Ebola vaccine appears 100% effective in humans after success in monkeys | Blocking type 1 interferon might improve response to antiretrovirals in HIV | Notable deaths in a year of medical advances
December 28, 2016
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Ebola vaccine appears 100% effective in humans after success in monkeys
Ebola vaccine appears 100% effective in humans after success in monkeys
(Cellou Binani/AFP/Getty Images)
Researchers reported in The Lancet that an experimental Ebola vaccine, rVSV-ZEBOV, appeared to be 100% effective against a common strain of the virus in people after showing promise in nonhuman primates. Researchers used a "ring vaccination" study design, which was used to eliminate smallpox and which may be useful in future vaccine studies.
The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (12/22),  The Conversation (U.S.) (12/23),  Vox (12/22) 
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Research Breakthroughs
Blocking type 1 interferon might improve response to antiretrovirals in HIV
Temporarily blocking type 1 interferon protein may improve immune function and accelerate HIV suppression during treatment with antiviral drugs, researchers discovered in a study in mice that had their immune systems replaced with human immune system cells. The findings, published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, suggest that blocking type 1 interferon reduced chronic activation of CD8 T cells and restored their ability to destroy HIV in combination with antiretroviral therapy.
United Press International (12/23) 
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Notable deaths in a year of medical advances
The deaths of celebrities in 2016 due to Alzheimer's disease, addiction, cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, among other conditions, show how much remains to be done in the field of biomedical research.
STAT (12/27) 
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Stem cells reverse male hypogonadism in rodents
Rodents with male hypogonadism experienced restoration of testosterone to normal levels after receiving transplants of androgen-producing Leydig cells, according to a study in the journal Stem Cell Reports. Researchers used direct cell reprogramming to transform skin cells into Leydig-like cells.
Medical News Today (12/23) 
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Scientists study zebrafish to ID cause of pediatric leukemia
The nonprofit group Kids Without Cancer is donating $356,000 to fund a zebrafish installation at Wayne State University School of Medicine's Integrative Biosciences Center. Scientists will study zebrafish to discover whether a common pesticide triggers the genetic changes that cause pediatric leukemia.
The Arizona Republic (Phoenix) (tiered subscription model)/Detroit Free Press (12/27) 
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Food supplement may slow neurodegeneration in rare disease
Phosphatidylserine could reverse neuron degeneration caused by familial dysautonomia, a debilitating neurodegenerative disorder that affects about 1 in 31 Jewish people of Eastern European, or Ashkenazi, descent, researchers say. The food supplement slowed the progression of neurodegeneration and repaired neuron activity in mice with FD, researchers report in PLOS Genetics.
United Press International (12/21) 
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Other News
Animal Health
H7N2 strikes veterinarian working with infected NYC shelter cats
H7N2 strikes veterinarian working with infected NYC shelter cats.
(Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
A veterinarian working with H7N2-infected cats at Animal Care Centers of NYC was diagnosed with the same form of avian influenza. Although the case was mild and symptoms have resolved completely, CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said such cases can be concerning because animal and human forms of influenza can share genetic material and mutate, potentially creating a new and more potent virus.
NBC News (12/22) 
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Policy News
Group aims to ensure the world is ready for the next pandemic
Group aims to ensure the world is ready for the next pandemic.
(John Moore/Getty Images)
It's only a matter of time until the next pathogen emerges and causes a pandemic, experts say, and a group of stakeholders in public health, pharma and more have formed the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations to ensure the world is ready. The idea is to develop vaccines for pathogenic agents that have potential to spark a major public health emergency rather than reacting once pathogens strike.
CNBC (12/22) 
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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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