Few monkeys are used in biomedical research, but their impact is huge | Commentary: Animals are vital to progress in organ transplant research | Researchers get T. gondii to reproduce in lab, no cats needed
Less than 1% of the animals employed in biomedical research are monkeys or other nonhuman primates, and researchers do not work with primates unless there is no alternative, but nonhuman primates have had an enormous impact on important medical breakthroughs, writes FBR President Matthew R. Bailey. Treatments for brain cancer, epilepsy and Parkinson's disease have been developed with the help of NHPs, and research on HIV, heart disease and hypertension will be impeded if Congress further restricts research on monkeys, Bailey writes.
Scientists are getting closer to the ability to grow human organs in pigs and other animals for transplantation into people, and misguided efforts to ban medical studies in animals "would effectively tell the hundreds of thousands of people awaiting organ transplants that they haven't suffered long enough," writes FBR President Matthew R. Bailey. "Cell cultures and computer models aren't sophisticated enough to replicate how a transplanted organ will interact with human and animal immune systems," Bailey writes.
Researchers have determined why Toxoplasma gondii parasites reproduce only in cats and were able to replicate the parasite's life cycle in mice, potentially reducing the need for research involving live cats. The researchers raised T. gondii on lab-grown feline intestinal tissue and discovered that linoleic acid -- found in high concentrations in cats' blood -- spurs reproduction, and the researchers are developing a genetically modified mouse that can host T. gondii.
Each year for the past three decades, researchers have gathered at a beach near Cape May, N.J., to collect feces and throat and cloacal swabs from migratory shorebirds to determine what strains of influenza are circulating in an effort to prevent a pandemic. Tracking avian influenza may yield discoveries of new strains for which scientists can develop a vaccine or treatment before the virus spreads widely among people.
The sleep cycle of zebrafish is similar to that of humans, with periods of slow burst and propagating wave sleep as well as some similarities to what's seen in humans during rapid eye movement, and the fish's brain and muscle signatures and sleep-regulating hormones are also similar to those found in mammals, researchers reported in Nature. The findings suggest that zebrafish might be good models for human sleep disorders and for testing sleep drugs.
A Swedish briard dog born with Leber's congenital amaurosis that was one of six dogs successfully treated with an experimental gene therapy has died at 12 years old. The genetic condition is a common cause of blindness in children, and the gene therapy was tested in people -- and eventually approved -- after its safety and efficacy was demonstrated in dogs, including Venus, who went on to be adopted by a couple who worked on the research team.
Fly populations were denser in communities of wild sooty mangabey monkeys than in other areas of the Tai National Park rainforest where there were no monkeys, and groups of flies followed groups of monkeys over more than a kilometer, researchers reported in Molecular Ecology. A significant percentage of flies carried sylvatic anthrax, which kills wildlife in rainforests, and some also carried the bacterium that causes the skin disease yaws, which affects people and animals.
Veterinarians at Metzger Animal Hospital in State College, Pa., give physical exams and test the blood of area K-9 officers, and they are sharing the data with researchers studying Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases. The study might lead to protocols for which dogs need treatment and which can be monitored, veterinarian Fred Metzger said.
The NIH has awarded a $129 million, seven-year grant for clinical testing of a multi-stage HIV vaccine that has protected animals against various HIV strains. The consortium is led by scientists at Scripps Research Institute, and the vaccines are designed to induce the production of broadly neutralizing antibodies.
Animal rights groups mislead the public about animal research, but FBR is fighting back with facts. In this resource, highly respected neuro-oncologist and FBR Board Vice-Chair Dr. Henry S. Friedman refutes myths surrounding animal research with scientific evidence and sets the record straight on the reality and benefits of animal research. Check it out.
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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.