Researchers zero in on a Zika vaccine with animal testing successes | Animal study provides insights into sexual transmission of Zika | Neuregulin-1 reduces brain plaques in mouse study
August 31, 2016
FBR Smartbrief
Top Story
Researchers zero in on a Zika vaccine with animal testing successes
Researchers zero in on a Zika vaccine with animal testing successes
(Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Researchers have successfully tested conventional inactivated virus vaccines as well as so-called naked-DNA vaccines for Zika viral infections in mice and monkeys, with researchers behind both approaches working at an unprecedented speed to get the vaccines into human trials. Early findings have been promising, but hurdles remain, including a lack of dedicated federal funding for the research.
The New Yorker (tiered subscription model) (8/22) 
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Animal study provides insights into sexual transmission of Zika
A study in the journal Cell of sexual transmission of the Zika virus and its fetal effects in mice found that vaginal fluid could act as a reservoir for the virus, leading to fetal infection. The virus affected fetal development in normal mice and mice bred to be susceptible to the virus.
NBC News (8/25),  HealthDay News (8/25) 
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Research Breakthroughs
Neuregulin-1 reduces brain plaques in mouse study
Increasing either of two types of neuregulin-1 levels in the brains of mice with Alzheimer's disease appeared to prevent the formation of plaques and improve how the mice performed on memory tests, Salk Institute researchers wrote in Scientific Reports. The naturally occurring protein is also being studied as a potential treatment for Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and schizophrenia.
United Press International (8/25),  New Atlas (8/25) 
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Buprenorphine-like compound relieves pain without addiction in study
An experimental compound similar to the opioid painkiller buprenorphine relieved pain in monkeys but did not slow their breathing, interfere with cardiovascular function or cause addiction, according to study findings published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
HealthDay News (8/30) 
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Study of salamander genes might advance regenerative medicine
Biologist Jessica Whited studies salamanders' ability to regrow fully functional limbs, and she and her colleagues have identified genes in axolotl salamanders that are activated to grow new limbs. The scientists hope the research will eventually lead to treatments for severed digits and limbs in people.
STAT (8/25) 
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Studies of animal brains shed light on human decision-making
Economists have long puzzled over human irrationality, and neuroscientists might soon have some answers for them. Neuroscientists are studying electrical impulses in monkeys' brains as they make choices, and some studies have supported the theory that choices are not random and independent but  guided by a divisive normalization framework, findings that scientists say can be applied by humans to make better decisions.
The Atlantic online (8/29) 
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Other News
Animal Health
Tasmanian devils might become resistant to infectious cancer
Tasmanian devils' genes show signs of evolving to resist devil facial tumor disease, which has killed nearly 80% of the wild population in the past two decades, according to a study published in Nature Communications.
Quartz (8/30),  Popular Science (8/30) 
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Dog study synchronizes cancer treatment with immune activity
Dog study synchronizes cancer treatment with immune activity.
(Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Cancer has been eliminated or slowed in some of the dogs participating in the Synchronization of Immunotherapy clinical trial, in which chemotherapy is administered when dogs' immunity is strongest. Researchers have not yet determined why the same type of cancer responds to treatment in some dogs but not in others, says study leader and veterinarian Carol Osborne.
Daily News (New York) (8/29) 
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FBR News
Nonhuman primate white paper now available
FBR announced today the release of the white paper, The Critical Role of Nonhuman Primates in Medical Research. The white paper is a collaboration between FBR and eight premier scientific groups: the American Academy of Neurology, the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the American Physiological Society, the American Society for Microbiology, the American Transplant Foundation, the Endocrine Society, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology and the Society for Neuroscience. The white paper highlights the essential role NHPs historically have and continue to play in finding treatments for serious and life-altering conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, cancer, Zika virus, HIV/AIDS and Parkinson's disease. To learn more about how research with NHPs is contributing to lifesaving cures for people, please download the white paper, The Critical Role of Nonhuman Primates in Medical Research or visit
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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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