Research conducted in rhesus macaques could help scientists as they work to develop an effective HIV vaccine for people. Researchers revaccinated six rhesus macaques that had developed low levels of protective antibodies after being vaccinated in a previous study as well as six monkeys that had developed high antibody levels, then exposed all the monkeys to simian HIV. The high-titer monkeys did not develop SHIV, and researchers say the study will help determine the level of antibodies that an HIV vaccine must induce to protect humans.
A vaccine that scientists say could help fight the opioid crisis has shown promise in mice, according to Virginia Commonwealth University researchers. A tetanus vaccine was attached to opioid molecules to spark an immune response to the drugs, and the resulting antibodies blocked drug molecules from crossing the blood-brain barrier.
A new compound tested in mice and pigs shrank sarcoma tumors and seemed to reduce the ability of cancer to spread, and researchers hope the work will ultimately help humans whose cancers typically carry a poor prognosis. The similar findings in separate species are encouraging, and scientists plan to continue their work in a clinical trial involving dogs, which develop sarcomas spontaneously the way humans do.
A study involving mice supports the hypothesis that certain medical or surgical procedures could transmit proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease from person to person, and researchers are continuing studies in mice to further explore the idea. Amyloid proteins associated with the disease resist standard methods used to decontaminate surgical instruments. “The risk may turn out to be minor — but it needs to be investigated urgently,” says neurologist John Collinge, who led the study.
Scientists have isolated a peptide from the venom of Polybia paulista wasps that is 12 amino acids long and kills bacteria by interfering with their cell membranes. The scientists reported in Communications Biology that altering the peptide’s structure yielded a compound capable of eliminating Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections in mice, and senior author Cesar de la Fuente-Nunez says the approach can be used on other antimicrobial peptides.
Scientists say Antarctica’s seabirds are not safe from introduced pathogens, including some that likely came from humans, after finding evidence of pathogens including salmonella and antibiotic-resistant campylobacter in penguins, southern giant petrels, brown skuas and kelp gulls. “This means that sooner or later human activity will introduce pathogens to Antarctic fauna that could cause mass deaths and even local extinctions,” said researcher Jacob Gonzalez-Solis.
Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., has introduced legislation that “would seek to prevent unnecessary and unethical animal testing practices on primates.” The legislation would restrict primate research and require approval by a new committee of experts. It would also require the National Academy of Sciences to review “preexisting fields of research and determine whether nonhuman primate research has led to meaningful clinical interventions.” The legislation would restrict funding awards and prohibit research for consumer goods and products. Read more from Booker’s website.
A two-day National Academy of Sciences Sackler Colloquium will shine a spotlight on research involving non-human primates that has advanced understanding and treatment of human brain disorders. The event is scheduled for Jan. 7-8 in Irvine, Calif., for all participants. Learn more.
The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA is accepting nominations for a prize recognizing excellence in biological and biomedical sciences research. Named in recognition of donors, the Switzer Prize highlights basic science research essential to advancements in patient care. The nomination deadline is Feb. 28, 2019. The winner receives a $25,000 honorarium and delivers an annual lecture in Fall 2019. Read 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.