Mapping the white-footed deer mouse genome could lead to Lyme vaccine | Healthy aging studies focus on marmosets, baboons | Treatment shows promise in mouse models of fatal childhood disease
July 31, 2019
FBR Smartbrief
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Mapping the white-footed deer mouse genome could lead to Lyme vaccine
Scientists who sequenced the genome of the white-footed deer mouse and compared it to other mouse genomes report in Science Advances that differences in gene expressions associated with hair follicles and skin might encourage the growth of Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, which causes Lyme disease, on the skin, where it is easily picked up by ticks. The genomic map could help scientists develop a vaccine or a way to prevent the bacteria from growing on the species, says study coauthor Anthony Long.
Newsweek (7/24) 
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Research Breakthroughs
Healthy aging studies focus on marmosets, baboons
Healthy aging studies focus on marmosets, baboons
Scientists at Texas Biomedical Research Institute are studying FDA-approved drugs that could help adults remain healthy and independent as they age. One study is testing the effects in marmosets of a drug for organ transplant patients that appears to improve kidney function and cognitive decline, and another is testing a cancer drug that may improve cognitive decline and impairment of motor skills in baboons.
WOAI-TV (San Antonio) (7/24) 
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Treatment shows promise in mouse models of fatal childhood disease
An antibody-enzyme fusion showed promise in mouse models of Lafora disease, an inherited, fatal type of pediatric epilepsy for which no effective treatment exists. LD is marked by the aggregation of toxic carbohydrates resembling plant starch in the brain, and a fused amylase antibody virtually eliminated the aggregates, called Lafora bodies, in mouse brains and other tissues.
News Medical (7/25) 
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Study in mice shows how gene therapy could treat hemophilia A
Study in mice shows how gene therapy could treat hemophilia A
Researchers found that a combination of two gene-editing techniques in patient-derived cells with severe hemophilia A restored factor VIII levels while reducing bleeding episodes in mice. While the case involves a specific mutation, the work "provides a reference for the repair of other gene mutations," the authors wrote in the journal Molecular Therapy - Nucleic Acids.
Hemophilia News Today (7/26) 
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Weight training appears to have neuroprotective effect in rats
A study involving rats that was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology suggests weight training improves brain plasticity and encourages genetic activity, contributing to cognitive ability and potentially reducing or reversing some age-related memory loss. Weight training is "good for you for all kinds of other reasons, and it appears to be neuroprotective," study leader Taylor Kelty said.
The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (7/24) 
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Other News
Animal Health
Southern white rhino born at San Diego Zoo gives conservationists hope
A healthy male southern white rhinoceros was born at San Diego Zoo after 493 days' gestation and 30 minutes of labor. The mother rhino was artificially inseminated after ovulation was induced, and the successful birth may help efforts to restore the population of the critically endangered northern white rhino, says San Diego Zoo Global's reproductive science director Barbara Durrant.
The Associated Press (7/30) 
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Antibody added to cat food may ease human allergies
Adding an antibody to cat food may reduce the amount of allergy-causing protein Fel d1 that's secreted by the felines and which causes allergy symptoms in humans. The study was published in Immunity, Inflammation and Disease.
Science News (7/26) 
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Policy News
NIH connecting dots between disparate datasets
The NIH launched the $17.5 million Biomedical Data Translator program in 2016 to create a Google-type search engine that can mine myriad data sources and help researchers spot patterns. Scientists at 19 institutions are integrating data from EHRs, genomic sequences and other sources across disparate platforms, applying new machine learning tools to organize and make connections between seemingly unrelated data, and developing tools to make use of the results.
STAT (tiered subscription model) (7/31) 
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FBR News
FBR resource: Animal Research Perceptions vs. Reality
Animal rights groups mislead the public about animal research, but FBR is fighting back with facts. In this resource, highly respected neuro-oncologist and FBR Board Vice-Chair Dr. Henry S. Friedman refutes myths surrounding animal research with scientific evidence and sets the record straight on the reality and benefits of animal research. Check it out.
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Sir Alexander Fleming,
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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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