A single injection of two genetically modified, broadly neutralizing antibodies protected rhesus monkeys from infection with simian-human immunodeficiency virus for a median of 20 weeks, researchers reported in Nature Medicine. A single mutation introduced into each of two antibodies extended the antibodies' survival in the monkeys' bloodstreams and protected the monkeys for longer than the unmodified antibodies, both when administered alone and in combination.
Nicolas Graham, an integrative neuroscience major at Binghamton University in New York, writes that he went through extensive training on USDA and NIH standards before working with animal models, and research labs must pass inspections to ensure animal models are handled with the utmost care. Though some arguments against animal research have merit, some are misinformed, and "the pros outweigh the cons when considering animals as research models," Graham writes.
Human brain organoids have been implanted in the brains of mice, allowing them to continue developing, according to a study published in Nature Biotechnology. The mini-brains grown from stem cells don't survive for more than a few months in culture, so researchers transplanted them into mouse brains, where they grew blood vessels and created new neural connections.
Researchers study old collections of animal specimens to predict zoonotic disease outbreaks, learn how species have evolved, track ecosystem changes or determine the effects of changing habitats. The Biological Survey Unit's collection at the Smithsonian Institution of 600,000 specimens is the world's largest, and curator Suzanne Peurach says scientists often find novel reasons to use it, such as unraveling a mysterious outbreak that turned out to be deadly hantavirus.
Mammals' instinct to feed, shelter, protect and nurture their offspring is wired into the brain, and scientists using genetic and optical techniques mapped the neural network underlying the behavior in mice. The related brain circuitry described in Nature resembles a hub and spokes and is driven by neurons that express the signaling molecule galanin to form a sort of parenting command center in the hypothalamus, researchers found.
Antibiotics administered to koalas to cure chlamydia infections alter their gut microbiomes, impeding the ability to digest their main food source, eucalyptus leaves, researchers reported in PeerJ. The researchers discovered the presence of Lonepinella koalarum, a tannin-degrading bacterium, was linked to koalas' survival of antibiotic treatment, and the finding might help scientists develop more effective treatments for the threatened species.
Cameron Park Zoo in Texas and Zoo Atlanta were among the first in the world to persuade great apes to submit to blood pressure tests, blood draws and echocardiograms, and the zoos now offer free training for other professionals as part of Zoo Atlanta's Great Ape Heart Project. "Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in great apes," said Terri Cox, Cameron's curator of programs and exhibits.
Laboratory animal welfare has continuously improved over the past 40 years, driven by public and professional expectations, and guidance and regulation from the USDA, the National Research Council, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the NIH's Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, write experts F. Claire Hankenson, Elisa Hurley and David Strauss. Opportunities exist to further promote laboratory animal welfare and enhance the quality of research, and congressional support of federal and institutional animal oversight will help ensure standards remain robust, consistent and relevant.
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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.