Non-human primates have played a central role in stem cell research and regenerative medicine because their cells grow in culture nearly identically to human cells, says medical physics professor Marina Emborg. The Wisconsin National Primate Research Center at the University of Wisconsin is also integral to the broader biomedical research community, processing samples; offering immunology services for transplantation studies; providing virology and assay services; and collaborating in neuroscience, reproductive and regenerative medicine, global infectious disease, energy homeostasis and chronic disease research, says center director and neuroscience professor Jon Levine.
Research on animals has made it possible for people to live with devastating diseases instead of dying from them, including HIV/AIDS, diabetes, human papillomavirus, heart disease and others, writes Tom Holder. "Most of us don't like to think about animal research, but the reality is that it remains an important part of the science that allows us to live longer, healthier lives," Holder writes.
The anti-vaccination movement along with campaigns to prevent research involving animals have combined to undermine measles vaccination rates, and the consequences could be devastating, writes Christopher Kane. If such attempts to deny science can be defeated, diseases such as measles, pertussis, diphtheria and tetanus could be eradicated, Kane writes.
All the winners of this year's $250,000 Lasker Awards depended on animals for their biomedical breakthroughs. Joan Argetsinger Steitz's discoveries about the activity of ribosomal RNAs and small ribonucleoprotein particles depended on rodent and other mammalian cells; veterinarian John Glen's development of propofol depended on laboratory mice; and C. David Allis and Michael Grunstein's discoveries of the role of histones in gene expression were made working with nematodes and mice. "With these awards, we honor innovative scientific thinking and years of dedicated, meticulous research that expanded knowledge and improved health," said Dr. Claire Pomeroy, president of the Albert And Mary Lasker Foundation and chairwoman of FBR's board.
Marmoset models of Parkinson's disease experience sleep disturbances and cognitive impairment in addition to motor symptoms, says researcher Marcel Daadi. Tracking those nonmotor symptoms the way scientists tracked changes in the marmosets might result in treatments that help patients, Daadi says.
A method that turns off the so-called immortality switch in cancer cells has been developed using CRISPR, according to findings published in Cancer Cell. The method targets a portion of a protein that allows cancer cells to divide unchecked, and it could be used to hinder or completely stop over 50 different types of cancer.
Exercise was associated with production of memory-linked neurons in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease, and researchers said the finding could lead to new treatments that trigger the same effects in people with the disease. "We will next explore whether safely promoting neurogenesis in Alzheimer's patients will help alleviate the symptoms of the disease and whether doing so in currently healthy individuals earlier in life can help prevent symptoms later on," said Rudolph Tanzi, senior researcher on the paper published in Science.
Studies on animals could lead to the development of a broad-spectrum vaccine that prevents cancer not only in people but also in their beloved pets, writes FBR President Matthew R. Bailey. Dogs and cats develop arthritis, leukemia, kidney disease, epilepsy and other conditions that also affect people, and animal research improves the chance of a long, healthy life for people and their pets, Bailey writes.
More than 95% of biomedical research organizations in Spain responding to a survey explain their animal research policies on their websites, and 87% support raising public awareness about animal research.
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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.