Scientists announce birth of world's first monkey clones | Alliance of research organizations speaks up for targeted scientist | Scientists express concern that CWD will jump the gap from deer to people
Researchers at the Institute of Neuroscience in Shanghai announced the birth of the world's first cloned monkeys. Scientists employed the same technique used to create Dolly the sheep, and they hope the approach can be used to advance biomedical research through replication of gene-edited nonhuman primates that provide models of human diseases. The monkeys are named Zhongzhong and Huahua.
Supporting Truth about Animal Research, an alliance of eight scientific organizations, issued a statement of support for postdoctoral research fellow Christine Lattin, who has been the target of a misguided animal-rights campaign. Animals as well as people stand to benefit from Lattin's research on how birds cope with stress, and her research has already been used to assess marine mammal health after an oil spill, writes Allyson Bennett, on behalf of STAR.
Sixty percent of macaques that ate venison infected with the prion that causes chronic wasting disease developed CWD, prompting a warning from the Canadian government last year that eating meat from infected deer, elk or other cervids could cause the disease in people. The macaques consumed the human equivalent of one 7-ounce steak each month for three years, and Mark Zabel, associate director of Colorado State University's Prion Research Center, said that neither freezing nor cooking destroys the prion.
Sonography has evolved from a simple imaging technology to a potential tool for treating cancer, neurological conditions and inflammatory bowel disease, and research in animals has played a key role in these emerging uses. MIT scientists used ultrasound to facilitate absorption of colitis medication in mice, curing the animals with two weeks of treatment, and the technique was also used to deliver insulin to pigs. More recently, a team at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School used ultrasound to safely breach the blood-brain barrier in rodents.
Mesenchymal stromal cells secrete factors that counteract bacteria common in skin wounds, and researchers at Cornell University are studying equine MSCs to develop skin treatments for horses that might translate to treatments for people. The team is isolating MSCs from blood rather than bone marrow and applying MSC secretions rather than the cells themselves to wounds, reducing the likelihood of an adverse immune response.
High-fat diets may make prostate cancer more aggressive, helping it metastasize, but a drug that blocks fat production may be able to stop the cancer's spread, according to findings published in Nature Genetics. Researchers found that tumors grew quickly and spread in mice fed a high-fat, Western-style diet, but that spread was stopped when the mice were given the obesity drug fatostatin, which they plan to test in men with prostate cancer.
Veterinarians at the University of California at Davis' Veterinary Institute for Regenerative Cures collaborate with their colleagues at the UC Davis School of Medicine to study and treat conditions that affect people and their pets, including spina bifida, cancer, diabetes, oral health problems and vascular disease. The results of clinical trials involving pets often translate well to people, whose genetic traits and environmental exposures are similar, says veterinarian Dori Borjesson, director of the institute.
The 2018 federal budget will set funding levels for critical medical research infrastructure, determining whether promising research is supported at levels that produce breakthroughs and maintain US leadership in innovation, writes Claire Pomeroy, president of the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation. Current proposals leave the NIH's purchasing power below prior levels and fail to adequately support other institutions on which biomedical innovation depends, including the CDC, National Science Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency and Agriculture Department, Pomeroy writes.
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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.