Bulldog pups doing well after novel treatment for spina bifida | Plaques, tangles found in brains of elderly chimps | FDA fast-tracks ecstasy for review as PTSD treatment
August 30, 2017
FBR Smartbrief
Top Story
Bulldog pups doing well after novel treatment for spina bifida
Four-month-old bulldog puppies Darla and Spanky are able to walk, run and play after undergoing surgery and a stem cell treatment for spina bifida. University of California at Davis fetal surgeon Diana Farmer and stem cell scientists Aijun Wang and Dori Borjesson, who directs the university's Veterinary Institute for Regenerative Cures, initially developed the treatment for children and hope to start human clinical trials.
The Sacramento Bee (Calif.) (tiered subscription model) (8/24) 
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Research Breakthroughs
Plaques, tangles found in brains of elderly chimps
Plaques, tangles found in brains of elderly chimps
(Sebastien Bozon/AFP/Getty Images)
Researchers reported in Neurobiology of Aging that they found amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles associated with Alzheimer's disease in the brains of four elderly chimpanzees, but the researchers do not know whether the plaques and tangles cause dementia in nonhuman primates. Further research, including MRI scans, could give researchers new insight into Alzheimer's, says study co-author William Hopkins, but restrictions on chimpanzee research stand in the way.
Science (free content) (8/1) 
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FDA fast-tracks ecstasy for review as PTSD treatment
Although a small group of scientists has been exploring MDMA, also known as ecstasy, as a way of treating post-traumatic stress disorder, the FDA wouldn't even consider allowing clinical trials unless its safety could be demonstrated in monkeys, which it was. Now, the drug is showing such promise for treating post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans that the FDA has fast-tracked it for review as a breakthrough therapy.
The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (8/26) 
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Organoids help scientists ID effective treatments for rare diseases
Scientists in the Netherlands created a mini-gut from the cells of a woman with a rare type of cystic fibrosis to test drugs before administering them to the patient, and the scientists have already grown mini-guts for 450 of the estimated 1,500 cystic fibrosis patients in the nation to test potential treatments. Organoids are useful for studying physical changes involved in certain diseases and for testing drugs, but they do not reflect the complex interactions between a single organ and the rest of the human body, says Madeline Lancaster of Cambridge University.
The Denver Post/The Associated Press (8/25),  Cell Culture Dish (8/29) 
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Neuropathic pain treatment shows promise as opioid alternative
A study in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience found that a new nonopioid painkiller was able to relieve neuropathic pain in mice as effectively as the existing treatment gabapentin and last much longer. "This opens the door to having a new treatment for neuropathic pain that is not an opioid," said chemistry professor Stephen Martin of the University of Texas at Austin, who added that it has "huge implications."
Pain News Network (8/19) 
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Focused ultrasound may be neuromodulation option for brain research
Focused ultrasound can be used to excite or inhibit neurons and target cells, offering a noninvasive way to study the brain's circuitry, according to research presented at an American Association of Physicists in Medicine meeting by Charles Caskey from the Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Science. Caskey and his colleagues studied FUS-based neuromodulation in macaques and demonstrated the modality's neuronal activation potential.
Medical Physics Web (registration required) (8/25) 
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Other News
Animal Health
One Health approach key to eradicating rabies
One Health approach key to eradicating rabies
(Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
A study on dog bites and rabies published in Social Science & Medicine shows how important the One Health approach is in preventing human and animal health problems, writes veterinarian JoAnna Pendergrass. Dog bites and rabies are so closely entwined that the World Health Organization's plan to eradicate rabies in people by 2030 cannot work "without drawing upon the One Health concept and without attending to the multi-species entanglements that surround rabies," the study's authors wrote.
American Veterinarian (8/25) 
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Other News
Policy News
Veteran, military, medical groups urge reconsideration of VA dog testing bill
Veteran, military, medical groups urge reconsideration of VA dog testing bill
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
A House bill that would ban Department of Veterans Affairs funding of research that causes pain or distress to dogs, even if the pain can be alleviated, would "impede scientific research and unnecessarily delay research advances for our nation's veterans," according to a letter sent to House leaders by the Friends of VA Medical Care and Health Research. "Specifically, dog studies have advanced our understanding of immunodeficiency, narcolepsy, metabolic disease, cancer, autoimmune function, vision and epilepsy," the FOVA wrote. "In short, animal models, including dogs, have helped advance science, which has helped save human and animal lives."
Stars and Stripes (tiered subscription model) (8/28) 
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FBR News
FBR paper: The Critical Role of Nonhuman Primates in Medical Research
FBR paper: The Critical Role of Nonhuman Primates in Medical Research
FBR's NHP White Paper has now been published with Pathogens and Immunity, making it available on PubMed, PubMed Central, Google Scholar, and the Directory of Open Access Journals.

FBR expresses its deepest gratitude to the American Physiological Society, the American Academy of Neurology, the American Transplant Foundation, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, the Society for Neuroscience, the American Society for Microbiology, the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the Endocrine Society and the numerous scientific experts who made this paper possible.

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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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