BREAKING NEWS: Senate Confirms Robert Califf as New FDA Commissioner

Just moments ago, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Dr. Robert Califf’s nomination to serve as the new commissioner of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).  Dr. Califf is replacing Dr. Stephen Ostroff who served as acting commissioner since Dr. Margaret Hamburg stepped down in March of 2015.  Dr. Califf was nominated by President Barack Obama for the post and a nomination hearing was held by the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee on November 17.

Dr. Califf is a cardiologist and clinical trial expert from Duke University and his nomination was supported by medical groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

Dr. Califf was confirmed by an 89-4 vote.  To read more about Dr. Califf's confirmation, please see this report in The Washington Post.

Join Us for a Special Guest Webinar

Take advantage of this special opportunity to meet the new Deputy Administrator for Animal Care at USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) at NABR’s next webinar on Tuesday, May 3, 2016.

In a February 22 stakeholder’s announcement, APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea announced that with the retirement of Dr. Chester Gipson, Bernadette Juarez has been named as the new head of Animal Care. Ms. Juarez will present her vision for Animal Care, answer your questions, and discuss the future of the USDA division responsible for the regular inspection of your facilities.

An attorney, Ms. Juarez has extensive experience in investigating violations and enforcing the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). As Director of APHIS' Investigative and Enforcement Services (IES) she led investigations into suspected violations.  During her tenure in the USDA's Office of General Counsel, she represented APHIS in numerous enforcement proceedings. If compliance with the Animal Welfare Act is important to you, do not miss this opportunity.

All questions must be submitted in advance to and will remain anonymous. Questions will be reviewed and formatted to prevent duplication.

Space is limited for this webinar and will fill quickly, so please register ASAP!


Join us on May 3, 2016 by reserving your spot today!

register now

Follow NABR on Twitter to Get Your News Fast!

Ever wish that you could get your research-related news delivered to you almost immediately?  Then be sure to follow NABR on Twitter at @NABRorg today!

Over 218 million people use Twitter daily because it is a quick and simple way to communicate and stay informed.  On NABR’s Twitter feed, you’ll be able to get the latest in animal research news, policy updates from Capitol Hill and in the states, NABR member news, and other updates you need to stay informed.

These updates will be sent directly to you, whether you’re at home, in the lab, or on the go to your mobile device.  Be sure to follow NABR at @NABRorg on Twitter and don’t forget to follow the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) at @ResearchSaves for more timely news and information.

FBR Starts Three-Part Series on Animal Contributions to Diabetes Research

The Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) has kicked-off a three-part series examining the valuable contributions animal models have made in the hunt to treat and cure diabetes.  Part 1, “Animal Research Creates Treatments and Advances for Type 1 Diabetes,” was introduced yesterday.

It is estimated that diabetes impacts about 387 million people globally and health experts expect that number to rise to 592 million by 2035.  It is a group of metabolic diseases in which blood sugars are high over a prolonged period of time and is the result of either the pancreas not manufacturing enough insulin or the body’s cells not responding properly to the produced insulin.

While doctors know that a healthy diet, exercise, avoiding tobacco products, and maintaining proper body weight are important factors in prevention, animal models like cows, pigs, and mice have played an important role in treating and improving the lives of diabetics.

Please click here to read the first part of FBR’s trilogy on the role of animals in Type 1 diabetes research.  FBR’s next piece on Type 2 diabetes is expected next week.

Two Plead Guilty to AETA Conspiracy Charges; Federal Prison Sentences and Nearly $400,000 in Restitution Expected

Two animal extremists pled guilty to federal criminal charges and entered plea agreements according to the San Diego Unit-Tribune.

Joseph Buddenberg and Nicole Kissane each admitted in San Diego federal court last week to conspiracy to violate the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA). Prosecutors and defense lawyers reportedly plan to jointly recommend a two-year sentence for Buddenberg and six months for Kissane. The pair also admitted that their actions caused more than $100,000 in damage. They have agreed to pay $398,000 in restitution to several victims, including Furs By Graf, a San Diego business that was vandalized, and to seven mink farms and two other businesses around the country.

A previous AETA indictment of Buddenberg was ultimately dismissed for insufficient details.  The same cannot be said about the indictment in this case.  It is extremely thorough, documenting the pair’s four cross-country trips to terrorize fur farms as well as their financial dealings, including selling stolen goods on eBay to pay for their travels, among other pieces of evidence.  A long list of potential prosecution witnesses was also presented.

