Gene therapy canine studies promising for muscular dystrophy, retinitis pigmentosa | Study finds high dose of vitamin C can kill cancer cells in mice | Eye drops melt cataracts, restore partial vision
November 11, 2015
FBR Smartbrief
Top News for the Biomedical Research Community

Research Breakthroughs
Gene therapy canine studies promising for muscular dystrophy, retinitis pigmentosa
Molecular research.
(Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Gene therapy treatment in dogs with late-stage retinitis pigmentosa halted photoreceptor cell degeneration, stalling disease progression for the 2.5-year study duration even in severe cases, according to a study of dogs with the disorder published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In another study, dogs with a type of muscular dystrophy similar to that seen in people responded to gene therapy, developing normally within a few months of treatment. (11/6), HealthDay News (11/2)
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Study finds high dose of vitamin C can kill cancer cells in mice
High doses of vitamin C have been used to destroy cells with a common mutation that causes cancer and limit tumor growth in mice, according to a study published online in Science. Researchers are hoping to start clinical trials on cancer patients with KRAS or BRAF cancer-cell mutations. (11/5)
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Eye drops melt cataracts, restore partial vision
In mice with cataracts, a sterol eye drop dissolved some of the cataract, restoring some vision. The drops also successfully restored transparency in some human lenses. "There are about 100 million people in the world that are currently blind from cataracts because of lack of access to the surgical procedure," said researcher Jason Gestwicki of the University of California at San Francisco. "A topical treatment with good shelf life that requires minimal training is really what is needed." Quartz (11/8), Chemistry World magazine online (11/6)
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Scientists produce thin artificial blood vessels
Artificial blood vessels with a diameter of 0.6 millimeters have been developed by scientists with Japan's National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center by implanting tiny silicon-covered stainless rods under the skin of a small animal. The vessels were placed in a small animal as a femoral artery, and no clotting was found a half-year after the transplants. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (11/5), The Japan News by The Yomiuri Shimbun/Jiji Press (11/3)
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Animal Health
Bovine parasite treatment saves human lives in Uganda
Treating 500,000 Ugandan cattle with an antiparasitic agent plus regular insecticide applications yielded a 90% reduction in human cases of sleeping sickness, University of Edinburgh researchers found. The result is "healthier people and healthier animals," said researcher Sue Welburn. Some 30,000 people die of the disease each year. The Independent (London) (tiered subscription model) (11/10)
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D.C. officials warn of parvo uptick
Dogs play at park.
(Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Health officials in the District of Columbia are warning veterinarians and pet owners of a spike in canine parvovirus cases. There were 24 confirmed infections documented between June and October. Veterinarian Katy Nelson said infections have been seen in puppies that are too young to have started or completed vaccination against the disease, and she urged owners whose dogs are not fully protected to take precautions. WTOP-FM (Washington, D.C.) (11/6)
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Hair helps keep creatures clean, study suggests
Hair helps mammals and insects keep themselves clean, according to a new study in the Journal of Experimental Biology. The study looked at 27 species to examine the various ways they use their hair to get clean, from dogs shaking themselves to remove dirt from their fur to fruit flies who use hairs to flick dust particles off their heads and thoraxes, according to study author David Hu. The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (11/9)
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How age, feeding frequency affect canine sleep patterns
Research examining how age and meal frequency affect dogs' sleep patterns found older dogs tended to take more naps during the day, though those naps were not longer than younger dogs', and they slept longer at night than younger dogs. Dogs who were fed twice a day napped longer at a time than those fed once daily, but those fed more often tended to sleep less at night, waking earlier than dogs that were fed only once per day. The Bark online (11/6)
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FBR News
FBR president: We're killing chimps with kindness
FBR President Frankie Trull is featured in the opinion section of USA Today. In her op-ed titled "We're Killing Chimps with Kindness," Ms. Trull discusses how the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's recent designation of chimpanzees to its "endangered" list is effectively signing the death warrants for countless chimps.
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Strong characters are brought out by a change of situation, and gentle ones by permanence."
-- Jean Paul Richter,
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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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