Studies in monkeys have pointed to potential functional cures for HIV, including treatment with a drug approved for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis that is being put through clinical trials now. Other researchers are studying antibodies, drug combinations and experimental vaccines that have shown promise in nonhuman primate studies and other animal research.
University of Washington researchers have found that acorn worms can regrow major body parts, including internal organs and the nervous system. Their study in the journal Developmental Dynamics could lead to identifying genes that would permit the regeneration of limbs or restoration of spinal cord nerves in humans.
Studies in Caenorhabditis elegans, a short-lived species of roundworm whose genome is similar to humans', showed that manipulating the RNA splicing process might extend healthy human life spans. The researchers reported in Nature that dietary restriction and increasing levels of splicing factor 1 appeared to slow the worms' aging process.
Genome editing technology promises to transform medicine by enabling the creation of mammalian models of human health and disease and by facilitating the study of physiological and pathological processes in human cells in vitro, writes John Parrington of the University of Oxford. Among the most exciting applications has been animal studies of gene editing to fight cancer, and it has shown promise in combating other devastating diseases.
The 1918 influenza A pandemic occurred before the influenza virus had even been discovered, so there are many unknowns about the outbreak that can only be answered by working with animal models, work that could help scientists prevent future pandemics. Virologist Emmie de Wit also works with Ebola, Nipah virus and other virulent zoonotic pathogens, and her work examining the 1918 pathogen in ferrets could help determine how seasonal influenza viruses sometimes enter the brain.
Researchers detected a gene called blaIMP-27 at a swine farm that renders bacteria resistant to the last-resort class of antibiotics known as carbapenems, and they say the gene could be transmitted to bacteria that might colonize people. Because the gene is carried on plasmids, it readily moves between microbes.
Regulators, researchers, veterinarians and pet owners support enrolling pets with terminal disease in clinical trials, but murky regulations governing veterinary trials threaten this promising area of research, according to this editorial. The work is valuable on many levels, including the scientific benefit of using genetically diverse animal models that live in the same environments as humans, and the prospect of new treatments for animals and people.
Republican Reps. Fred Upton of Michigan and Tom Cole of Oklahoma and Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Roy Blunt of Missouri have urged President-elect Donald Trump to keep Francis Collins at the helm of the NIH. Meanwhile, Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., an anesthesiologist, asked Trump to consider him for the post, saying that his experience as a researcher and a politician would make him an effective director.
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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.