Testing in mice, rats, rabbits and nonhuman primates is an essential step in demonstrating the safety and efficacy of drugs before they are approved for human testing and use. Scientists are working on alternatives, such as organ-on-a-chip technology and microdosing in humans, but experts say viable replacements are years away from reality. "You can have all the data and computer modeling in the world, but it's not the same as being in a complex and complete living animal," said research consultant Malcolm France.
Neuroscientists report in Nature Methods on a method for turning an intact mouse or rat transparent while highlighting nerve paths, allowing researchers to see neural networks from the brain and spinal cord to the end of the extremities. The scientists say the model could be useful for studying brain disorders and might eventually be used to map human brains.
Surgically grafting human neural stem cells near stroke-damaged tissue and infusing the protein 3K3A-APC triggered the formation of working neurons in mice, researchers reported in Nature Medicine. "If the therapy works in humans, it could markedly accelerate the recovery of these patients," said Jim Koenig, a program director at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
A study of adult mice injected with the Zika virus found the virus was attracted to and killed neural stem cells. Experts said the findings in the journal Cell Stem Cell point to the need for neurological studies of the virus in humans.
Researchers were able to detect changes in the back of rats' eyes before symptoms of Parkinson's disease became apparent. They say the finding could lead to a simple, inexpensive way to diagnose the disease at an early stage, facilitating earlier treatment of the world's second-most-common neurodegenerative disease.
Cancer patients often report experiencing mental fogginess, and a new study in mice confirms that chemotherapy commonly used to treat breast cancer can interfere with cognitive function for months after the end of treatment. Chemotherapy-treated mice had persistently impaired learning and recall, a decline in proliferation of new hippocampal neurons and reduced survival of new neurons, the researchers reported in Behavioural Brain Research.
Researchers tested almost 7,000 dogs of 230 breeds for markers of nearly 100 genetic disorders and found that dogs carry variants associated with inherited canine disorders more commonly than previously thought. One in six dogs had at least one disease-linked variant, and one in six of those variants was discovered in a breed that had not previously been associated with the disorder.
FBR announced today the release of the white paper, The Critical Role of Nonhuman Primates in Medical Research. The white paper is a collaboration between FBR and eight premier scientific groups: the American Academy of Neurology, the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the American Physiological Society, the American Society for Microbiology, the American Transplant Foundation, the Endocrine Society, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology and the Society for Neuroscience. The white paper highlights the essential role NHPs historically have and continue to play in finding treatments for serious and life-altering conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, cancer, Zika virus, HIV/AIDS and Parkinson's disease. To learn more about how research with NHPs is contributing to lifesaving cures for people, please download the white paper, The Critical Role of Nonhuman Primates in Medical Research or visit fbresearch.org.
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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.