How canine cancer research benefits dogs and people | Blocking molecule in uterus may delay or stop premature labor | Scientists split tooth germ, create real, implantable teeth
 
December 30, 2015
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How canine cancer research benefits dogs and people
Dog and girl.
(Carl Court/Getty Images)
Animal rights activists calling for an end to all canine research threaten the fight against cancer in people and animals, writes FBR President Frankie Trull. Cancer develops spontaneously in dogs, and by studying that process, researchers learn about cancer in people. Canine cancer research has uncovered valuable information about lymphoma, brain cancer, osteosarcoma and others, often leading to new treatments for people and dogs. "[Animal rights activists] have long been willing to sacrifice human lives for their ideology," writes Trull. "But by campaigning against canine research, they're also putting the lives of dogs in danger." Daily News (New York) (12/26)
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Research Breakthroughs
Blocking molecule in uterus may delay or stop premature labor
Newborn baby.
(Philippe Huguen/Getty Images)
More than 10% of babies are born prematurely, before systems including the brain, lungs, and liver are fully developed, but premature labor may be delayed or even stopped by blocking a molecule in the uterus, according to a new study. Researchers looked at the molecule TRPV4 in mice and found that blocking it prevented premature labor. The study was published in Science Translational Medicine. LiveScience.com (12/23)
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Scientists split tooth germ, create real, implantable teeth
Using tooth germ, the embryonic tissue that gives rise to teeth, scientists in Japan created teeth that functioned normally when implanted into a mouse. The team observed the two-week tooth germ growth pattern, noting the interaction between Lef1, the activator protein coding gene, and Ectodin, a bone morphogenetic protein inhibitor, and determined the ideal moment to split the tooth germ so two teeth would develop. Once implanted into a mouse, the teeth allowed for normal chewing and sensation. The work, published in Scientific Reports, could help children with facial and dental developmental abnormalities. Gizmag (12/22)
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Mouse study uncovers link between liver hormone and sugar cravings
Doughnuts.
(Tim Boyle/Getty Images)
Researchers who worked with mice have zeroed in on the hormone that tells the brain to step away from the sugar bowl. Fibroblast growth factor 21 "shuts off that reward pathway," researcher Matthew Potthoff said, describing the first study to pinpoint a single innate mechanism that can stem cravings. Mice with augmented levels of the hormone tended to choose more healthful fare than those with normal levels. The findings add to a body of research seeking to help people make better dietary decisions. Fortune (12/29)
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Animal research pushes toward new retinitis pigmentosa treatment
Researchers have found that transplants of stem cell-derived retinal tissue improved the vision of monkey models of retinitis pigmentosa. The transplanted tissue grew and connected with other retinal cells, according to findings reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The work could lead to better treatment for the condition, which results in near or total loss of vision. Popular Science (12/23)
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Blood and bone marrow transplants may exclude some immune cells
New blood and bone marrow transplant techniques may not deliver B-1a cells, leaving recipients more susceptible to common pathogens, according to a paper published in Stem Cell Reports. Injecting human hematopoietic stem cells into mice lacking immune systems did not produce B-1a cells in the animals. The researchers suggest B-1a progenitor cells exist in tissues, not blood, raising questions about how the cells are classified and therapies using hematopoietic stem cells in immunocompromised patients, the authors wrote. The San Diego Union-Tribune (12/26)
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Scientists discover brain pathway that mimics ketamine's antidepressant effects
Ketamine provides antidepressant effects within two hours that may last up to a week, but doctors can't prescribe it for patients due to its dangerous and addictive side effects. Using a rat model, researchers recently discovered a brain circuit involving the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex that achieves the antidepressant effect but doesn't cause the negative side effects. This information could lead to new targets for antidepressant medications. PsychCentral.com (12/27), MedicalDaily.com (12/22)
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Animal Health
Study links secondhand smoke to pet health risks
Cat and dog.
(Pixabay)
Pets exposed to secondhand smoke in the home are more likely to gain weight and develop cancer than animals in smoke-free homes, according to research by veterinarian Clare Knottenbelt of the University of Glasgow in the UK. Pets, especially cats, are particularly vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoke because they spend so much time inside, grooming and in close contact with the carpet, where toxins accumulate. The Telegraph (London) (tiered subscription model) (12/29)
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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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