Commentary: Govt must address air transport of animals for research | NIH prioritizes retired chimps' health over costs | Drug combo that shrank pancreatic tumors in mice to be tested in people
November 20, 2019
FBR SmartBrief
Top Story
Most of the major commercial airlines in the US, along with many international passenger airlines and most major airfreight carriers no longer transport animals for use in medical research, even though they continue to transport animals for nonresearch purposes. Use of animals in medical research is necessary to develop safe and effective treatments, and "if the government requires this research, it ought to enforce laws that prohibit discrimination against shipment of lawful cargo," writes Richard Born, former NABR Board Vice Chair and a Professor of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (11/17) 
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Research Breakthroughs
Three NIH veterinarians acting independently concluded that 44 chimpanzees at the Alamogordo Primate Facility have health conditions that could cause death or irrevocable harm were the chimps to be transported from APF to a sanctuary elsewhere, writes James Anderson, the NIH's deputy director for program coordination, planning and strategic initiatives. Though it is less expensive for the federal government to move the chimps to another sanctuary, "NIH prioritizes the welfare of these chimpanzees over cost," Anderson writes.
Full Story: Albuquerque Journal (N.M.) (free content) (11/17) 
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Researchers are designing a clinical trial of a drug combination that shrank pancreatic tumors in mice. The treatment includes L-asparaginase, which deprives tumors of the amino acid asparagine and is approved to treat some forms of leukemia, and another drug that prevented pancreatic cancer cells from making asparagine themselves.
Full Story: The San Diego Union-Tribune (tiered subscription model) (11/18) 
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Memory improved and seizures eased in mice with hippocampus injuries that received embryonic progenitor cell transplants, researchers reported in Nature Communications. The transplanted neurons migrated to the hippocampus and formed new connections with the injured cells, suggesting a promising path forward for treating traumatic brain injuries.
Full Story: HealthDay News (11/19) 
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Researchers at Washington State University discovered that as grizzly bears hibernate, fatty tissue undergoes the most change and muscle tissue changes very little, according to findings published in Communications Biology. However, hibernation is not simply a state of resting or not resting, but rather a transitional process with different species undergoing different changes in gene expression throughout the year, researchers say. These findings have potential applications for treatment of hemorrhagic shock and for preserving organs for transplant.
Full Story: The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (11/15) 
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Studies in rodents have correlated stroke with changes in the gut microbiome and have shown that animals with a healthy microbiome recover more readily from a stroke than those with gut dysbiosis. Transplanting gut bacteria that produce short-chain fatty acids improved post-stroke outcomes in mice, scientists reported at the recent Society for Neuroscience meeting, and another rodent study presented at the same meeting demonstrated that short-chain fatty acids and indoles modified the activity of immune cells after a stroke.
Full Story: Scientific American online (11/19) 
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Other News
Animal Health
Entire populations of endangered gorillas could be largely wiped out if the current outbreak of Ebola virus in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo reaches great apes' habitat, and veterinarians are monitoring gorillas in Virunga and Kahuzi-Biega national parks for signs of illness. A majority of mountain gorillas in the wild are habituated to humans, and while that puts the nonhuman primates at risk, it could also make a vaccination effort successful, say primate disease expert Fabian Leendertz and primate ecologist Peter Walsh.
Full Story: National Geographic (tiered subscription model) (11/15) 
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Researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine and the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences are enrolling 10,000 pet dogs in the decade-long Dog Aging Project, a study to determine what factors contribute to a long, healthy life. "As a veterinarian, it is important to me that our work benefits dogs directly," said co-director and veterinarian Kate Creevy. "But our work with dogs has the added value of shedding light on the human aging experience as well."
Full Story: HealthDay News (11/14),  CNN (11/14) 
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Other News
Research News
Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation President Claire Pomeroy congratulated the NIH's latest Lasker Clinical Research Scholars, who will conduct independent translational and clinical research at the NIH for the next five to seven years. The new scholars "join an impressive group of young clinician-scientists whose cutting-edge research holds great potential for benefiting patients," said Pomeroy, who also chairs the FBR board of directors.
Full Story: Healio (free registration)/HemOnc today (11/16) 
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FBR News
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. The brochure is also available in Spanish. Check out Investigación Animal Percepciones vs. Realidad.
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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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