Researchers in laboratories at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Temple University have achieved a breakthrough in the search for an HIV cure, eradicating the virus from the genomes of living mice. Pairing a new type of virus-suppressing treatment with CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing allowed the team to eliminate the virus from one-third of treated mice, and the work has given them “a clear path to move ahead to trials in nonhuman primates and possibly clinical trials in human patients within the year,” Temple researcher Kamel Khalili said.
Vision cells in the brains of macaques respond to both shape and color, a study published in Science suggests, countering previous models of visual processing in the brain. Researchers monitored vision cells in the monkeys’ brains by tweaking genes to make active nerve cells glow, and then they observed the activity while the monkeys looked at various images.
Researchers discovered they can keep cytokines inside cancer cells by attaching them using proteins that act like Velcro, according to a study in Science Translational Medicine, and the findings substantially improved survival in mice. Cytokines have the potential to destroy cancer if injected into tumors, but they do not differentiate between healthy cells and cancerous ones, posing a hazard if they leak out of tumors into the bloodstream.
Yale University neurobiologist Nenad Sestan’s team has been quietly working for years on efforts to restore activity — but not consciousness — to post-mortem pig brains, work that could create a completely new medium for understanding the brain that might unlock the underpinnings of diseases like schizophrenia and autism. Built on a foundation of decades of animal research, they first worked with slices of brains, and eventually landed on a whole-brain approach that leverages perfusion. Ultimately, they restored full metabolic function to most of the organ, meaning the cells converted oxygen and glucose to metabolites in a process that is essential to life.
Manipulating temperature-sensitive “hunger neurons” in the brain could help people feel less hungry and aid in weight loss, Princeton University researchers report in the journal Cell after discovering the phenomenon in mice. The neurons modulate energy expenditure and food intake to regulate energy balance, and the findings could lead to advances in obesity management, researchers said.
The FDA collected 515 reports of dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs and nine in cats between January 2014 and April 2019, and because some reports involved multiple pets in a single home, the agency said the total number of animals affected is probably higher. Although genetic predisposition seems to play a role in some cases of DCM, the FDA has been exploring a possible link with diet.
Kangaroo Island could be home to Australia’s last chlamydia-free koalas, and the population might offer a lifeline for others that are suffering amid the blindness, infertility and death that can result from the bacterial disease. Researchers who tested 170 koalas from Kangaroo Island and 75 from the South Australia mainland found no sign of disease in the island animals, compared with 47% from the mainland group.
Octopus arms appear to be able to make decisions without any input from the brain, partially because they have around 350 million of the cephalopods’ 500 million neurons, according to findings presented at the 2019 Astrobiology Science Conference. “The octopus’ arms have a neural ring that bypasses the brain, and so the arms can send information to each other without the brain being aware of it,” says researcher Dominic Sivitilli.
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.
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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.