An estimated 30% of adults who survived childhood cancer are infertile, but a study in monkeys found that pediatric testicular tissue can be coaxed to produce mature sperm, suggesting a way to restore fertility to men who had cancer as children. In the study, published in Science, researchers took a sample of immature testicular tissue from monkeys and produced sperm that led to the birth of a baby monkey, and study leader Kyle Orwig hopes to begin a human clinical trial.
The biomedical research community is receptive to novel approaches to research that do not involve animals, but there is currently no way to do meaningful biomedical research without using animals or animal products, writes a doctoral student at Queen’s University who works with laboratory rodents. “I help improve the lives of people who are suffering from various nervous system disorders,” the student writes. “I wouldn’t put in the hours I do if I didn’t believe the rodent model I use for research wasn’t effective — if there was an accurate, animal friendly model available, I’d jump at the chance to use it.”
Research published in Nature Medicine found that new neurons are generated in the hippocampus throughout an adult’s life, though the neurogenesis rate slows somewhat with age and declines significantly in people with Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers working with rodent models of Alzheimer’s have found that exercise and certain drugs to promote neuron growth can reduce cognitive decline, and focusing on stimulating the process could lead to an effective therapy.
A male contraceptive drug caused no serious side effects in a 28-day human clinical trial, and researchers are conducting long-term safety trials in rats and monkeys. The drug, which combines progestin and a modified testosterone, aims to suppress sperm count without causing health problems associated with low testosterone, including depression and high blood pressure, says researcher Christina Wang.
The early growth response gene is responsible for the three-banded panther worm’s ability to regenerate after being cut into two or three pieces, according to a study published in Science. Researchers sequenced the worms’ genome and monitored gene activity during regeneration, and lead researcher Mansi Srivastava says the findings could lead to regenerative treatments for people.
Exposure to fine particulate air pollution causes mice to produce less sperm, and the sperm that is produced is of poorer quality, according to a study presented at an Endocrine Society annual meeting. The mice were exposed to PM2.5, which comes primarily from cars that run on gasoline or diesel.
Last year’s inaugural Paws for a Cure Research Symposium brought together pediatric oncologists, veterinary oncologists, researchers and cancer survivors to collaborate on advancing treatments for cancers that affect both dogs and children. Many more dogs than children are diagnosed with cancer each year, it is much easier to recruit an adequate number of dogs for clinical trials, and studying treatments in dogs helps them as well as children.
Scientists at Oxford University are using in vitro fertilization in a last-ditch effort to prevent the extinction of the Northern white rhinoceros. Using a technique that has worked in mice, dogs, cats and horses, the scientists will remove ovarian tissue from the two remaining female Northern white rhinos, stimulate it to produce eggs, fertilize the eggs with sperm preserved from a male Northern white rhino, and implant the fertilized eggs in a surrogate rhino.
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.
For 35 years, FBR has advanced biomedical research for the sake of both human and animal health. We can’t do our job without your support. Please give what you can. Together we will continue to make a difference.
The best book, like the best speech, will do it all — make us laugh, think, cry and cheer — preferably in that order.
first female US secretary of state March is Women’s History Month
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.