Researchers at San Diego Zoo discovered that the way female Southern white rhinoceroses metabolize phytoestrogens reduces fertility, and a new study from the zoo found fertility increased when they reduced the amount of phytoestrogens fed to captive rhinos, according to a report in mBio. The finding could be crucial in efforts to prevent extinction of rhinos.
Veterinary oncologist Timothy Fan and radiation oncologist Kim Selting are studying a treatment for osteosarcoma that involves immunotherapy combined with radiation therapy. The treatment will be studied in cells, then mice, then dogs, and if it succeeds, dogs and children with osteosarcoma would benefit.
Scientists are studying zebrafish in search of compounds that would enable people to regrow limbs, spinal cords and heart tissue. Similarities between human and zebrafish cells have allowed researchers to study tissue regeneration as well as potential treatments for diseases, and researcher Eric Glasgow, director of Georgetown University's Zebrafish Shared Resource, says the fish are irreplaceable in medical science.
Bioengineers are developing surgical closures based on porcupine quills, which have tiny backward-facing barbs on one end to enter the skin cleanly and stay in place. Surgical staples tear tissue and make it vulnerable to infection, but biodegradable closures that work like porcupine quills could cause less damage and pain.
An experimental vaccine tested in mice shows promise in preventing cancer associated with Lynch syndrome, an inherited disease that significantly increases risk of colorectal, intestinal, stomach, endometrial, bladder and ovarian cancer. People with Lynch syndrome have genetic mutations that prevent the repair of DNA replication errors, and vaccinating mice with Lynch syndrome-associated neoantigens stimulated an immune response that reduced intestinal tumor growth and prolonged survival.
Three of four trained beagles detected lung cancer biomarkers by scent in blood samples with 96.7% accuracy, researchers reported at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology's annual meeting. Researcher Heather Junqueira said dogs could be used to screen people for cancer, or screening assays could be developed based on the biologic compounds the dogs detect.
Owner Mike Bridavsky and Lil Bub. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics who were studying osteopetrosis knew as soon as they saw celebrity cat Lil Bub's X-rays that they had a comparative genetics opportunity, and they hope the work will inspire valuable uses for sequencing of animal genomes. The crowdfunded study opened the door to precision veterinary medicine, and it identified two genetic variations that could be used to develop a treatment for people with osteopetrosis.
No human vaccine or cure exists for toxoplasmosis, which causes blindness, birth defects and death and affects over a billion people worldwide, yet the USDA bowed to activist pressure and shut down research on the Toxoplasma gondii parasite in cats, a host species essential to the T. gondii life cycle. The lab had already developed a blood test for use in parasite control strategies, and one scientist said the lab "actually minimized waste and the number of cats required" for research.
Medical students, interns, residents and fellows; doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows in biomedical research; graduate students in public health programs; and graduate students in other health profession programs are eligible to apply for the Lasker Foundation's 2019 Student Essay Contest. Applicants should write an essay of 800 words or less outlining an educational strategy that to increase interest in biomedical sciences among young men and women. Submissions are due by April 11. Learn more.
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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.