Canine clinical trial of brain cancer drug to start soon | Monkey study lays groundwork for possible stroke treatment | Studies in humans, monkeys show promise for treating Huntington's disease
December 13, 2017
FBR Smartbrief
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Canine clinical trial of brain cancer drug to start soon
Canine clinical trial of brain cancer drug to start soon
An experimental drug for glioblastoma being tested in dogs appears to slow the cancer's progression and possibly shrink tumors without harming healthy tissue, and the NIH recently awarded a grant to start a new clinical trial with a next-generation drug. Canine and human brain cancers are indistinguishable from each other under a microscope, so results from the clinical trials may benefit people with the cancer as well as dogs, says study leader veterinarian John Rossmeisl at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.
WVTF-FM (Roanoke, Va.) (12/7) 
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Monkey study lays groundwork for possible stroke treatment
Monkey study lays groundwork for possible stroke treatment
Two University of Rochester neuroscientists reported in Neuron that they introduced information directly into two monkeys' premotor cortex, and the research could lead to a way to mitigate brain damage caused by stroke. The scientists implanted small electrode arrays into the brains of the monkeys, which had been taught to play a game involving visual cues, and the animals performed the functions as well using only signals transmitted by the electrodes as they did when prompted visually.
The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (12/7) 
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Research Breakthroughs
Studies in humans, monkeys show promise for treating Huntington's disease
An experimental synthetic DNA-based drug injected into the spines of people with Huntington's disease reduced production of the abnormal huntingtin protein and reduced levels of the molecule in spinal cord fluid proportionate to dosage in a small clinical trial. Another therapy being tested in monkeys uses an inactive virus to deliver compounds that interfere with the defective huntingtin-producing gene.
The Guardian (London) (12/11),  Boston Herald (12/12) 
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Zika virus in marmosets mimics human infection
Zika virus infection in male marmosets mimics the infection in humans, making the small monkey an excellent model for studying the disease as well as potential vaccines, according to a study published in Scientific Reports. The virus was detected in wild marmosets in Brazil, suggesting that the monkeys are potential reservoirs for the virus, the investigators said.
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (12/12) 
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Stem cell-seeded scaffold bridges rats' severed spinal cords
A research team bridged rats' severed spinal cords using a biodegradable scaffold seeded with stem cells from an adult human's mouth and implanted at the injury site, restoring motor function and sensory perception to about 40% of the animals within three weeks of surgery. "Our vision is that in the surgery room there will be frozen cells that once a patient come after full transection of the spinal cord, these cells could be transplanted into the lesion site," said Daniel Offen, one of the study's leaders.
Business Insider/Reuters (12/12) 
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Ambitious projects aim to prevent zoonotic pandemics
Ambitious projects aim to prevent zoonotic pandemics
(John Moore/Getty Images)
Researchers worldwide working on the PREDICT project, led by the One Health Institute at the University of California at Davis' School of Veterinary Medicine, have identified 1,044 viruses in wildlife and humans, 864 previously unknown, and they are working to determine which could spill over between species. Researchers with the Global Virome Project are also working on the issue, with a goal of sequencing nearly all wildlife diseases to determine which might spill into human populations.
Ensia (12/7) 
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Animal Health
Researchers urge more studies of equine asthma
Age-related inflammation might contribute to late-onset asthma in horses and people, and studying equine asthma could yield insights into the role oxidative stress, chronic inflammation and declining immune function play in both species, two researchers suggested in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. "Efforts should be directed toward a thorough characterization of immunity dysfunctions or inflammatory pathways/endotypes in mild equine asthma, and their relationship with the outcome of the disease," the researchers wrote.
Horse Talk (New Zealand) (12/6) 
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Other News
Policy News
Biosecurity policies should increasingly account for cyberrisks
Researchers and others who work in the life sciences must follow robust biosecurity and biosafety protocols that increasingly include cybersecurity as more information is digitized, according to an article in Trends in Biotechnology. Employee training, cyberbiosecurity risk analyses, and strong policies for preventing and detecting breaches reduce the risk of cyberbiosecurity incidents, the authors wrote.
R&D Magazine online/Colorado State University (12/8) 
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