Written by Joey Palacios
Scientists at Texas BioMedical Research Institute in San Antonio are using a type of primate to help prevent birth defects caused by the Zika virus. Texas BioMed is using four marmosets as its animal model for Zika infection. Virologist Dr. Jean Patterson said Zika infection in marmosets is similar to that in humans.
“Like humans, they develop almost immediate Viremia — meaning they have virus in their blood — and, for the males, after the virus declines in blood it then goes into semen, saliva and blood,” she said. Read more.
Written by: Sandy Mazza
The first 20 star-trekking mice to travel to the International Space Station, riding aboard a spacecraft built by Hawthorne-based Space X, have returned to their home lab at UCLA.
But the mission isn’t over for the mice, plucked last week from their capsule in San Pedro, according to a scientist participating in the project that aims to help humans battle bone loss. Read more.
Written by: Ian Johnston – Science Correspondent
A “promising cure” for HIV and Aids has been discovered, according to scientists who managed to almost entirely eliminate the devastating immune disease from infected mice.
The researchers said they had demonstrated the “feasibility and efficiency” of removing the HIV-1 provirus using a gene-editing technique called Crispr. Read more.
(U.C. DAVIS) – Imagine a world where maladies such as cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s Disease, or sickle cell anemia no longer exist. While the U.S. is far from achieving this lofty goal, it recently came a step closer at the California National Primate Research Center (CNPRC), where scientists have efficiently used CRISPR/Cas9 technology to modify the genes of rhesus macaque embryos.
The research, recently published in the latest edition of Human Molecular Genetics, paves the way for future studies where the possibility of birthing gene-edited monkeys that can serve as models for new therapies is greatly increased.
CRISPR, an acronym for Clustered Regularly-Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, is essentially a DNA segment that scientists can manipulate using a system known as CRISPR/Cas9 to edit the genes within organisms. CRISPR/Cas9 seeks and targets specific genes in organisms that are linked to diseases. It does this by utilizing a single strand of ribonucleic acid (RNA), a nucleic acid present in all living cells, as a guide to target specific genes for editing. Read more.
Written by: Tom Avril – Staff Writer
In a major step aimed at improving the survival odds for extremely premature infants, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia researchers have created an artificial womb — a fluid-filled “BioBag” that kept fetal lambs alive and healthy outside their mothers until they could survive on their own.
The animals received oxygen through their umbilical cords and continued to develop much as if they had remained in the uterus, leading the team to express hope that the procedure could be tried on the youngest human preemies within three to five years.
The authors of the research stressed that they were not trying to enable the delivery of babies earlier than the current limit of viability, generally 22 to 23 weeks of pregnancy. Read more.
Written by:Deborah Netburn, Los Angeles Times
Can a mouse meditate? A new study suggests the answer is … kind of.
Researchers from the University of Oregon in Eugene have replicated some of the same brain patterns exhibited by human meditators in the brains of mice – no tiny meditation cushions or squeaky “oms” required.
Still, experiments show that the “meditating mice” were more relaxed and less stressed than those with no rodent meditation training.
The authors say the work, published Monday in PNAS, provides a proof of concept that will allow them to learn more about how meditation affects the brain. Read more.
Article Written by: Chris Barncard
Listeria, a common food-borne bacterium, may pose a greater risk of miscarriage in the early stages of pregnancy than appreciated, according to researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Veterinary Medicine studying how pathogens affect fetal development and change the outcome of pregnancy.
“For many years, listeria has been associated with adverse outcomes in pregnancy, but particularly at the end of pregnancy,” says Ted Golos, a UW–Madison reproductive physiologist and professor of comparative biosciences and obstetrics and gynecology. “What wasn’t known with much clarity before this study is that it appears it’s a severe risk factor in early pregnancy.” Read more.
New research from Lund University in Sweden has shown that intestinal bacteria can accelerate the development of Alzheimer’s disease. According to the researchers behind the study, the results open up the door to new opportunities for preventing and treating the disease.
Because our gut bacteria have a major impact on how we feel through the interaction between the immune system, the intestinal mucosa and our diet, the composition of the gut microbiota is of great interest to research on diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Exactly how our gut microbiota composition is composed depends on which bacteria we receive at birth, our genes and our diet.
By studying both healthy and diseased mice, the researchers found that mice suffering from Alzheimer’s have a different composition of gut bacteria compared to mice that are healthy. The researchers also studied Alzheimer’s disease in mice that completely lacked bacteria to further test the relationship between intestinal bacteria and the disease. Mice without bacteria had a significantly smaller amount of beta-amyloid plaque in the brain. Beta-amyloid plaques are the lumps that form at the nerve fibres in cases of Alzheimer’s disease. Read more.
Researchers have created a new drug delivery system that could improve the effectiveness of an emerging concept in cancer treatment — to dramatically slow and control tumors on a long-term, sustained basis, not necessarily aiming for their complete elimination.
The approach, called a “metronomic dosage regimen,” uses significantly lower doses of chemotherapeutic drugs but at more frequent time intervals. This would have multiple goals of killing cancer cells, creating a hostile biological environment for their growth, reducing toxicity from the drug regimen and avoiding the development of resistance to the cancer drugs being used.
New research in mice may offer insight into how the Zika virus is transmitted sexually and affects a fetus. People typically get the virus through the bite of an infected mosquito, although Zika can also be spread through sex.
Since the Zika outbreak began last year in Brazil, thousands of babies whose mothers were infected with Zika early in pregnancy have been born with a devastating birth defect known as microcephaly, in which the head and brain are abnormally small.