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Oxygen-tracking method could improve diabetes treatment

MIT researchers are testing encapsulated pancreatic islet cells as a possible treatment for diabetes. These 1.5 mm capsules are embedded with a fluorine-containing compound that allows the researchers to monitor their oxygen levels with MRI once implanted in the body.
Photo credit: Virginia Spanoudaki

Written by Anne Trafton

Measurements could help scientists develop better designs for a bioartificial pancreas.

Transplanting pancreatic islet cells into patients with diabetes is a promising alternative to the daily insulin injections that many of these patients now require. These cells could act as a bioartificial pancreas, monitoring blood glucose levels and secreting insulin when needed. Read more.

Published February 25, 2019 by MIT News

Coming Soon: Battery-Free Pacemakers Powered by the Heart?

Written by Amy Norton

Scientists say they’ve taken a first step toward creating a pacemaker that runs on the heart’s own energy rather than batteries.

Pacemakers are electronic devices implanted to regulate your heartbeat — usually because of a condition that slows your heart’s normal rate. Traditional pacemakers have two parts: a battery-powered pulse generator implanted under the collarbone, and insulated wires that connect it to your heart. Read more.

Published February 20th, 2019 by USA News

Monkeys With Superpower Eyes Could Help Cure Color Blindness

Photo credit: Wired

Written by Adam Rogers

In the video, a preposterously cute, gray squirrel monkey named Dalton bonks his head against a computer screen in front of him. Wide-eyed and muttonchopped, Dalton has quite the setup—the screen, wide in squirrel-monkey terms, displays dots of varying sizes and colors. Below that is a monkey-sized basin, like a sink in a dollhouse kitchen remodeled with stainless steel fixtures. Read more.

Published February 10th, 2019 by Wired

AIDS vaccine using engineered herpes virus works in monkeys

HIV infected T-cell (NIAID image) Photo credit: WNPRC

Written by Jordana Lennon

For the first time, scientists have used a genetically engineered herpes virus to achieve significant vaccine protection against the AIDS virus in monkeys. Only live attenuated strains of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), the monkey version of HIV, have previously provided similar protection. Read more.

Published January 31st, 2019 by Wisconsin National Primate Research Center

 

Moving Closer to a Stem Cell-Based Treatment for AMD

Written by Dr. Francis Collins

In recent years, researchers have figured out how to take a person’s skin or blood cells and turn them into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) that offer tremendous potential for regenerative medicine. Still, it’s been a challenge to devise safe and effective ways to move this discovery from the lab into the clinic. That’s why I’m pleased to highlight progress toward using iPSC technology to treat a major cause of vision loss: age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Read more.

Published January 29th, 2019 by National Institutes of Health

Study: Sleep Deprivation Speeds Up Alzheimer’s Disease

Photo credit: Stock photo

Written by Claire Hansen

Experts have long warned about the negative effects of sleep deprivation, and new research suggests that people with Alzheimer’s disease may be particularly affected.

In a study of mice and humans, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that sleep deprivation increases levels of the protein tau, which is linked to Alzheimer’s disease. In follow-up studies in mice, the researchers also found that sleeplessness speeds up the spread of toxic clumps of tau in the brain, a precursor to brain damage and dementia. Read more.

Published January 24th, 2019 by US News

Researchers explore gut biology similarities across species and colleges

Written by Joe Wilensky

Praveen Sethupathy ’03, associate professor of biomedical sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine, and Nicolas Buchon, assistant professor of entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, collaborate in the study of gut biology, gut microbes, and intestinal stem cells and their function and response to environment, diet and disease. Sethupathy studies microRNAs and the gut in mouse models and human organoids and Buchon studies host-microbe interactions and stem cell biology in the five-millimeter-long GI tract of the fruit fly (drosophila) or in disease vector mosquitoes. Read more.

Published November 5, 2018 by Cornell University

A cure for cancer: how to kill a killer

A transparent tumour tomography showing T-cells attacking a tumour following treatment. Photo credit: The Guardian

Revolutionary work on the body’s immune system and a host of new drug trials mean that beating cancer may be achievable.

Last month, the Nobel prize in medicine was awarded for two breakthrough scientific discoveries heralded as having “revolutionised cancer treatment”, and “fundamentally changed the way we view how cancer can be managed”. One of them went to a charismatic, harmonica-playing Texan named Jim Allison for his breakthrough advances in cancer immunotherapy. His discovery had resulted in transformative outcomes for cancer patients and a radical new direction for cancer research. Read more.

Published November 4, 2018 by The Guardian

Breathtaking New Microscope Reveals Mouse Embryos Growing in Real Time, Cell by Cell

Written by David Nield

Photo credit: Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Using a newly developed microscopic technique, scientists have been able to create a detailed, 4D image of early mouse embryo development, down to the single cells involved – a fascinating look into the very first stages of life for mammals.

The imaging process is technically known as adaptive light-sheet microscopy, and it pushes the boundaries of what’s possible in imaging. Read more.

Published October 13, 2018 by Science Alert