Multilab research could improve reproducibility, reduce need for animals | Monkeys given stem cell treatment for spinal cord injuries have better grip | Stroke treatment headed to human trials after studies in mice, pigs
Simulations based on 440 preclinical studies involving 13 treatments for stroke, heart attack and breast cancer suggest multilaboratory studies could be critical to improving the reproducibility of research results, a key step to help reduce the use of animals in biomedical research. The authors argue in PLOS Biology that multilab studies should become the new gold standard for late-phase preclinical studies.
Monkeys with spinal cord injuries showed improved grip ability after having human neural stem cells transplanted into their spines, according to a study published in Nature Medicine. The findings show promise that the treatment may one day help humans with spinal injuries.
Investigators with the University of Georgia's Regenerative Bioscience Center have tested a stem cell-based treatment for strokes in mice and pigs, and they found that it was associated with diminished brain damage and faster healing, according to a study in the journal Translational Stroke Research. The developmental therapy uses neural stem cell-produced exosomes that are small enough to cross the blood-brain barrier, and it is set for testing in humans starting next year.
Weeks after mice were infected with influenza, researchers found signs of brain damage and impaired memory function in the animals, according to a report in the Journal of Neuroscience. Signs of impairment were no longer apparent at 120 days post-infection, but the authors say the human equivalent of that timeframe is a decade.
A study involving mice suggests the concept of emotional contagion could involve changes to the brain. Researchers documented changes in certain hippocampus neurons of mice that had experienced stress, and the brains of their companions that had not experienced stress showed the same neuronal changes.
Pet dogs are commonly seen as models of human cancers, and searches of scientific and news databases suggest dogs get more attention from the scientific community than cats, but some scientists say studying cats could provide important insights about lymphomas, oral cancers, toxins acquired in human homes and other lines of inquiry. The genetic diversity across dog breeds may be one reason dogs are more well studied, but a new reference genome provides a resource to researchers interested in cats, and scientists say much of the difference may stem from societal issues and bias.
Scientists believe there are close to 1.7 million unknown viruses infecting the world's birds and mammals, and up to 840,000 could be zoonotic, according to the Global Virome Project, a sweeping global partnership that aims to find and study more of those pathogens. Field work for a 10-year project will start this summer, and researchers hope their work will enable scientists to predict and ultimately prevent future outbreaks.
The CDC is asking for $350 million to fund construction of a new high-containment lab complex for its work with Ebola, Marburg virus, avian influenza and other potent pathogens that pose a public health and potential bioterrorism threat. Aging systems could begin breaking down, repair of existing technology is hampered as replacement parts are no longer manufactured, and officials say they are unable to integrate new technologies into the existing facilities.
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