Feds should enforce anti-discrimination laws on research animal air travel | Scientists fight online harassment with information, transparency | Ebola vaccine candidate elicits strong immune response in monkeys
As airlines work to accommodate the demands of travelers who bring an increasingly diverse set of comfort animals on board, they are also yielding to pressure from animal rights groups and refusing to transport animals that contribute to research that seeks to cure cancer and other devastating diseases. Existing laws mean “that if the airline is willing to ship one woman’s pig to help her feel comfortable and relaxed, it must also ship other similar animals being transported for different purposes — including medical research,” writes George Landrith. The Department of Transportation should enforce the law, he argues, and ensure animals get where they are needed for lifesaving research.
Environmental scientist David Keith, atmospheric physicist Joanna Haigh and environmental physiologist Christine Lattin have been repeatedly harassed and threatened on social media and via email. All try to ignore personal attacks and address false claims with respect and honesty, and Lattin says she has tried to make her research more accessible to a lay audience to improve public understanding.
A synthetic DNA vaccine that targets glycoproteins on the surface of the Ebola virus immediately stimulated a strong immune response in monkeys that continued for a year after the last dose, researchers reported in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. The vaccine was delivered directly into the skin.
A clinical trial is testing the safety of focused ultrasound to breach the blood-brain barrier during surgery to treat glioblastoma, and another is testing focused ultrasound in newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients undergoing chemotherapy. The approach, which has been successful in nonhuman primates, allows cancer-killing drugs to cross the blood-brain barrier and could improve survival of brain cancer patients.
An investigational vaccine based on inactivated genetic material from Lassa virus and a rabies virus vector protected guinea pigs and mice from both viruses in a study published in Nature Communications. Lassa fever is a hemorrhagic infection similar to Ebola that is carried by Mastomys rats and affects an estimated 100,000 to 300,000 people each year.
An experimental monoclonal antibody blocked inflammatory and oxidative activity associated with the fibrin protein without compromising the protein’s clotting function, researchers reported in Nature Immunology. The antibody could one day help protect against neurodegeneration associated with multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease, and it may also have beneficial effects in other organs damaged by inflammation, said senior investigator Katerina Akassoglou.
Scientist in China said they used CRISPR gene editing to breed mice with same-sex parents, shedding light on a biological mechanism that prevents reproduction in the absence of both maternal and paternal DNA. The pups with two mothers grew to adulthood and were able to bear pups of their own, but none of the bipaternal pups survived to adulthood, the researchers reported in Cell Stem Cell.
Scientists say they successfully used gene editing technology to breed a litter of pigs resistant to transmissible gastroenteritis virus — a highly contagious virus that is nearly always fatal in young pigs — and the research could improve animal health and livestock production worldwide. The pigs do not produce the ANPEP enzyme, which is believed to be a receptor for TGEV, and did not get sick when exposed to the virus.
Anesthesia causes changes in circadian rhythms and hormone levels in laboratory animals that could confound experimental results, and anesthesia timing should be standardized across individual studies, says Guy Warman, whose study on the effects of anesthesia was published in Experimental Neurology.
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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.