Medical progress for humans as well as animals — including millions of dogs and cats diagnosed with cancer each year — depends on animal research, despite activists’ misguided claims to the contrary. It is “nearly impossible to simulate how a treatment would work in an entire living organism,” writes FBR President Matthew R. Bailey. “The biochemistry of living organisms is incredibly complex, and biological systems interact in a seemingly infinite number of ways. The computing power needed to replicate those processes just doesn’t exist,” Bailey writes.
Getting plenty of sleep is important so the brain can repair DNA damage that occurred during the day, a study published in Nature Communications suggests. Researchers who monitored zebrafish with chromosomes that had been genetically engineered to be fluorescent say the fish’s DNA damage started going away during sleep periods.
Neuroscientists are using virtual reality simulations to study how the brains of mice and, more recently, monkeys respond to the outside world and form memories and perceptions, and the experiments have given researchers new ways to study complex mammalian brains.
The NIH issued a $3.9 million grant for a study at Wake Forest Baptist Health and Medical College of Georgia on deep brain stimulation to improve memory and slow cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers will study the treatment in monkeys, which experience cognitive decline and develop amyloid plaques in their brains like humans do.
MIT researchers found that an imaging technique called DOLPHIN was able to detect a 0.1 mm target up to 8 cm deep in the digestive tracts of mouse models, which is better than currently used cancer-detection approaches. The approach, described in Scientific Reports, may lead to earlier cancer detection, researchers said.
A vaccine for H7N9 avian influenza is being tested in people at seven research sites. A vaccine for birds led to a 93% decline in the number of poultry infections in China, but the virus is still active, and public health officials are concerned that it could mutate and cause a pandemic in humans.
Wireless capsule endoscopy can be used to check about the first 80 feet of horses’ gastrointestinal tract for lesions and injury, says veterinarian Renaud Leguillette, a professor of equine internal medicine in the University of Calgary’s Department of Veterinary Clinical and Diagnostic Science. The capsule moves through the GI tract and records video of the intestine while the horse is engaged in regular activities, then the camera is collected from manure, Leguillette says.
President Donald Trump’s $4.7 trillion budget request for fiscal 2020 calls for cutting the NIH’s budget by about $5 billion and the National Science Foundation’s by about $1 billion while raising spending in other departments, including defense. The National Cancer Institute’s budget would be cut by $900 million despite a new pediatric cancer initiative, and the NIH would absorb the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Medical students, interns, residents and fellows; doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows in biomedical research; graduate students in public health programs; and graduate students in other health profession programs are eligible to apply for the Lasker Foundation’s 2019 Student Essay Contest. Applicants should write an essay of 800 words or less outlining an educational strategy that to increase interest in biomedical sciences among young men and women. Submissions are due by April 11. Learn more.
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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.