Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., sponsored a legislative amendment that would ban most VA medical research involving dogs, and a House vote for the bill "was the first step toward a complete devaluation of the lives of catastrophically injured veterans," writes retired US Marine Officer Sherman Gillums Jr., executive director of Paralyzed Veterans of America, one of a number of groups standing against the measure. "Because of the incredible complexity of human anatomy and our still-limited understanding of how it works, animal research will be needed for the foreseeable future," he writes, arguing the work will continue to save and transform the lives of veterans dealing with the painful aftermath of war.
Researchers who are working on gene therapies for Tay-Sachs disease and gangliosidosis have improved and extended the lives of affected cats fourfold to fivefold, and they hope to be able to do the same for humans if current trials involving sheep are successful. "We never thought animals would be living seven years after treatment when it's usually fatal in animals in just a few months," said Auburn University researcher Heather Gray-Edwards.
A technology called tissue nanotransfection uses nanochips to reprogram skin cells in a damaged area, allowing regeneration of any kind of cell needed for medical treatment, even precursors for vascular tissue or organs. An Ohio State University team that tested the technology in pigs and mice reported a 98% success rate, and human trials are expected next year.
When mice were treated with a naturally occurring hormone called klotho that past research has linked to preserved cognitive function in old age, their ability to navigate a maze improved within hours, and the effect lasted well after the protein should have left their bodies, researchers report in Cell Reports. Treated mice included some with brain changes characteristic of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases in humans.
A new mouse model with suppressed interferon response has yielded clues about prenatal and sexual routes of Zika virus transmission, NIH researchers wrote in Scientific Reports. Only some fetuses acquired Zika from infected mothers, suggesting the placenta can be an important barrier, and the team also found Zika persists in the testes, contributing to sexual transmission.
Hormonal changes that accompany menopause may explain the redistribution of body fat women tend to see around midlife, and researchers who blocked the problematic hormone in mice saw the animals burn more calories, reduce abdominal fat and lose less bone density. Dr. Mone Zaidi of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai plans to explore the idea in humans using an antibody to follicle-stimulating hormone.
Bacillus cereus biovar anthracis, which causes a type of anthrax, was implicated in about 40% of animal deaths in Tai National Park, Cote D'Ivoire, from 1989 to 2014, researchers reported in Nature, and computer models show B. cereus infections will reduce and potentially wipe out the park's chimpanzee population over the next 150 years. The study also raises important questions about possible human infections, one expert said.
Researchers studying the virus that causes sea turtles to develop fibropapillomatosis, which is characterized by a proliferation of tumors that interfere with vision, eating and immune system activity, have for the first time engineered reptile skin, which they plan to use to study the virus and hopefully zero in on solutions to stem its spread. The technique was adapted from methods used to grow skin grafts for human use.
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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.