Nearly every medical breakthrough in the past century was based on animal research, and although some nonanimal models are now available, they have limitations, writes neuroscientist Stuart Baker. Criticism about animal research often starts from false premises that lead to false conclusions, writes Baker, who describes his research and the care given to the nonhuman primates on which he depends to study the inner workings of the brain and how to heal it.
Zika virus infection in adults may damage stem cells involved in learning and memory, a study in mice suggests. Scientists from The Rockefeller University and the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology collaborated on the project, which suggests "getting infected with Zika as an adult may not be as innocuous as people think," says researcher Joseph Gleeson.
Gold nanoparticles offer an effective way of delivering chemotherapy molecules to tumors, and they can help amplify the effect of radiation in pancreatic cancer cells and pancreatic stellate cells in mice. The gold nanoparticles interfered with cellular communication around the tumors without hurting healthy tissue, the researchers reported in ACS Nano.
Inhibiting production of the Nuak1 enzyme in human and fruit fly cells reduced the production of tau proteins associated with Alzheimer's disease, researchers reported in Neuron. Hundreds of kinases were screened in fruit fly models before being tested in mice, and Nuak1 inhibition was associated with improvements in behavior and preservation of brain function in the mice, the researchers said.
The effects of the chemotherapy drug taxol on zebrafish may shed light on peripheral neuropathy in patients undergoing chemotherapy, studies led by scientist Sandra Rieger show. The researchers will test two compounds that appear to counteract the side effect, which is permanent in 20% of people and causes others to stop treatment, in mammalian models and in people.
Jacob Ellegood and Jason Lerch were met with skepticism when they first proposed scanning mouse brains with magnetic resonance imaging, but in seven years, the team has scanned the brains of 87 mouse models that have genetic mutations associated with autism, and they have collaborated with 32 other teams in eight countries. The work has found that some brain regions are consistently altered in the models, and researchers are comparing the findings with studies of autism in people and making plans to test treatments in animals and humans.
Tests involving animals as well as human cells found that production of blood stem cells is halted in the absence of the amino acid valine, researchers reported in the journal Science. The finding could lead to bone marrow transplant methods that do not rely on chemotherapy or radiation, according to the study team.
A robotic computerized tomography scanner for horses at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine that allows the horse to remain awake and upright while undergoing scanning yields high-quality images, some of which are captured in 3D. Horses have to be anesthetized for traditional CT scans, which can be dangerous, and the new technology might also be useful for people who are not good candidates for traditional CT imaging.
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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.