Altered Ebola virus induces immune response in monkeys | Treatment used in humans heals corneal damage in animals | Researcher working with macaque monkeys to develop universal flu vaccine
September 25, 2019
FBR Smartbrief
Top Stories
Altered Ebola virus induces immune response in monkeys
Researchers found that exposure to a slightly altered Ebola virus induced an immune response in monkeys that protected them from the parent virus, according to a study in the journal Cell Reports. The team inactivated a viral protein known as VP35, and they hope to adapt the approach to protect humans from Ebola, along with similar deadly pathogens like Marburg virus.
HealthDay News (9/18) 
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Treatment used in humans heals corneal damage in animals
Treatment used in humans heals corneal damage in animals
Corneal crosslinking was developed to treat humans with keratoconus, or a drooping cornea, and veterinary ophthalmologists at Tufts University's Cummings Veterinary Medical Center have started using the technique instead of surgery to treat scratched or damaged corneas in animals. The technique involves application of riboflavin drops followed by exposure to ultraviolet light, which causes collagen fibers to bind together in the cornea, which strengthens it, says veterinary ophthalmologist Stephanie Pumphrey.
Tufts University (9/23) 
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Research Breakthroughs
Researcher working with macaque monkeys to develop universal flu vaccine
Researcher working with macaque monkeys to develop universal flu vaccine
(Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Inspired by his son's near-death experience with influenza and armed with a $1.7 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, vaccine researcher Jonah Sacha is on a quest to develop a universal, long-lasting influenza vaccine at the Oregon National Primate Research Center and a biohazard lab in Canada. Sacha is building on an HIV vaccine candidate tested in monkeys at the primate center, but he says influenza is a more difficult target because the virus replicates and mutates so quickly.
The Oregonian (Portland) (9/21) 
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Study uses CRISPR to correct stem cell mutations long-term in DMD
Details from a new study show that use of the gene-editing tool CRISPR may help correct genetic mutations in muscle stem cells of patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy long-term based on experiments conducted on mice. Findings were reported in the journal Molecular Therapy.
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (9/18) 
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7-year-long animal study validates HIV drug implant
Researchers hope to improve quality of life for people with HIV by enabling medication to be delivered via implant, rather than through a strict regimen of medications that must be taken on schedule and under specific circumstances. Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have validated use of such a system in a seven-year study in mice, and they plan continued studies of the injectable, long-lasting implant in animals and eventually humans.
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (9/23) 
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Animal Health
Veterinarians study interventions for fat cats
Researchers at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine have been working with fat cats and their owners in an effort to determine how best to intervene and get cats back to a healthy weight. Cats should not be grazing all day, but the change can be bumpy -- one of the cats that took part ate a whole bag of gluten-free bread -- so offering vegetables may help, veterinarian Megan Shepherd said.
National Public Radio (9/21) 
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Biotech shows promise for saving animal lives
The falling costs associated with genetic testing and development of biotech therapies means those treatments are finally becoming accessible for pets, and early forays into the space have shown how successful the treatments for animals can be, said veterinarian Cheryl London of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. The team at Tufts is testing an immunotherapy that showing promise for treatment of canine cancer.
Reuters (9/19) 
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Other News
Policy News
EPA animal testing policy puts human health at risk
An Environmental Protection Agency policy that will dramatically reduce animal testing "demonstrates a failure to appreciate how complex mammalian biology is and the inherent weaknesses of the alternative approaches," according to research analyst Anita Desikan of the Union of Concerned Scientists. "To be clear, we should be aiming to reduce our reliance on animal testing and improve our testing methodologies. However, the EPA is taking a sledgehammer to the problem in a way that could severely compromise human health," she writes.
Union of Concerned Scientists blog (9/24)
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FBR News
FBR resource: Animal Research Perceptions vs. Reality
FBR resource: Animal Research Perceptions vs. Reality
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.
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