Human health is "inextricably linked to the health of animals and the environment we share," writes BIO CEO and FBR board member Jim Greenwood, arguing research in animals is solving not only critical human health problems but also providing new tools to fight animal diseases and preserve endangered species. Most elected officials aren't concerned with animal welfare because they're focused on human well-being, but an appreciation of the connectedness between animal and human health benefits species of all types, Greenwood writes.
Researchers report that a naturally occurring human antibody known as ZIKV-177 could be used to create a vaccine that protects pregnant women and fetuses from the effects of the Zika virus, according to a study published in the journal Nature. The antibody was derived from white blood cells of adults who have recovered from Zika infections and was tested in mice, with treated animals and their fetuses showing lower viral levels.
The National Cancer Institute will issue five-year grants worth $15 million next year to fund studies of experimental immunotherapies in dogs with cancer. Investigators at cancer centers will partner with veterinary schools to conduct clinical trials, and results will be publicly available in an online database.
Heart tissue grafts have shown promise in studies involving guinea pigs, and the grafts are being tested in pigs as well. The researchers engineered strips of heart muscle tissue using a combination of heart muscle cells and endothelial cells generated from stem cells and found the grafts integrated with the animals' injured hearts and developed new cardiac muscle.
Scientists at Stanford University School of Medicine describe in the journal Nature how they used CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology to repair the gene that causes sickle cell disease in patients' stem cells. The researchers may have compiled enough data to begin human clinical trials, senior author Matthew Porteus said.
Local cancer recurrence rates were about 30% lower than normal after tumor removal using a carbon dioxide laser in animal studies, and now some surgeons are offering the procedure to breast cancer patients. The technology is FDA approved and has been used to treat cancers of the head, neck, tongue and vocal cord.
The development of a new mouse model has allowed researchers to determine a possible explanation for how poison ivy causes itching, researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Skin contact with urushiol in the plant triggers IL-33 proteins to send signals to the brain that cause severe itching, and an antibody that blocks that pathway alleviated itching.
A study published in Current Biology suggests that nonhuman primate eyesight acuity diminishes with age, based on observations that the distance between grooming bonobos increased greatly with age, presumably because the animals were having difficulty seeing and adjusted their position to compensate. National Zoo veterinarian Katharine Hope says the study aligns with her own observations in zoo animals, and although exotic species are not treated for poor vision, dogs can get special glasses.
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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.