Research involving non-human primates has improved scientists’ understanding of how the human brain functions, leading to treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, and research on NHPs remains essential if cures or treatments for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and similar diseases are to be found, according to an article in Current Biology. “The non-human primate is the only model that allows carefully controlled, invasive studies of these systems that reveal the basic mechanisms affected by disease,” co-author Roger Lemon said.
Researchers recently found that measures used to predict human breast cancer prognosis are applicable to dogs and in a different study found that chemical analyses used in human diagnoses also work for canine cancer cells. Taken together, the studies suggest that results from clinical trials of cancer diagnostic techniques and treatment on dogs, which usually progress faster than human clinical trials, will be applicable to people, too.
CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing boosted dystrophin levels in four beagles with the life-threatening muscle-wasting disease Duchenne muscular dystrophy, with levels of the protein approaching normal in some muscles. The approach was validated in human cells and in mice before being tried in dogs, and the researchers did not observe any unintended genetic changes or adverse effects.
Stimulating production of a metabolism-linked protein reduced body fat and improved glucose control in obese mice with no adverse side effects, findings that could lay the groundwork for treatments to reverse obesity-related illnesses such as type 2 diabetes. The study, published in Scientific Reports, initially set out to determine the role the protein plays in cancer and revealed it binds to two molecules that regulate the body’s use and storage of sugars and fats.
Fungal infections can be fatal in people whose immune system is compromised, but a fungal vaccine based on live pathogens would be dangerous for such patients while a vaccine based on inactivated pathogens would be weak. Researchers studying mice found that targeting a protein known as CBLB along with an inactivated vaccine provokes an immune response through a unique T-cell pathway, and the finding may lead to new vaccines for people undergoing chemotherapy or immunosuppressive therapy, or those with an immune deficiency such as HIV.
An experimental immunotherapy extended the median lifespan of dogs with osteosarcoma to 415 days in a study involving 15 dogs. The typical median lifespan is 134 days in dogs whose osteosarcoma is treated only with surgery.
Thirty-five percent of wild snakes in the Southeast that were tested for Eastern equine encephalitis virus were seropositive, and a study in the Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation demonstrated that dogs are also vulnerable to the mosquito-borne virus. EEEV was diagnosed in a boxer puppy in Michigan and six St. Bernard puppies in New York. In the latter case, two puppies were initially diagnosed during an active equine outbreak in the area, and four more puppies at the same kennel were subsequently diagnosed, suggesting the possibility of horizontal transmission.
A question on the ballot in Mount Horeb, Wis., proposes expanding public nuisance laws to include facilities involved in scientific research on dogs and cats, and the proposal may have been designed to target a nearby breeding facility, though the facility is outside city limits, this article notes. Supporters of the proposal are spreading false information, saying that research on dogs and cats is no longer necessary when, in fact, the opposite is true: Research on dogs and cats is indispensable and improves animal and human lives.
The National Association for Biomedical Research recently filed an official complaint with the Department of Transportation requesting an investigation into reports of airlines refusing to transport of animals for research purposes while knowingly transporting the same species for other purposes. This practice is discriminatory and puts human health at risk, but comments opposing NABR’s complaint outnumber those in support of it. Please support this effort and biomedical research by commenting today!
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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.