NIH requires animal trials to include females | Animal research is unraveling secrets of Zika virus | Read more from FBR about how animal research is advancing the fight against Zika
February 17, 2016
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NIH requires animal trials to include females
Biomedical researchers working with animals will be required to use male and female animals for studies funded by the NIH. Historically, clinical studies focused largely on men, so animal researchers followed suit. Now, clinical research has moved toward more balanced populations, and animal studies should, too, says Janine Clayton, director of the NIH's Office of Research on Women's Health. The policy is designed to ensure researchers capture differences in how male and female subjects respond to treatments. National Public Radio (2/15)
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Research Breakthroughs
Animal research is unraveling secrets of Zika virus
(Marvin Recinos/AFP/Getty Images)
University of Wisconsin-Madison pathologist David O'Connor says science, not fear, should guide the global response to the Zika virus. And researchers at institutions across the US are working overtime to advance the science. Scientists working on a vaccine have achieved a promising response in mice, with testing in primates and then humans on the horizon; researchers are working with rhesus macaques to determine what effect the virus may have during each trimester of pregnancy; and another study will look at whether mosquitoes native to the US can transmit the disease. Reuters (2/17), Wisconsin Public Radio (2/12), KTXL-TV (Sacramento, Calif.) (2/16), Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (2/16)
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Functional body parts created in 3D printer, researchers say
A 3D printer has produced living, functional body parts used on animals in what scientists call a breakthrough for regenerative medicine. Scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center say their technique is ready to produce tissue on a human scale. Findings were published in Nature Biotechnology. BBC (2/16)
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Nanoparticles facilitate "microscopic surgery" for cancer
Gold particles have been used with lasers to infiltrate and destroy cancer cells, but the approach is not perfect. However, a recent twist on the procedure addresses some of the inherent problems by coating the gold particles with antibodies and using infrared pulses to heat them. The particles cluster in problem tissue, and the heat from the infrared pulses form microbubbles that burst, tearing cancer cells apart while sparing healthy tissue. The technique, described in Nature Nanotechnology, worked in mice and appears headed for human clinical trials. (2/15)
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Tiny worms could be pivotal in Alzheimer's, Parkinson's research
Researchers working with the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans have uncovered the molecular mechanisms behind nerve degeneration. The molecules involved are also present in humans, suggesting the findings could aid scientists working on Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. "Our discovery brings us one step forward to better understand how the nerves degenerate, which is essential to develop effective ways to preserve nerves from injuries and neurodegenerative conditions," said researcher Massimo Hilliard. The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) (2/14)
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Shark study could help people with dental disease
Great white shark.
Great white shark. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
UK researchers have used catshark embryos to identify the dental lamina epithelial cells responsible for the lifelong regeneration of sharks' teeth. They also pinpointed the genes behind the process. Humans also have dental lamina epithelial cells, but they are active only twice. Studying dental regeneration in sharks could lead to new treatments for people with tooth decay and loss. Tech Times (2/15), Medical News Today (2/15), Business Standard (India)/Press Trust of India (2/14)
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Cryogenic freezing yields "near-perfect" preservation of rabbit brain
Cryogenic freezing of a rabbit brain has been successful, with neurons and synapses intact, according to findings in Cryobiology. Researchers used a novel freezing technique called aldehyde-stabilized cryopreservation, potentially paving the way for research into human brain preservation. Newsweek (2/10)
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Animal Health
Research tests stem cells for treatment of animal diseases
Researchers are running clinical trials testing stem cells to treat a variety of health problems in animals, and the findings could help people suffering from similar ailments. Stem cells are being tested on cats with a debilitating oral disease, for treatment of canine rump lesions and dogs with hepatitis and cats with renal disease, all with the potential to benefit humans with similar conditions. The Sacramento Bee (Calif.) (tiered subscription model) (2/15)
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