Lifesaving medical breakthroughs still depend on animal models | Help FBR spread the word about biomedical progress | Cows may help researchers develop vaccine for HIV
July 26, 2017
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Lifesaving medical breakthroughs still depend on animal models
Lifesaving medical breakthroughs still depend on animal models
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NIH Director Francis Collins recently remarked that research involving animals remains "crucial to our understanding of how biology works," and 91% of Americans polled say it's important to develop better medicines. "Breakthroughs from the germ theory of disease to the polio vaccine to the 25 most prescribed medications in America have all relied on research with the animal model," writes National Association for Biomedical Research President Matthew Bailey.
The Hill (7/24) 
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Help FBR spread the word about biomedical progress
The Hill published a Letter to the Editor submitted by FBR and NABR President Matthew Bailey, discussing not only the benefits of animal research in medical discovery for conditions like HIV/AIDS, malaria, cancer, and Alzheimer’s, but also covering the immense impact of NIH funded studies.

Please take a moment to read the above letter and submit supportive comments at the bottom of the article. We frequently see opponents of animal research commenting freely on similar articles; it would be most helpful if the research community spoke out in support of animal research. Share this with your friends, family, colleagues, and on social media, and encourage others to do the same.

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Research Breakthroughs
Cows may help researchers develop vaccine for HIV
Cows' immune systems show an extraordinary ability to neutralize HIV and may help researchers develop a vaccine for humans, according to findings published in Nature. Scientists say cows' unique digestive system may play a role in their ability to produce broadly neutralizing antibodies in response to HIV in just a few weeks.
BBC (7/21) 
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Study: CRISPR gene drives may experience resistance in the wild
Problems have arisen in the use of CRISPR-Cas9 gene drives in an experiment involving fruit flies, according to a study published in PLOS Genetics. Resistance to the gene drives spread quickly among fruit fly populations worldwide, suggesting it may be more difficult to engineer gene changes in the future.
Science News (7/20) 
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Study examines role of RNAi in mammals' virus response
RNA interference, or RNAi, plays a role in mammals' ability to fight viruses, according to findings published in Immunity. Researchers in China studied small interfering RNAs in mammalian cells infected with the human enterovirus that causes hand, foot and mouth disease.
The Scientist online (7/21) 
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Engineering liver tissue in mice might someday alleviate human organ shortage
Engineering liver tissue in mice might someday alleviate human organ shortage
(Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Researchers reported in Science Translational Medicine that liver cells implanted as "seeds" into biodegradable tissue scaffolds of damaged livers in mice multiplied fiftyfold and executed regular functions performed by normal liver tissues. Investigators hope the method could benefit more than 17,000 Americans suffering from liver disease, particularly those on a liver-transplant waiting list.
HealthDay News (7/19) 
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Experimental compound protects macaques from simian HIV
Eight macaques injected weekly with an experimental nucleoside reverse transcriptase translocation inhibitor were protected from a simian HIV, according to a study presented at an International AIDS Society conference. Moreover, a single dose of the drug lowered viral load in six people with HIV, according to the paper.
National AIDS Treatment and Advocacy Project (7/23)
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Findings suggest framework for timing of autism development
Findings from rodent studies, new observations of alleles linked to autism and a neuroimaging study of high-risk siblings of autistic children "suggest a conceptual framework for the early, post-natal development of autism," write Dr. Joseph Piven and colleagues. "A better understanding of the timing of developmental brain and behavior mechanisms in autism during infancy, a period which precedes the emergence of the defining features of this disorder, will likely have important implications for designing rational approaches to early intervention," the authors write.
Nature (free content) (7/25) 
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Other News
Animal Health
Commentary: Predictability is one reason why animal models are invaluable
Unlike humans, who have variable diets, lifestyles, genetics and environmental exposures, animal models are predictable, and it takes far fewer animals than humans to reach statistical significance in medical studies, writes veterinarian Dale Cooper, a veterinarian and diplomate to the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine. Moreover, animals often benefit from treatments developed for human ailments, and animals in research environments benefit from the high level of care and attention they receive, Cooper writes.
Speaking of Research (7/25) 
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Biologist tracks plague in Southwestern prairie dog colonies
Biologist tracks plague in Southwestern prairie dog colonies
(Barbara Sax/AFP/Getty Images)
David Wagner works with the local public health department in Flagstaff, Ariz., on a study of plague in prairie dogs in his Biosafety Level 3 lab at Northern Arizona University's Pathogen and Microbiome Institute. The bacterium that causes plague is transmitted via flea bites from the rodent colonies, which can be totally wiped out by the disease, to other mammals -- including humans.
STAT (tiered subscription model) (7/19) 
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FBR News
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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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