A failed amendment to an appropriations bill that would have accelerated the transfer of chimpanzees from NIH facilities to sanctuaries by 2021 “was written so that it would not allow input by veterinarians at research facilities,” said National Association for Biomedical Research President Matthew R. Bailey. “Experts need ample time to examine, confer, and determine the transfer of these animals to ensure animal welfare,” Bailey said.
Dogs with glioblastoma whose owners enrolled them in a clinical trial at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech are being given a drug that is injected into the tumor and can be seen on MRIs. The NIH is helping fund the trial, which, if successful, could result in an effective treatment for the disease that claimed the life of Sen. John McCain.
Fenbendazole, a broad-spectrum anti-parasitic drug used in animals such as horses, reduced the size of cancerous tumors and encouraged apoptosis of malignant cells in mouse models, and had a similar effect on human non-small cell lung cancer cells, researchers reported in Scientific Reports. The drug appears to target microtubules, and it inhibited glucose uptake in two types of human cancer cells.
Three macaque monkey embryos lacking the gene SIRT6 died shortly after birth and another died during gestation, and the embryos had lower bone density, less subcutaneous fat and smaller brains than normal embryos, highlighting the gene’s role in primate embryo development, researchers reported in Nature. The SIRT6 protein has been associated with longevity and premature aging in mice, but its role in embryonic development had not been evident in mouse studies.
A newly identified micro-organ in murine and human immune systems could teach researchers more about how the body remembers past infections and might help them improve vaccine technology. Subcapsular proliferative foci appear on mouse lymph nodes only when the immune system is exposed to a previously encountered pathogen, and the tiny structures may be involved in activating memory B cells, said researcher Imogen Moran.
A structure scientists are calling the “rosehip neuron” has been found in human brains but not in mouse brains, researchers reported in Nature Neuroscience. The bushy, branched neuron was discovered by researchers at the Allen Institute for Brain Science and the University of Szeged, who found that the neurons compose about 10% of the initial layer of the neocortex, which is involved in vision and hearing, and connect to pyramidal cells, which account for about two-thirds of all neurons in the cortex.
Researchers used genetic and geographic mapping techniques to determine that mosquitoes spread yellow fever from monkeys to people — not from person to person — in Brazil’s most recent outbreak. The study, published in Science, also shows the virus spread faster than the infected monkeys traveled, suggesting that people illegally trafficking monkeys or driving vehicles from jungle areas inadvertently accelerated transmission.
Veterinarian Jamie Peyton, chief of integrated medical service at the University of California at Davis was the first to try bandages made from sterilized tilapia skins on animals when she used them to heal bears with burned paws. Shriner’s Hospital for Children surgeon Philip Chang, who has used a cod derivative on burn patients, says fish skin is as effective as pig skin but is less expensive and could be valuable in a mass casualty event.
As non-human primate research continues to decline in Europe, more scientists are likely to go to China, lured by state-of-the art labs, competitive salaries, ample funding, fast approval decisions and institutional appointments, says Stefan Treue, director of the Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at the German Primate Center. “A reduction in the use of non-human primates, or whatever species, purely based on numbers and not on scientific rationale, is not going to diminish the use of these animals worldwide,” says Jan Langermans, chair of the Biomedical Primate Research Center in the Netherlands.
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