22 comparative oncology trials target cancer in dogs and humans | Zika vaccine candidate protects animals for months in study | Gene therapy restores hearing in deaf mice
February 8, 2017
FBR Smartbrief
Top Story
22 comparative oncology trials target cancer in dogs and humans
22 comparative oncology trials target cancer in dogs and humans.
(Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images)
Rates of cancer diagnoses are rising in dogs and humans, and the parallel trends are facilitating research that may help both species, writes veterinarian Nicole Ehrhart. Scientists learn a lot from pet dogs, whose life spans and heterogenous populations mean insights are often more applicable to humans than those discovered in laboratory animals, and researchers are running 22 Phase I and Phase II comparative oncology trials across the US.
The Conversation (U.S.) (2/2) 
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Research Breakthroughs
Zika vaccine candidate protects animals for months in study
A Zika vaccine candidate developed by researchers with the University of Pennsylvania was found to be effective in protecting mice and monkeys from the virus months after vaccination, according to a study in the journal Nature. Clinical trials could begin in the next 12 to 18 months.
HealthDay News (2/2) 
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Gene therapy restores hearing in deaf mice
Gene therapy restores hearing in deaf mice.
(Fred Tanneau/AFP/Getty Images)
A synthetic adeno-associated virus delivered a gene therapy that restored hearing in mice with Usher syndrome, scientists reported in Nature Biotechnology. Hearing in the profoundly deaf mice was restored to 25 decibels, about equivalent to the level of a whisper.
BBC (2/7) 
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Male contraceptive gel blocks sperm flow in monkeys
An injected nonhormonal gel blocked sperm flow in male rhesus macaque monkeys, researchers reported in Basic and Clinical Andrology, and the compound will be tested in men as an alternative to surgical vasectomy. The researchers hope to develop a version of the gel that can be flushed easily from the vas deferens so that the contraceptive effects can be reversed.
Time.com (2/7),  HealthDay News (2/7) 
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Residue from smoking may affect infant weight gain, adult immunity
Exposure to tobacco smoke residue left on furniture, clothing, walls and other surfaces resulted in lower weight in newborn lab mice as well as changes in blood cell counts in newborn and adult mice. The study, published in Scientific Reports, showed that newborns' weight rebounded after exposure to thirdhand smoke stopped.
United Press International (2/3) 
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Animal Health
Napping dogs shed light on memory, learning
The adage "let sleeping dogs lie" might be particularly useful for training, according to research that finds sleep enhances learning and learning deepens sleep in dogs. The study used electroencephalography on dogs that were taught a command right before dozing, and a second phase looked at learning longer term, finding better performance among dogs that slept, walked or played after learning.
ScientificAmerican.com (2/7) 
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Policy News
Lifesaving medical research depends on animals
Medical research involving animals has led to myriad advances and breakthroughs that save lives, reduce suffering and improve health, and though computer simulations and artificial cell cultures allow for fewer animals to be used, existing technology cannot replace animals in research, write 28 professors, researchers and program leaders at the University of Montana. Strict laws, regulations and policies ensure the welfare of research animals, and researchers use analgesics and anesthesia to minimize discomfort, the scientists note.
Missoulian (Missoula, Mont.) (2/7) 
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USDA temporarily removes animal inspection reports from website
The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service removed all inspection reports and enforcement records from its website, citing a "commitment to being transparent, remaining responsive to our stakeholders' informational needs, and maintaining the privacy rights of individuals," but a spokeswoman said the decision is not final. The changes may be related to a lawsuit filed by horse industry stakeholders challenging the legality of publishing enforcement actions, according to a statement from the National Association for Biomedical Research, which notes Freedom of Information Act requests can still be used to access inspection and annual reports.
ScientificAmerican.com/Nature (2/6),  U.S. News & World Report/The Associated Press (2/7) 
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