Animal Research

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Death rate from cancer now 25% lower than it was 25 years ago, report says

Written by Melissa Healy

A researcher works with donor cells to test a new treatment for blood cancer, in this file photo. Photo Credit - (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

A researcher works with donor cells to test a new treatment for blood cancer, in this file photo. Photo Credit – (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

In the year to come, an estimated 1,688,780 people in the United States are expected to get a cancer diagnosis, and cancer will claim the lives of a projected 600,920.

That death toll, however grim, represents a death rate from cancer that is 25% lower than it was a quarter-century ago — a drop driven by steady reductions in smoking rates and advances in early detection and treatment. Between 1991 and 2014, that boost in cancer survivorship translates to approximately 2,143,200 fewer cancer deaths than might have been expected if death rates had remained at their peak. Read more.

Published by LA Times January, 5 2017

Slimy, squirmy creatures: the unsung heroes of medical research

zebrafish-1Fish. Frogs. Worms.

While you’d expect to find them in your local pond, they’re also some of the biggest contributors to modern medical research. And there’s a reason these so-called “lower” organisms have been swimming, hopping and squirming their way into labs at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation: They’re key players in the war against disease.

“Humans are incredibly complicated and it’s difficult to do experiments with them, so we have to use animal models instead,” said OMRF researcher David Jones, Ph.D. Read more.

Published by edmondsun.com December 26, 2016

 

New Ebola Vaccine Gives 100 Percent Protection

By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.
DECEMBER 22, 2016

Health workers in November 2015 with Mibemba Soumah, infected by Ebola, at a treatment center in Conakry, Guinea. Photo Credit: SAMUEL ARANDA FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES

Health workers in November 2015 with Mibemba Soumah, infected by Ebola, at a treatment center in Conakry, Guinea.
Photo Credit: SAMUEL ARANDA FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES

In a scientific triumph that will change the way the world fights a terrifying killer, an experimental Ebola vaccine tested on humans in the waning days of the West African epidemic has been shown to provide 100 percent protection against the lethal disease.

The vaccine has not yet been approved by any regulatory authority, but it is considered so effective that an emergency stockpile of 300,000 doses has already been created for use should an outbreak flare up again. Read more.

Published by The New York Times December 22,2016

Animals can do ‘almost math’

Scientists are searching for the evolutionary roots of human math in the barnyard and the zoo

By: Susan Milius Dec 12, 2016 — 7:00 am EST

 Cats and other animals show quantity-related abilities. Without training, kitties can pick out differences between groups of a few small objects, such as 2 versus 5. However, the felines may be using visual shortcuts. Photo Credit: S. Zielinski and B. Brookshire


Cats and other animals show quantity-related abilities. Without training, kitties can pick out differences between groups of a few small objects, such as 2 versus 5. However, the felines may be using visual shortcuts.
Photo Credit: S. Zielinski and B. Brookshire

When Christian Agrillo runs number-related experiments in his lab, he wishes his undergraduate subjects good luck. For certain tests, that’s about all he says. Giving instructions to the people would be unfair to the fish.

Yes, fish.

Agrillo works at the University of Padua in Italy. There, he studies how animals process information. He is finishing up several years of pitting humans against fish in trials. Those trials test their abilities to compare quantities. He can’t, of course, tell his angelfish to choose, say, the larger array of dots. He can’t tell them to do anything. So in recent tests he made his bemused students use trial and error too, just like the fish. Read more.

Published by Science News December 12, 2016

Scientists accelerate immune response to tuberculosis in mice

This photomicrograph reveals Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria using acid-fast Ziehl-Neelsen stain; Magnified 1000 X. The acid-fast stains depend on the ability of mycobacteria to retain dye when treated with mineral acid or an acid-alcohol solution such as the Ziehl-Neelsen, or the Kinyoun stains that are carbolfuchsin methods specific for M. tuberculosis. Photo Credit Medical Express

This photomicrograph reveals Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria using acid-fast Ziehl-Neelsen stain; Magnified 1000 X. The acid-fast stains depend on the ability of mycobacteria to retain dye when treated with mineral acid or an acid-alcohol solution such as the Ziehl-Neelsen, or the Kinyoun stains that are carbolfuchsin methods specific for M. tuberculosis. Photo Credit Medical Express

New research findings provide insight into the immune system pathways that may be key to developing an effective tuberculosis (TB) vaccine. The study, to be published Thursday in the journal Nature Communications, was supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Globally, an estimated 10.4 million new TB cases occurred in 2015, according to the World Health Organization. A TB vaccine called bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is currently used in countries with a high prevalence of TB to prevent severe forms of the disease in children. However, the protection provided against pulmonary TB in adults is very variable, and people vaccinated with BCG are more likely to give false positives on skin tests for TB. Read More.

