Addiction is a poorly understood brain disorder with enormous costs in financial and human terms, and researchers are working to close numerous gaps in our understanding of addiction, an open letter from scientists and leaders in the addiction research community reads. Unfortunately, eminent primatologist Jane Goodall recently lent her name to a misguided, inaccurate campaign to end addiction research involving animals. "What is lost in the simple formulation that Goodall uses is the fact that research with humans cannot answer fundamentally important questions that are basic to progress in understanding, preventing, and treating addiction," the signatories write.
Monkeys inoculated with two broadly neutralizing HIV antibodies were protected from future exposure to both strains of HIV, and in another study, an antibody genetically engineered to behave as if it were three antibodies attacked three distinct targets on HIV and protected monkeys from infection. The antibodies are not manufactured by the immune system, and inoculations would have to be repeated, said Rowena Johnston, vice president and director of research at amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research.
A study in the journal Nature Communications found that a live-attenuated Zika vaccine candidate prevented transmission of the virus to the offspring of pregnant mice. The vaccine candidate was developed by researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch and the Evandro Chagas Institute of Brazil.
Some 100,000 people in the US await a kidney transplant, and many have been waiting years, but research in pigs and nonhuman primates promises to boost availability and whittle down the waiting list for kidneys as well as other organs. Researchers reported on their progress overcoming immune system and survival barriers at the recent International Xenotransplantation Association conference, and some scientists may soon apply to launch a clinical trial.
Macrophages from adipose tissue release exosomes that control insulin resistance, and exosomes from insulin-resistant mice provoked insulin resistance in insulin-sensitive mice, researchers reported in Cell. In addition, glucose metabolism normalized when insulin-resistant mice got exosomes from insulin-sensitive mice, the researchers reported, providing key insights into type 2 diabetes and how it might be treated.
Veterinarians at 23 clinics are participating in a clinical trial of a stem cell therapy for canine arthritis. The stem cells are derived from canine umbilical cords and injected into dogs' arthritic joints, and early study results are promising, says veterinarian Kathy Petrucci, founder and CEO of Animal Cell Therapies, which is sponsoring the studies.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb asked researchers at the National Center for Toxicological Research to put a study on nicotine addiction on hold and sent primate experts to the facility "to evaluate the safety and well-being of the monkeys and to understand whether there are additional precautions needed." Gottlieb said primate veterinarians will guide an FDA team assessing the study and noted in a letter to primatologist Jane Goodall that "there are some areas for which non-animal testing is not yet a scientifically valid and available option."
Targeting young researchers striving to protect birds and even more extreme tactics by animal rights activists alienate animal lovers, breed disgust and are counterproductive, writes scientist Kevin Folta. "Compassion for animals can't be mobilized through abuse of people," Folta writes.
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