Gradual administration of HIV vaccine to monkeys elicited strong response | Commentary: Activists threaten to set back HIV/AIDS research | Researchers test way of repairing heart attack damage in pigs
May 15, 2019
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Gradual administration of HIV vaccine to monkeys elicited strong response
Administering small doses of an HIV vaccine either every other day for less than two weeks or continuously over several days elicited a stronger immune response in monkeys than administration of the entire dose at once, researchers reported in Cell. The monkeys' immune systems responded differently to the different dosing strategies, and "testing vaccine concepts in monkeys has been very important for HIV vaccine research, to identify the best ideas before moving forward into human clinical trials that cost many millions of dollars," said lead author Shane Crotty.
Newsweek (5/9) 
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Commentary: Activists threaten to set back HIV/AIDS research
Commentary: Activists threaten to set back HIV/AIDS research
(Diptendu Dutta/AFP/Getty Images)
Animal rights activists who want to stop all research on animals, despite the proven benefits for humanity, and who try to intimidate biomedical researchers and charities could delay important breakthroughs on HIV/AIDS and other deadly diseases, writes Gregory Angelo, former president of the Log Cabin Republicans. For many types of research, there is simply no replacement for animals, and "[s]ometimes, we need to use lab rats to help find cures for human (and animal) ailments," Angelo writes.
The Examiner (Washington, D.C.) (5/9) 
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Research Breakthroughs
Researchers test way of repairing heart attack damage in pigs
Researchers test way of repairing heart attack damage in pigs
Researchers repaired heart attack damage in 25 pigs using genetic material delivered using a viral vector, and the authors say the study suggests the approach for repairing cardiac damage could work in large animals who share similarities with humans. The work was reported in Nature.
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (5/9) 
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Study in pigs could lead to expanded lung supply
About 80% of donated lungs are too damaged to use, but a study in pigs demonstrating the feasibility of regenerating lung tissue damaged by stomach acids could lead to a greatly improved supply of lungs and other organs. Researchers connected damaged lungs to a ventilator and the recipient's blood supply, washed the gastric acids out of the lungs and treated them with a surfactant, and the lungs regenerated in three days and worked better than control lungs, according to the report in Nature Communications.
Discover magazine online (5/8) 
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Whale genome study yields insight into cancer resistance
Whale genome study yields insight into cancer resistance
Like elephants, whales rarely develop or die from cancer despite known risk factors of high mass and longevity, and a study of various whale genomes revealed that genes that control cell proliferation and DNA repair are highly evolved. Whales also have many duplications in regions that suppress tumors, and the findings, published in Molecular Biology and Evolution, could help identify new cancer treatment and prevention methods for people, lead author Marc Tollis says.
HealthDay News (5/13) 
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Drugs that clear zombie cells show promise in mice, people
Mouse studies have shown that eliminating senescent cells -- which exist in a state of suspended animation -- may improve walking speed, grip strength, endurance and life span, even in old mice. In subsequent tests in people with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a senolytic drug improved some measures of physical fitness, and senolytics might also treat premature aging in cancer survivors.
The Associated Press (5/14) 
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Other News
Animal Health
Cryo zoo hedges against looming species extinction
More than 10,000 cell and tissue samples from around 1,100 species stored at the San Diego Zoo's Frozen Zoo are a hedge against species extinction due to habitat destruction, exploitation, invasive species, pollution and climate change, which the UN says put 1 million species at risk of extinction within decades. The zoo began storing samples from endangered species before the advent of genomic sequencing and gene editing, and Oliver Ryder, director of conservation genetics, says the UN report adds urgency to its mission.
WCAI-FM (Woods Hole, Mass.) (5/12) 
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Policy News
Proposed House appropriations report language directs NIH to reduce NHPs in research
A spending bill proposed in the House for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 would encourage the NIH to accelerate reductions in the use of non-human primates in research and direct it to report the number, purpose and pain levels of NHPs in research, as well its timeline for their replacement and retirement. NHPs are vitally important to HIV and neuroscience research, according to the NIH.
Nature (free content) (5/14) 
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FBR News
New FBR resource: Animal Research Perceptions vs. Reality
Animal rights groups mislead the public about animal research, but FBR is fighting back with facts. In this resource, highly respected neuro-oncologist and FBR Board Vice-Chair Dr. Henry S. Friedman refutes myths surrounding animal research with scientific evidence and sets the record straight on the reality and benefits of animal research. Check it out.
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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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