Nonhuman primates remain vital to biomedical research | Monkeys might throw a wrench into yaws eradication effort | Study of long-lived bat's genes reveals clues about age-related diseases
February 14, 2018
FBR Smartbrief
Top Story
Nonhuman primates remain vital to biomedical research
Scientists are developing new ways to test drugs and vaccines that may eventually reduce or even eliminate the need for nonhuman primates in biomedical research, but halting such research before those technologies are validated -- as some animal rights activists want -- would have grave consequences, experts say. Not only does the FDA require that drugs and medical devices be tested in animals, vital research on infectious diseases, vaccines, neurobiology, eye diseases and tissue transplantation involves nonhuman primates and other animals, the Wellcome Trust recently pointed out.
Healthline (2/8) 
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Research Breakthroughs
Monkeys might throw a wrench into yaws eradication effort
Experts say efforts to eradicate a disfiguring skin disease known as yaws will not succeed because they do not account for the fact that wild primates harbor the bacterium that causes the infection, but the World Health Organization says there is no evidence yet that nonhuman primates can spread the disease to humans. Yaws, which is endemic to 14 countries in Africa and Southeast Asia, infects more than 64,000 people annually, and it responds to azithromycin.
Nature (free content) (2/9) 
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Study of long-lived bat's genes reveals clues about age-related diseases
Study of long-lived bat's genes reveals clues about age-related diseases
Unlike those found on the chromosomes of other animals, Myotis bat telomeres do not shorten as they age, and a comparative genomics study identified two genes -- ATM and SETX -- that appear to prevent and repair age-induced cellular damage in the long-lived bats. The findings, published in Science Advances, might advance researchers' understanding of healthy aging.
Physician's Briefing/HealthDay News (2/7) 
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Sensitivity to social cues may have driven human evolution, primate study finds
The chemical profile of the human striatum is unique and markedly different from that of nonhuman primates and amplifies sensitivity to social cues that promote cooperation and diminish aggression, researchers reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The result is a higher female survival rate, which another study demonstrated is key to primate survival.
United Press International (2/9) 
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Soil screening unearths strong antibiotic that clears MRSA in rats
Soil screening unearths strong antibiotic that clears MRSA in rats
An agent developed from soil-dwelling bacteria killed several strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and cleared cutaneous methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections in rats in one day, researchers reported in Nature Microbiology. The scientists used a high-throughput method to screen bacteria DNA in 2,000 soil samples from across the US, and the method could be used to discover more antibiotic compounds.
Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (2/13) 
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Animal Health
Bond between people, dogs tightens as scientists seek to cure cancer in both
Bond between people, dogs tightens as scientists seek to cure cancer in both
The genetic profiles of people and dogs are 95% identical, and dogs are prone to an estimated 400 to 500 of the same diseases as people, including many cancers, making clinical trials for canine therapies all the more valuable. At least four experimental cancer drugs that have performed well in canine clinical trials are undergoing human clinical trials, including an immunotherapy that has helped one woman survive metastatic bone cancer.
NBC News (2/10) 
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Rio residents killing monkeys amid yellow fever outbreak
Sixty-nine percent of the 238 monkeys found dead this year in Rio de Janeiro showed signs of being killed by people, who probably believe -- mistakenly -- that monkeys can spread the yellow fever virus gripping the state. Rio Veterinary Center coordinator Fabiana Lucena said monkeys do not transmit the virus to people and are themselves victims of the virus, and killing them might make matters even worse for people as mosquitoes search for blood meals.
Yahoo/Agence France-Presse (2/10) 
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Other News
Policy News
NSF proposes sexual harassment reporting policy
A proposed rule would require universities, colleges and other institutions that accept grants from the National Science Foundation to report incidents of sexual harassment committed by recipients of NSF funds that have been confirmed or resulted in administrative leave. The proposal, which will be posted in the Federal Register and open for public comment, also says grant awardee organizations should issue clear standards for harassment-free workplaces, including conferences and field sites, and reporting processes for students and others.
Nature (free content) (2/8) 
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Other News
FBR News
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Editor's Note
A summary in the Feb. 7 FBR SmartBrief should have said 68 dogs, or 2%, participating in the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study have heart murmurs. SmartBrief regrets the error.
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The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird waits in the egg. ... Dreams are the seedlings of realities.
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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.
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