A vaccine campaign is underway in the Democratic Republic of Congo amid an Ebola virus outbreak, and five Ebola treatments have been delivered to the area, including one that has worked in people and in nonhuman primates. The experimental treatments will be administered under controlled conditions, and patients will be closely monitored.
Boosting vasopressin levels in unsocial rhesus macaques improved social function, according to research published in Scientific Reports, and a study reported in Science Translational Medicine found most monkeys studied were correctly classified as highly social or unsocial based only on vasopressin levels in cerebrospinal fluid. The findings support the hypothesis that vasopressin plays a role in autism spectrum disorder, and enrollment is underway in a clinical trial to study whether vasopressin can ease ASD symptoms.
Doctors in Germany treated twins in utero who had the gene for X-linked hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia, which leaves children unable to perspire or grow teeth normally, using a protein-replacement therapy validated in mice and dogs with a version of the disorder. The twins received the first treatment at 26 weeks' gestation and a second at 31 weeks, and the now 2-year-old boys perspire nearly normally, generate saliva normally and have more tooth precursors than their older brother, who has the genetic mutation but was not treated in utero.
SHP2 inhibitors alone and in combination with other drugs may be effective against pancreatic and lung cancers in patients with KRAS mutations. Researchers reported in Nature Medicine that the new class of drug was effective in mice and in samples taken from human cancers, and the drugs are being tested in patients with aggressive cancers.
Researchers grafted human cells onto chicken embryos and observed how so-called organizer cells direct embryo formation. The technique, described in Nature, could reduce the use of human embryos in research.
Louise Richardson's research on satellite cells and their role in skeletal muscle plasticity could eventually help people with debilitating muscle-wasting disorders such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Richardson works with a mouse model that has a mutation in the gene that encodes the dystrophin protein. The mouse provides invaluable information to scientists yet does not develop the full range of symptoms associated with DMD, which is beneficial for the welfare of the animals, Richardson writes.
Elon Musk's Neuralink is funding primate research at the University of California at Davis' California National Primate Research Center. A contract between the brain-computer interface startup and the university shows that Neuralink will put up nearly $800,000 for the research, but the exact focus of the work wasn't disclosed.
Specialists at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine used a catheter to insert a stent into the hearts of five dogs that have an extra cardiac chamber, bridging the chambers and increasing blood flow. Pediatric cardiologists and interventional radiologists at the university's medical school are studying the procedure to see if it could be used in people with the same type of heart defect.
Fecal microbial transplantation along with standard supportive therapy was more effective than standard care alone in a study of young parvovirus-infected dogs with acute hemorrhagic diarrhea syndrome, researchers reported in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. The mortality rate was lower, diarrhea resolved sooner and average hospitalization time was shorter in the FMT group, researchers reported.
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