Published by MedicalExpress December, 22 2016

Beating Alzheimer’s With Brain Waves

Written by Ed Yong

Neurons firing. Photo courtesy of The Atlantic and Picower Institute for Learning and Memory

Neurons firing. Photo courtesy of The Atlantic and Picower Institute for Learning and Memory

When a crowd starts to applaud, each person initially does so to their own rhythm. But in some cases, those claps can synchronize, with hundreds or thousands or millions of hands striking in unison.

Something similar happens in the brain. When a single neuron fires, it sends an electrical pulse down its length. But large networks of neurons can also fire together, creating regular cycles of electrical activity that resemble the synchronized applause of a rapturous crowd. Formally, these are called neural oscillations; more colloquially, they’re brain waves. Read more.

Published by The Atlantic December 7, 2016 

Parkinson’s disease ‘may start in gut’

By James Gallagher
Health and science reporter, BBC News website

Immune cells in the brain - microglia - may be activated by bacteria in the gut. Photo courtesy of BBC News and CALTECH.

Immune cells in the brain – microglia – may be activated by bacteria in the gut. Photo courtesy of BBC News and CALTECH.

Scientists in California say they have transformed understanding of Parkinson’s disease.

Their animal experiments, published in the journal Cell, suggest the brain disorder may be caused by bacteria living in the gut.

The findings could eventually lead to new ways of treating the disease, such as drugs to kill gut bugs or probiotics.

Experts said the results opened an “exciting new avenue of study”. Read more.

Published by BBC News December 2, 2016

 

Rats giggle when tickled — but only when the mood is right

By ERIC BOODMAN

amp_brownAt parties and bars, he introduces himself as a “rat tickler.”

The title makes Shimpei Ishiyama sound like he belongs in some forgotten guild of yore, with the Victorian “pure-finders,” who collected dog dung for a living, and the “flankers and flaggers,” who kept partridges in the range of hunters’ guns.

But he is, in actual fact, a neuroscientist, and his rat-tickling is anything but antiquated. By trying to titillate these rodents — and recording how their neurons respond — Ishiyama and his adviser are unraveling a mystery that has puzzled thinkers ever since Aristotle posited that humans, given their thin skin and unique ability to laugh, were the only ticklish animals. Read more. 

Published by STAT November 10, 2016

New tricks in canine cancer aim to treat humans, too

BY: LAURIE MCGINLEY
The Washington Post

Harley, a 4-year-old boxer who has leukemia, receives an infusion of his own T cells at the University of Pennsylvania’s Ryan Veterinary Hospital in early November. In a process also used in human trials, Harley’s cells, a key component of the immune system, have been genetically modified and multiplied to help combat his cancer. Katherine Frey The Washington Post Read more here: http://www.islandpacket.com/news/nation-world/national/article117297678.html#storylink=cpy

Harley, a 4-year-old boxer who has leukemia, receives an infusion of his own T cells at the University of Pennsylvania’s Ryan Veterinary Hospital in early November. In a process also used in human trials, Harley’s cells, a key component of the immune system, have been genetically modified and multiplied to help combat his cancer. Katherine Frey The Washington Post

Flyer, a 70-pound golden retriever, lies patiently on her left side on an examination table as technicians scurry around, placing little sandbags on her legs and neck to keep her still. She’s getting chest X-rays to answer a critical question: Has a deadly bone cancer spread to her lungs?

When the session is over, Martha MaloneyHuss, a veterinarian at the University of Pennsylvania’s Ryan Veterinary Hospital, glances at the images. “I don’t see anything hugely obvious,” she says, “but we’ll see what the radiologist says.” Oblivious to the good news, Flyer hops down the hall on three legs, eager to find her owner.

After the 8-year-old retriever began limping last year, she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a painful, aggressive cancer that often strikes Great Danes, Irish wolfhounds and other large breeds. At Penn Vet, she got the standard treatment: One of her left legs was amputated, and she underwent chemotherapy. Read more.

Published by The Island Packet November 26, 2016

 

Monkeys Regain Control Of Paralyzed Legs With Help Of An Implant

Gregoire Courtine, a neurologist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, holds a silicone model of a primate's brain with an electrode array. The goal is to pick up signals from the brain and transmit them to the legs. Photo Credit: Alain Herzog/EPFL

Gregoire Courtine, a neurologist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, holds a silicone model of a primate’s brain with an electrode array. The goal is to pick up signals from the brain and transmit them to the legs.
Photo Credit: Alain Herzog/EPFL

Written by: Rae Ellen Bichell

A few months ago, neurosurgeon Jocelyne Bloch emerged from a 10-hour surgery that she hadn’t done before.

“Most of my patients are humans,” says Bloch, who works at the Lausanne University Hospital in Switzerland.

This patient was a rhesus macaque.

The monkey’s spinal cord had been partially cut. So while his brain was fine and his legs were fine, the two couldn’t communicate.

“Normally, the brain is giving commands, and the legs are responding to the commands through the spinal cord. When you have a spinal cord lesion, then this command is interrupted,” says Bloch. Read more.

Published by NPR November 9, 2016