques to visualize neuron structure and brain function and to test the safety and efficacy of deep brain stimulation and other therapies, and National Institute of Mental Health Director Joshua Gordon said there is no way to fully understand how the human brain works without studying animals.
The SERMO social media network for physicians asked members, "Do you think animal research is ethical?" Of 3,720 doctors from 54 countries who responded, the majority said animal research is ethical, and "while some felt it was unfortunate, they felt it was ultimately essential to human advancement," SERMO wrote. SERMO (3/5)
A combination HIV therapy has potential for eliminating latent infection, according to a Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center study of 44 rhesus macaques with simian human immunodeficiency virus. The findings, presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infection, "offer further evidence that achieving sustained viral remission without daily medication might be possible," National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci said.
The Lundbeck Foundation is awarding this year's Euro Brain Prize to four Alzheimer's disease researchers, all of whom have depended on animal models for their studies. Treating amyloid plaques early in disease progression shows great promise, but such studies cannot be performed in people, making animals indispensable, the neuroscientists say.
Researchers in Germany identified a protein -- basic leucine zipper ATF-like transcription factor, or BATF -- linked with onset of graft-versus-host disease in mouse models, according to a study in The Journal of Clinical Investigation that could help scientists mitigate the risks of stem cell transplants. Mice that received transplants of T cells lacking BATF had only mild clinical GVHD, survived longer and experienced normal immune cell recovery.
Researchers have developed a method to prompt cell division among adult human cardiomyocytes, and the technique could be used to repair damaged human hearts, according to a report in the journal Cell. The team tested the method in mice models, finding that overexpression of four genes induced stable cell division among 15% to 20% of cardiomyocytes, and heart function improved.
More than two-thirds of captive adult male gorillas in North America have heart disease, and other captive great apes suffer heart disease at similar rates, but heart disease is rare in their wild cousins, and the primates show no signs of arterial blockage or high cholesterol. Results from the Great Ape Heart Project, established in 2010, suggest that zoos' standard primate diets may be a factor.
When first proposed, the idea that the immunosuppressant rapamycin could extend life was met with skepticism, but studies gave credence to the idea, and eventually it was shown to extend the lives of mice. Now, researchers from the University of Washington and Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine are testing the drug in dogs, and though it's too early to say if it works, 10 weeks of treatment yielded significant improvement in heart function.
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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.