Animal Research Could Have Helped Star in Prominent TV Show

The benefits of animal research are everywhere, even on television dramas.  They serve as reminders of how far mankind and science has come to help treat disease and improve life.  One instance was highlighted by the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) in an episode of the critically acclaimed PBS show, Downton Abbey.  The show, which has won a Golden Globe Award for Best Miniseries or Television Film and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries or Movie, follows a fictional set of characters living in a 1920’s estate in Yorkshire, England called Downton Abbey.

One of the characters, Lord Grantham, learns that he has a stomach ulcer after suffering from mysterious chest pains.  That ulcer later bursts but Lord Grantham survives after surgical intervention.  The condition, known as a peptic ulcer, is well understood today and effectively treated thanks to biomedical research with animal models.  Proton pump inhibitors like Nexium and H2 blockers such as Tagamet were brought to fruition thanks to mice, rats, rabbits, dogs, and monkeys.  Even the surgery that Lord Grantham was portrayed to have benefitted from was refined using animal models.

To learn more about the animal research and animal model connection to Downton Abbey, please click here.

The Role of Animal Research in the President’s Cancer Moonshot

During his final State of the Union address to Congress, President Barack Obama announced the creation of the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force to make stronger strides to defeat cancer.  The White House hopes to achieve this by accelerating the understanding of cancer, improving patient access, encouraging the development of innovative treatments, and by identifying and addressing any unnecessary regulatory burdens that delays research.

Once crucial element that will undoubtedly be a critical piece of the puzzle is animal research and just yesterday the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) took a detailed look at the discoveries brought to fruition thanks to animals.  Whether it be immunotherapy, epigenetics, or cell-based therapy, animals like rats, mice, zebrafish, and fruit flies have helped pave the path to healing and recovery and will likely continue to be influential during this campaign.

FBR’s review of animal research in the President’s cancer initiative can be found here.  We encourage you to comment with your thoughts and to share FBR’s posting on social media with friends, family, and colleagues.

Latest Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) Chimpanzee Lawsuit Rejected

A New York judge on Friday, January 29 blocked an animal rights group from pursuing a new lawsuit seeking release of a chimpanzee from a Niagara Falls sanctuary, despite support from primatologist Jane Goodall.

State Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffe refused to sign an order sought by Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) to force facility directors into her Manhattan courtroom to defend keeping the animal in captivity. Judge Jaffe is the same jurist who granted a hearing requiring Stony Brook University to “show cause” for maintaining two research chimpanzees. Following that hearing, the court denied NhRP’s petition for a writ of habeaus corpus and Stony Brook subsequently returned the two chimpanzees to their owner, the New Iberia Primate Research Center in Louisiana.

According to the UK Telegraph, Judge Jaffe said the group previously filed four similar petitions in other federal courts in the state and, despite the new affidavits from Goodall and others, did not show why its latest request to release the Niagara Falls chimpanzee belonged in Manhattan. Copies of NhRP documents related to this case, including new supporting affidavits, are available here.

Animal Models Helping to Combat Zika Virus

The Zika virus has reached pandemic levels in Latin America and experts believe that it will spread to all of North America, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to recently declare the virus a “global public health emergency.”  Spread mainly through mosquito bites, Zika typically causes an illness similar to a mild form of dengue fever but the most urgent concern is a possible connection to microcephaly in infants and Guillain–Barré syndrome in some patients.  At the moment, no treatment or vaccine for the virus is available but rest assured researchers are working diligently to combat the pandemic with animal models on the front lines.  Yesterday, the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) released an interesting overview on the animal research involved in Zika research.

Animal research will be a critical component in discoveries leading to preventing the spread of Zika.  Dr. Franics Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) agrees: “It is now critically important to confirm, through careful epidemiological and animal studies, whether or not a causal link exists between Zika virus infections in pregnant women and microcephaly in their newborn babies.” Researchers at the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) highlighted their intent to expedite Zika research and noted in a release, “Studies to develop animal models to study ZIKV pathogenesis (especially neurological manifestations and teratogenic potential) and evaluate candidate therapeutics and vaccines.”

As with every challenge to global health, animal research will be an indispensable resource at every stage of the Zika outbreak.  To learn more and to read FBR’s overview, please click here.

BREAKING NEWS: White House Announces Specifics of Cancer Moonshot Task Force

As you’ll recall, President Barack Obama announced during his January 12 State of the Union address the creation of an initiative to make stronger strides towards curing cancer.  Today, the White House released specific details on how this “moonshot,” as the President put it, would take shape.

The White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force, a collection of over thirteen science and research oriented entities, will be established within the Office of the Vice President and be funded and managed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  The Task Force will work in conjunction with many departments and agencies to accelerate the understanding of cancer, improve patient access, encourage the development of innovative treatments, and to identify and address any unnecessary regulatory burdens that hinder research.

To learn more about the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force, please see news coverage in The Hill or click here to read today’s release from the White House.

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