Dogs and people are prone to many of the same cancers, and clinical trials conducted in canine patients may ultimately benefit both, researchers say. Pet dogs are excellent cancer avatars not only because of their genetic similarity to people, but also because they live in the same environments we do, notes veterinarian and oncologist Douglas Thamm.
Nearly every approved drug is tested on animals at some point in development, and product labels that reflect this fact could raise the public's appreciation of animal research, writes postdoctoral fellow Shaun Khoo. Labels that note animal testing would enhance discussions about the ethical use of animals and would allow consumers to decide whether the benefits of a given treatment outweigh any perceived ethical cost, Khoo writes.
An experimental cytomegalovirus-based tuberculosis vaccine reduced or prevented infection in 70% of rhesus macaques exposed to a virulent strain of the virus a year after inoculation, researchers reported in Nature Medicine. About 40% of the macaques showed no sign of infection, and 30% developed a comparatively mild infection.
An experimental drug suppressed HIV to undetectable levels, protected immune cells and worked synergistically with existing HIV treatments in HIV-infected mice with transplanted human blood cells. The research is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
A study of opossums, rabbits, armadillos and hyraxes showed that placental mammals evolved to mute an inflammatory response to an egg implanting in the placenta, thus enabling extended gestation. Decidual cells, which form in the uterine lining early in pregnancy, persist through delivery in mice and humans but disappear quickly in many other placental mammals, suggesting that cells might moderate the inflammatory response and result in miscarriage if the process goes awry.
Many countries specify minimum space allowances and other requirements for laboratory mice, but the guidelines are often based on common practice instead of evidence, and a study published in Scientific Reports found that space allowance has little effect on lab mouse health. Other studies have found that shelter and nesting material more strongly affected mouse welfare than the provision of extra space, and future studies should investigate the effects of floor area and group size along with structural enrichment, writes researcher Jeremy Bailoo.
Eight bottlenose dolphins at Brookfield Zoo near Chicago have been outfitted with activity monitors that record speed and acceleration, distance traveled and location, among other data, and the study will be expanded. The Institute of Museum and Library Services issued a $740,000 grant to use the sensors to collect data on nearly 300 dolphins and 20 beluga whales at 44 institutions in seven countries to inform facility design, training programs and more.
An investigation published in The BMJ showed that researchers misrepresented the results of animal studies on a tuberculosis vaccine so that clinical trials could advance, but critics of animal research who are pointing to the episode as justification are wrong, says FBR President Matthew R. Bailey. "Animal research clearly has had a critical role in the 53 million lives saved from tuberculosis since 2000, in large part because of vaccines," Bailey said. "Animal research continues to yield extremely important safety and efficacy data, which is why regulatory bodies around the world require it."
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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.