A $6.4 million grant from the Open Philanthropy Project will support a clinical trial at Colorado State University's Flint Animal Cancer Center of a vaccine to prevent any type of cancer in dogs. The trial will involve some 800 middle-aged, healthy pet dogs testing the effects of a multivalent frameshift peptide developed at Arizona State University that has shown promise in mouse studies, and scientists think the vaccine has potential for human use, too.
The FDA appears to be ending a study of nicotine addiction before its completion and before reviewing and reporting on the safety of the monkeys involved in the study and the integrity of the animal research process, as the agency had promised to do. The American Psychological Association asked the FDA for an update and noted that the agency "is preparing to transfer the study animals to new locations, some of which may not ensure adequate protections."
Researchers report in Nature that they sequenced the genome of the sooty mangabey and compared it with genomes from other nonhuman primates and humans to explore factors that influence susceptibility to AIDS. Simian immunodeficiency virus in sooty mangabeys is nonpathogenic, and variants at two loci may explain why SIV does not progress to AIDS in mangabeys. The findings might lead to better treatments or a vaccine.
An early-stage clinical trial discussed in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases found that human antibodies generated in genetically engineered cows were safe, and scientists say they show promise for treatment of Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome. The approach could dramatically reduce the time needed to create antibody treatments, as the process using human donors is slow and often small-scale, said John Beigel, who co-authored the study.
Scientists transplanted previously freeze-dried, rehydrated heart valves in live sheep, and it's possible the method could be used for the esophagus, bladder, liver and other simple organs. The method, described in Acta Biomaterialia, involved stripping cells from a piece of heart valve, soaking it in a sugary solution to preserve it and freeze-drying, then rehydrating the valve about 24 hours before it is needed.
A novel capsule that contains a drug-laden scaffold effectively delivered three antiretroviral drugs in pigs, and a weekly oral HIV treatment could be on the horizon if human clinical trials are successful, researchers reported in Nature Communications. As the capsule dissolves, an asterisk-shaped scaffold unfolds and slowly releases drugs before breaking down and passing through the body, and the researchers say the device could be used to treat other chronic conditions.
Researchers at the University of Guelph's Ontario Veterinary College are studying whether fecal transplants can improve the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease in dogs. Other projects underway include a study exploring the effect of stem cell therapy on surgical outcomes in dogs that with spinal cord injuries, a study using Newcastle disease virus to treat feline and canine cancers, research on whether oral sedatives can calm anxious cats during travel and veterinary exams, and a study of tarantula blood cells.
The American Association for Laboratory Animal Science is accepting grant applications until Feb. 1 for research designed to enhance scientific knowledge in laboratory animal health and welfare. The AALAS awards small grants of up to $7,500 and standard grants of up to $50,000.
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