The 2018 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine was awarded to James Allison and Tasuku Honjo for research, which involved animals, showing how suppressing certain proteins primes T-cells to fight cancer. Their work led to the development of immunotherapy, and their breakthroughs constitute “a landmark in our fight against cancer,” the Nobel committee said.
Veterinary research has led to successful medical treatments for humans, and physicians should receive advice from veterinarians and other animal health experts more often, writes Rick Clayton, technical director at HealthforAnimals. Animal and humans share many infectious diseases, but biological similarities also mean research into conditions like heart disease and cancer in companion animals also benefits humans.
Child Mind Institute researchers have released 25 independent brain imaging data collections from non-human primate studies to enable advances in brain mapping that help scientists understand the brains of animals and humans. The PRIMatE Data Exchange consortium is an open science resource described in the journal Neuron and created to allow aggregation and sharing of anatomical, functional and diffusion MRI findings.
Injecting certain live, genetically modified Clostridium novyi into cancerous tumors appears to activate an immune response, and the approach, validated in dogs and people, is being tested along with an established checkpoint inhibitor. Safety trials in humans showed an anticancer effect and showed that the dose of bacteria is important.
Sections of DNA that can make bacteria harmful can be edited using CRISPR-Cas9, weakening or even killing the bacteria, according to findings published in Nature Biotechnology. The DNA sections, known as pathogenicity islands, in Staphylococcus aureus were edited in mice, replacing the genes that produced toxins and preventing the mice from developing abscesses.
A 56-year-old man in Hong Kong was diagnosed with a strain of hepatitis E virus that affects rats but was previously not known to infect humans. The man had recently undergone a liver transplant, and physicians suspect that his weak immune system allowed infection to occur.
Levels of chemicals commonly found in carpets and upholstery until 2000 were higher in cats with hyperthyroid issues, according to a study by the California Environmental Protection Agency reported in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. Only 43 cats were used in the study, and researchers said more work needs to be done to confirm the link between the chemicals and feline thyroid problems.
An avian influenza vaccine for chickens introduced in China last year was effective, but during surveys scientists detected two new genetic variants of H7N9 and H7N2 influenza in ducks, according to findings published in Cell Host & Microbe. The H7 vaccine works well in ducks, too, and senior author and virologist Hualan Chen recommended that it be used to protect ducks as well as chickens.
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.
Time dissipates to shining ether the solid angularity of facts.
Ralph Waldo Emerson,
essayist, poet and philosopher
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.