Mouse study suggests malaria drug may provide Zika protection in pregnancy | New study supports safety of gene editing using CRISPR | Experimental vaccine blocks virus transmission through NHP placenta
A mouse study by investigators from Washington University School of Medicine found that the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine reduced the ability of the Zika virus to cross the placental barrier. The findings were published in The Journal of Experimental Medicine.
A new study has called into question findings of an earlier study that suggested gene editing using CRISPR-Cas9 could cause undesirable mutations. The new study says the mutations found during the sequencing of the genomes of three CRISPR-edited mice were due to the fact that two of the mice were closely related and therefore had more mutations in common.
Researchers at Duke University School of Medicine and Tulane National Primate Research Center reported in JCI Insight that an experimental vaccine appeared to prevent transmission of cytomegalovirus, a leading cause of fetal malformations including microcephaly, through the placenta to fetal rhesus monkeys. Rhesus CMV-specific antibodies protected against miscarriage and blocked both transmission to fetuses and the virus' reproduction and mutation.
Scientists at the University of Tokyo's Graduate School of Medicine describe in Cell Reports a method for observing how cancer metastasizes in individual cells by making organs transparent. They used chemicals to reduce lipids in mouse organs and increase refraction around the organs, allowing light to pass through so that individual cancer cells could be seen, demonstrating a technique that with modification could be applied to biopsies and maybe eventually live subjects.
Although cases remain uncommon, the incidence of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is up 85% nationally and 117% in Wisconsin, according to health officials, while chronic wasting disease is spreading among deer, and some speculation has emerged that the trends could be linked. Macaque monkeys that ate venison from deer with CWD subsequently contracted chronic wasting disease, researchers in Canada reported, and CDC spokeswoman Christine Pearson said the findings raise concerns.
Kansas State University and the University of Missouri have partnered on a project known as 1Data that's designed to set a new standard for analysis of cross-species health data that supporters hope will power new breakthroughs in human and animal health. The idea is to accelerate and lower the cost of drug development by mitigating duplicative research and reducing reliance on animal models where practical while determining optimal models when animals are needed.
Some activists say that because nonhuman primates are intelligent and genetically similar to humans, they are entitled to legal rights, but those arguments are deeply flawed, and only humans have personhood and are entitled to the rights of persons, Matthew Goldberg writes. "Primates and other species are remarkably intelligent creatures, and there are certainly profound moral questions when concerning the treatment of animals ... [but] to confer rights and personhood onto apes is a step too far," Goldberg writes.
The approval process for medical devices and drugs could incorporate computer modeling and virtual testing in an effort to modernize and streamline the regulatory pathway and make drugs more affordable, according to an FDA proposal. The agency is developing virtual patients for clinical trials and databases for testing treatments for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, Commissioner Scott Gottlieb wrote in a blog post.
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