Pharmacology expert explains how animal research benefits patients | Bat genome yields clues to viral immunity | CWD may not be able to infect primates, study finds
May 2, 2018
FBR Smartbrief
Top Story
Pharmacology expert explains how animal research benefits patients
Patients would pay the true cost if animal research were eliminated, said Bill Dewey of Virginia Commonwealth University's Pharmacology and Toxicology Department. "Would you like one of your family to be the first person to have a heart cardiac transplant that was never done on an experimental animal?" Dewey said.
WRIC-TV (Richmond, Va.) (5/1) 
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Research Breakthroughs
Bat genome yields clues to viral immunity
Bat genome yields clues to viral immunity
An Egyptian fruit bat. (Wikimedia Commons)
Researchers who sequenced the genome of an Egyptian fruit bat found that the species has a larger than expected number of immunity-related genes, which might enable the bats to carry Marburg, Ebola and other viruses without getting sick. The findings, published in Cell, could improve scientists' understanding of virus transmission and lead to new or improved treatments.
Futurity (4/26) 
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CWD may not be able to infect primates, study finds
The prion that causes chronic wasting disease in deer and other cervids may not be capable of causing similar effects in humans and nonhuman primates, according to the results of a long-term study published in the Journal of Virology that conflicts with earlier findings in a different species of monkey. In the current study, macaques exposed to the prion more than a decade ago through either consumption of infected meat or surgical introduction into the brain showed no evidence of infection either clinically or using highly sensitive assays, researchers reported.
Gizmodo (4/27) 
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Early cell development in embryos described in 2 animal species, 3 studies
The process of early embryonic development in zebrafish and frogs has been broken down in three studies published in Science. "With single-cell sequencing, we can, in a day's work, recapitulate decades of painstaking research on the decisions cells make at the earliest stages of life," said Allon Klein, an author on two of the studies.
The Scientist online (4/27) 
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Other News
Animal Health
Tissue donations help researchers study feline obesity, diabetes
Tissue donations help researchers study feline obesity, diabetes
Veterinary researchers at the University of Calgary and the University of Saskatchewan are exploring the link between obesity and diabetes in cats, evaluating blood and donated tissue for clues to changes that occur in obesity and diabetes. Veterinarian Chantal McMillan says there are many similarities in human and feline diabetes, and Dr. McMillan adds that the research may help scientists understand whether treatments used in humans would benefit pets.
UToday (University of Calgary) (5/1) 
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Dogs might help teach robots new tricks
Scientists attached sensors and a camera to an Alaskan malamute and sent the dog about her daily business of eating, playing and exploring to create a database of behavior that the team used to train an artificial intelligence system to predict how a dog might react to different situations. The program could eventually be used to create a robotic service dog, but in the meantime, scientists have noticed a few things about dogs' behavior and biomechanics.
NBC News (4/26) 
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Scientists plan to use woolly mammoth genes to create tuskless elephants
Scientists say introducing woolly mammoth genes into elephants to render the animals tuskless and better able to tolerate cold temperatures could improve the species' odds of survival. A research team led by geneticist George Church have isolated 44 woolly mammoth genes and are developing an artificial womb to grow genetically engineered embryos, starting first with mice.
Newsweek (5/1),  CNET (4/29) 
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Policy News
The world isn't ready for the next major pandemic, Bill Gates warns
Bill Gates said the US government is unprepared for the next major pandemic, and he said simulations show that an outbreak similar to the 1918 influenza outbreak would kill nearly 33 million people around the world within six months. Speaking at an event Friday, Gates urged the US and other countries to prepare for the pandemic as they do for war, noting that the next worrisome disease will likely be one that has yet to be discovered.
Business Insider (4/27),  The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (4/27) 
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Clear, measured response to activism can serve as a model
An article in the Columbia Daily Tribune about activists protesting research at the University of Missouri on Duchenne muscular dystrophy clearly explained the importance of research on a debilitating disease, why and how dogs are used to find a cure, how those dogs are treated and how far the research has progressed. The article is a model for other academic institutions that find themselves targeted by misguided activism.
Speaking of Research (4/27) 
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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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