Comparing differences between humans, animals could lead to new cures | HIV vaccine that worked in monkeys about to undergo human testing | Why a lemur center wants old smartphones
July 24, 2019
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Comparing differences between humans, animals could lead to new cures
Comparing differences between humans, animals could lead to new cures
(Sascha Schuermann/AFP/Getty Images)
Human diseases are studied in animals because of the genetic similarities, but comparing genetic differences also yields clues, writes Adam Taylor, director of the Clinical Anatomy Learning Centre at Lancaster University. Comparative studies of chimpanzees, naked mole rats, kangaroos, cave fish and zebras might lead to cures for diseases ranging from heart disease to cancer to diabetes, Taylor writes.
The Conversation (UK) (7/23) 
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HIV vaccine that worked in monkeys about to undergo human testing
A live-attenuated version of an HIV vaccine that was effective in monkeys is about to be put through human testing. The vaccine, which is based on a modified herpes virus, eliminated simian immunodeficiency virus in 59% of vaccinated rhesus macaque monkeys, and immunity lasted three years, researchers reported in Science Translational Medicine.
The Business Journals (tiered subscription model)/Portland, Ore. (7/17) 
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Research Breakthroughs
Why a lemur center wants old smartphones
Mouse lemurs are genetically similar to humans and some exhibit cognitive decline as they age as well as protein accumulations in the brain as people with Alzheimer's disease do. Researchers at Duke Lemur Center are teaching the little lemurs to use Android-based smartphones for future noninvasive cognitive tests and are seeking donated devices.
The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) (tiered subscription model) (7/19) 
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Immunotherapy combo kills cancer in mouse models of human glioblastoma
CAR T cells genetically modified to produce a bispecific T-cell engager killed human glioblastoma grafted onto mouse brains, researchers reported in Nature Biotechnology, and the team behind the effort is exploring a possible clinical trial. Researchers will have to figure out how to stop the T cells from producing BiTEs if they become toxic, oncologist Farhad Ravandi says, but immunotherapy expert Renier Brentjens says the approach could be less toxic and more effective than BiTE or CAR T-cell monotherapy.
STAT (tiered subscription model) (7/22) 
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Longevity gene has health trade-offs for worms
A gene that supports long life and facilitates reproduction in worms may suppress immune response, making that longer life less healthy, according to findings published in Nature Communications. Suppressing the TCER-1 gene, which extends the worms' life spans, helped them fight off infections, say the researchers.
The Scientist online (7/17) 
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Technique extends life of implanted stem cells in mice
Researchers tested microgel encapsulation of stem cells in mice and found the technique extended the viability of cells in bone marrow transplants, according to a study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The approach could improve outcomes associated with cell-based therapies, which often fail when cells are rejected by the recipient's immune system or the patient experiences graft-versus-host disease.
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (7/17) 
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Other News
Animal Health
Genetic similarities of bone cancer in dogs, children identified
Genetic similarities of bone cancer in dogs, children identified
(Pixabay)
Pediatric and canine osteosarcoma are genetically similar, and the finding, published in Communications Biology, opens new opportunities for research and treatment targets. Osteosarcoma affects about 1,000 children and more than 25,000 dogs each year, and the findings of the genetic research can help scientists design clinical trials in dogs that could translate to children, says Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine professor and veterinarian Cheryl London, one of the study's authors.
Boston Herald (7/23),  Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (7/22) 
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Scientists hope IVF will save rhino subspecies
Poaching has decimated the northern white rhinoceros population, and a mother and daughter pair at Kenya's Ol Pejeta Conservancy are the last of the subspecies on Earth. An international team of scientists is racing to develop a successful in vitro fertilization technique to prevent extinction, and success could ripple to other endangered species.
USA Today (7/22) 
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FBR News
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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