Trial tests dogs' ability to detect cancer
Medical Detection Dogs in the UK is testing dogs' ability to detect markers of cancer in human urine samples. The study exposes dogs to one sample from a cancer patient and samples from seven controls, including one from a matched-age patient who had signs of cancer but no malignancy. Dr. Sheryl Gabram of Emory University said translating dogs' ability to detect cancer to clinical use is difficult, but she sees the area of research as "promising." CNN
Scientists engineer mosquitoes that are resistant to malaria
A mosquito genetically modified to resist the parasite that causes malaria has been developed by scientists in the US, according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers used CRISPR to edit the mosquito's DNA to become malaria-resistant, then determined that the resistance was present in subsequent generations. Researchers hope that one day they can put the genetically altered mosquito into the world and stop the insects from spreading malaria to the human population. BBC
Lab-engineered larynx looks and sounds like the real thing
Functional vocal cord tissue has been successfully grown by University of Wisconsin researchers, according to a report in Science Translational Medicine. The team grew vocal cord tissue using a growth scaffold and tissue from four patients and one cadaver. Using larynges from canine cadavers, the team confirmed the engineered vocal cords could make sound and vibrated like the real thing when air was passed through them. Studies in mice showed the tissue is unlikely to be rejected by the human immune system, and the work lays the foundation for treatment of human vocal disorders. Gizmag
Bone protein stimulates cells to produce insulin
Diabetes Research Institute scientists discovered that the bone protein BMP-7 stimulates insulin production and secretion in pancreatic cells that don't normally perform that function. When the cells treated with the bone protein were transplanted into diabetic mice, the new cells acted like pancreatic beta cells. The team is working to determine whether directly injecting BMP-7 into the pancreas will have the same effect. New Scientist
Blue light-gene therapy combo could make pacemakers obsolete
Cardiologist and physiologist Lior Gepstein of Technion – Israel Institute of Technology used light and algae DNA to make a rat's heart beat. Optogenetics, already in use in neurology, controls cells using light, and Gepstein's application could make existing pacemakers obsolete. Gepstein's team added algal DNA to a rat's heart muscles so the cells produced a light-responsive protein. When stimulated by a light pulse, the cells caused a heart contraction that followed the normal electrical pathway, causing the entire muscle to contract. The Daily Beast
Scientists slowly turn attention to zoonotic Chagas disease
A canine illness in a military dog and subsequent work by public health veterinarian Thomas Cropper helped put Chagas disease on the public's radar and made it a reportable infectious disease in Texas, but to the people of Latin America, it's nothing new. Chasing down leads in a 2008 case, Dr. Cropper and colleagues found 8% of Lackland Air Force Base working dogs carried antibodies to Trypanosoma cruzi, and close to 30% of the kissing bug vectors they tested had fed on and potentially infected humans. The disease was discovered in 1909, and although it can cause serious and fatal heart trouble, it has not been a research priority. The New Yorker (tiered subscription model)
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.
Please contact one of our specialists for advertising opportunities,
editorial inquiries, job placements, or any other questions.