Science, not politics, should guide decisions about research | Clinical trial of gene therapy expands for dogs with joint pain | Researchers study monkeys of Cayo Santiago to learn about post-traumatic stress
If activists succeed in pushing Congress to defund studies involving dogs and cats, they will end up hurting the very animals they seek to protect. "Bottom line is, science should be driving the decision over which models are most appropriate for research -- not pressure from activist groups, animal rights extremists or legislators," says Rocco Praglowski, the government affairs director for the National Association for Biomedical Research.
Veterinarian Rob Landry is seeking more dogs in Colorado to participate in a clinical study of interleukin-10 gene therapy for dogs with degenerative joint arthritis or dysplasia whose pain has not been eased by medication. Human trials of the therapy are also underway in California and Australia, and if successful, it could reduce demand for opioid pain drugs and joint replacements.
Researchers have studied monkeys at Cayo Santiago for decades, and in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, researchers may be able to learn how survivors of a disaster cope and identify individual traits that might put some at risk for psychological problems. The death rate among the monkeys spiked in the months after the storm, as did the human death rate in Puerto Rico, and researchers have noted behavioral and social changes, too.
An experimental drug called PRI-002, which removes toxic beta-amyloid molecules, was safe and tolerated in an early-stage trial involving healthy people, making it eligible for a midstage trial assessing its efficacy in patients with Alzheimer's disease. A prior study in the journal Molecular Neurobiology found that older mouse models with Alzheimer's disease had significantly improved memory and cognition after receiving the treatment.
Defensive molecules from lampreys were used to deliver the cancer drug doxorubicin into the brains of mice with glioblastoma, significantly extending life span compared with a control group, researchers reported in Science Advances. The molecules circulated through the body but did not accumulate in other organs or in healthy brain tissue, and the researchers believe they could also be used to treat brain trauma or stroke.
B cells in mice were modified with CRISPR-Cas9 to make them express antibodies against respiratory syncytial virus, researchers reported in Science Immunology. Scientists hope their research can lead to vaccines for RSV as well as influenza, Epstein-Barr virus and HIV, but "[b]efore this goes into people, we have to be absolutely certain that it's safe," said study leader Justin Taylor.
Veterinarians and handlers at Cincinnati Zoo have taught the zoo's gorillas to allow periodic heart screenings as part of the international Great Ape Heart Project. Like humans, great apes are prone to heart disease, and one of the zoo's female gorillas is now on heart medication to treat problems identified through screening.
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.