Veterinary cardiologist Brian Scansen has been collaborating for more than a decade with cardiologists who work with people to accelerate development of devices and techniques to treat heart disease, which occurs in dogs and humans. “The development of new human devices is advanced, the dogs potentially benefit by having a procedure they otherwise would not be able to have to treat their disease, and there’s learning on both sides,” Dr. Scansen said.
An FDA study scheduled to begin this year will develop a physical model to simulate dissolution in the canine intestinal tract of three formulations of ivermectin and praziquantel, and will test the formulations in 27 dogs to validate the model. If the study succeeds, veterinary drug developers could use the resulting data in the design of in vitro studies, thus reducing the need to perform bioequivalence studies in live animals, says FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine spokeswoman Siobhan DeLancey, but she noted certain aspects of drug development will still require live animal studies.
Stabilizing MLL proteins slows progression of pediatric leukemia, according to researcher Ali Shilatifard, who has been studying MLL proteins with his colleagues for more than 20 years. Working primarily with mice, the researchers have also identified genetic mutations associated with leukemia, and researcher Zibo Zhao says they are close to developing drug candidates not only for leukemia but for other cancers as well.
Genetic techniques are enabling scientists to perform experiments in live animals that previously could be done only in cell culture, and they are discovering information about interconnected molecular, cellular, physiological and behavioral processes, writes Juan Carlos Marvizon, an adjunct professor at the University of California at Los Angeles. He explains some exciting innovations and next steps for bringing them from mice and monkeys to humans, concluding that, “Any country that curtails animal research with onerous and unnecessary regulations risks being left behind in the race to develop these exciting new technologies.”
Many molecular features of Alzheimer’s disease can be replicated in a genetically diverse mouse model, suggesting that mouse models are appropriate for both basic and translational research on Alzheimer’s disease, says National Institute on Aging Director Richard Hodes. In addition, the C57BL/6J line of mouse Alzheimer’s models has characteristics that reduce the impact of genetic risk factors, and future research on this model could yield insights into prevention of AD.
A wireless implant tested in a non-human primate is capable of recording, stimulating and modifying brain activity in real time, and it could be used to stop seizures or disruptive movement in people with epilepsy or Parkinson’s disease, researchers reported in Nature.
A study published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases found that more than 60% of emerging infectious diseases that affect people originated in animals, and more than 70% of those diseases originated in wild animals. Non-human primates were found to be a common conduit, with disease risk in humans correlated to proximity of villages to NHP habitat.
Ticks, venomous snakes and marine life are sources of lower motor neuron disease in dogs and cats in Australia, according to a study published in the Journal of Veterinary Medicine. Daily tick checks and the use of rapid-kill acaricides protect against LMND related to tick bites, snake venom detection kits enable the selection of an effective antivenin after a snake bite, but no antitoxin is available to counter the effects of tetrodotoxin from marine life.
Veterinarians harnessed the power of 3D printing in 2018 to make prosthetic limbs and braces for dogs and birds, carapaces for tortoises, a temporary casque for a hornbill and models for surgical planning. 3D-printed robotic fish protect zebrafish from predators and are being used instead of real fish for experimentation, and 3D-printed robotic flowers attract bees to pesticide-free sites.
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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.