News Archive

The nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) has many hidden skills—it can sniff out insects buried 20 cm underground, for example, and jump more than a meter into the air when startled. Seeing, however, is not one of its natural talents. Because its eyes lack light-detecting cells called cones, it has fuzzy, colorless vision. The light-receptive cells that an armadillo does have, called rods, are so sensitive that daylight renders the nocturnal animals practically blind. But the deficit may have a silver lining for humans. To study diseases that cause blindness in people, scientists typically genetically “knock out” cone-related genes in animals like mice. Such studies are limited, because they examine only one gene at a time, when a number of different genes contribute to cone dysfunction, researchers say. By comparing the armadillo gene to other closely related mammals, a team of scientists has now identified several cone-related genes in the armadillo genome that became nonfunctional millions of years ago, they report today at the Society for Neuroscience conference in San Diego, California. This makes the animals "excellent candidates" for gene therapy experiments that could restore color vision and point the way to potential human treatments, they say.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - 16:51

Skeletal muscle has proved to be very difficult to grow in patients with muscular dystrophy and other disorders that degrade and weaken muscle. Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital's Stem Cell Program now report boosting muscle mass and reversing disease in a mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, using a "cocktail" of three compounds identified through a new rapid culture system. Adding the same compounds to stem cells derived from patients' skin cells, they then successfully grew human muscle cells in a dish.


Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/11/07/5890513/researchers-build-muscle-in-diseased.html#storylink=cpy

Friday, November 8, 2013 - 17:15

While human doctors and veterinarians are usually thought to keep to their own corners of the animal kingdom, more are seeing the same maladies in their patients – from breast cancers to addictions to eating disorders – causing the two disciplines to increasingly team up to crack medical mysteries.

Monday, November 4, 2013 - 15:03

Researchers frequently investigate animal-derived compounds and determine their usefulness as treatments for human ailments. Examples of success stories include bat saliva used as an anticoagulant in stroke patients, centipede venom as a potent painkiller, and intestinal parasites combating rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, lupus and more.

Friday, November 1, 2013 - 16:18

An experimental drug called 3K3A-APC appears to reduce brain damage, eliminate brain hemorrhaging and improve motor skills in mice that have been afflicted by stroke, according to a new study from Keck Medicine of USC. The report provides additional evidence that 3K3A-APC may be used as a therapy for stroke in humans.

Friday, October 25, 2013 - 12:54

With help from mice, researchers from St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital have discovered a way to develop a universal flu vaccine that could protect against the most common strains just as much as the deadliest pandemic strains.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - 14:32

Scientists studying tiny zebrafish have uncovered a way to slow the growth of liver tumours by up to 30 per cent, simply by "switching on" a key protein called Rho.

Monday, October 21, 2013 - 15:42

One might wonder why researchers would even care about the nuances of the one-millimeter long nematode worm, let alone take the time to study them. But the answer is simple: they can provide powerful insights into human health and disease.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - 15:09

The government shutdown is likely to mean an early death for thousands of mice used in research on diseases such as diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer's.

Federal research centers including the National Institutes of Health will have to kill some mice to avoid overcrowding, researchers say. Others will die because it is impossible to maintain certain lines of genetically altered mice without constant monitoring by scientists. And most federal scientists have been banned from their own labs since Oct. 1.

Friday, October 11, 2013 - 15:49

The 2013 Nobel Prize honours three scientists who have solved the mystery of how the cell organizes its transport system.

Monday, October 7, 2013 - 15:56

Cats may hold a key to developing an HIV vaccine for people, a new study suggests. Researchers found that a protein from the virus that causes AIDS in cats triggered an immune response in blood from HIV-infected people. The virus that causes AIDS in people is called the human immunodeficiency virus while the one that affects cats is called the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).

Friday, October 4, 2013 - 14:29

Researchers from the University Göttingen Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Chronix Biomedical have published a new study exploring the genetic hallmarks of canine mammary cancer. Appearing in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE, the paper identifies important similarities and differences between human and canine breast tumors, providing a strong platform for future research using the canine model system.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - 15:00

AICR, the Scottish cancer research charity, has awarded biologists from the University of Aberdeen a grant of over £200,000 to analyse if IgNAR – a special antibody found only in sharks – can be used to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

Monday, September 30, 2013 - 15:39

Researchers at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute have developed a new large animal model - the pig- to study how the immune system interacts with the stomach bacterium Helicobacter pylori, the leading cause of peptic ulcer disease.

Thursday, September 26, 2013 - 16:33

Obsessive compulsive disorder can ruin lives, but research with animals is giving scientists fresh hope for managing the symptoms.

Monday, September 23, 2013 - 16:19

Using salt-sniffing roundworms, Salk scientists help explain how the nervous system processes sensory information.

Friday, September 13, 2013 - 15:18

 

Scientists are one step closer to developing a dengue drug and vaccine that will cover all four types of the mosquito-borne disease. There are currently no approved vaccines for dengue.

Researchers at the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) have developed a humanised mouse model which will expedite the ongoing search for an effective drug or vaccine for the infection.

 

Thursday, September 12, 2013 - 15:36

Scientists recently announced that a combination of two well-known antiviral drugs that protect monkeys against MERS could potentially be used to save humans from the lethal disease.

Monday, September 9, 2013 - 14:21

The trillions of bacteria that live in the gut — helping digest foods, making some vitamins, making amino acids — may help determine if a person is fat or thin. Dr. Jeffrey I. Gordon and Vanessa K. Ridaura are two members of a scientific team whose research shows a connection between human gut bacteria and obesity. The evidence is from a novel experiment involving mice and humans that is part of a growing fascination with gut bacteria and their role in health and diseases like irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease. In this case, the focus was on obesity. Researchers found pairs of human twins in which one was obese and the other lean. They transferred gut bacteria from these twins into mice and watched what happened. The mice with bacteria from fat twins grew fat; those that got bacteria from lean twins stayed lean.

Friday, September 6, 2013 - 12:52

According to new research on epilepsy, zebrafish have certainly earned their stripes. Results of a study in Nature Communications suggest that zebrafish carrying a specific mutation may help researchers discover treatments for Dravet syndrome (DS), a severe form of pediatric epilepsy that results in drug-resistant seizures and developmental delays.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 16:21