Do Dogs Hold the Key to Beating Cancer?

Over the centuries, dogs have been man’s best friend.  They’ve given us friendship, companionship, love, and protection.  But could they now help science cure cancer?  Today, July 20, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News featured an article on this exciting possibility entitled, “Cancer in Dogs Offers Insight for Humans.”

Through animal research, they just might.  Since sequencing the dog genome several years ago, scientists have discovered strong similarities in dog and human cancers and researchers hope, that through comparative oncology, human cancer research and cure development will learn valuable information from our canine friends.  One of the most notable of these dogs was that of retired North Dakota U.S. Senator Kent Conrad, named Dakota, who participated in a T-cell cancer project at the University of Texas’s M.D. Anderson Cancer Center before passing away in February of 2013.

To learn more about the scientific efforts of researchers and dogs in combating cancer, please read the article by clicking here.

Chicago Sun-Times Prints Opinion Piece by NABR, FBR President

Frankie Trull, President of the National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR) and the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR), has once again been featured in a major news publication lauding the importance of animal research.  On Sunday, July 12, her opinion piece, “In defense of using animals in lab research” was featured by the Chicago Sun-Times, a newspaper that has a Sunday circulation of over 406,000.

In “In defense of using animals in lab research,” she outlines the crucial value that animal models provide in the hunt to improve animal and human health.  She discusses the many similarities that humans have with animal models and charts the benefits that they provide in medical discovery, particularly with macular degeneration.

To read the story, please click here.

The Chicago Sun-Times opinion piece joins NABR and FBR’s media coverage in other nationally recognized publications like the Baltimore Sun, Wall Street Journal, and New York Times.

Johns Hopkins Researchers Receive Golden Goose Award for Accidental, Groundbreaking Discovery with Cats and Primates

Two neurophysiologists, Torsten Wiesel and David Hubel, have worked diligently to make discoveries in understanding our brains’ function and how best to treat childhood cataracts but it was an inadvertent mistake that led them to an important breakthrough.  Through their research with cats and primates, Wiesel and Hubel were pioneers in learning how human minds work by exploring and understanding the physiology behind visual perception in animals.

With this development, coupled with the decades of service to science, Wiesel and the late Hubel have been selected as the second winners of the 2015 Golden Goose Award.  This award, created by Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), honors federally-funded researchers whose endeavors have resulted in significant benefit, although it may have once, initially seemed odd.

To learn more about the Golden Goose Award and Wiesel and Hubel’s serendipitous discovery, please click here.

Animal Activist Pressure Results in House Appropriations Report Language

A months-long, multi-pronged campaign by a variety of animal rights groups against some National Institutes of Health (NIH)-supported research projects involving nonhuman primates has resulted in a reference made in the report accompanying the House Committee on Appropriations bill for FY 2016. Included with many other comments and issues raised in the 263-page report, is this paragraph:

Review of Maternal Deprivation Studies.—The Committee is aware that prominent experts and animal advocacy organizations have raised concerns about the scientific and ethical justifications for maternal deprivation studies involving baby monkeys being conducted in both intramural and extramural NIH funded laboratories. The Committee is further aware that the NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare opened an investigation in response to these allegations on September 9, 2014. The investigations consulted with research investigators, the USDA, nonhuman primate center scientists, veterinarians, animal care staff and other relevant experts. As a result of the investigation, several modifications were made to the protocol and several procedures removed. Accordingly, the Committee requests NIH to conduct a review of its ethical policies and processes with respect to nonhuman primate research subjects, in consultation with outside experts, to ensure it has appropriate justification for animal research protocols and to provide an update on these efforts in the fiscal year 2017 budget request.

NIH Announces Sally Rockey’s Departure

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Deputy Director for Extramural Research Sally Rockey, PhD, will be leaving her post to become the Director of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR). In a June 11 announcement, NIH Director Francis Collins said, “On the one hand, I’m very happy for Sally and proud that she will be bringing her considerable skills to the leadership of this new and important endeavor…. On the other hand, I will greatly miss her wisdom, courage, and creativity as we tackle the knotty issues associated with extramural grant funding, especially in this particularly stark budget climate. Sally has done an outstanding job of steering the NIH through many challenging times and we will be forever in her debt.” Dr. Collins said that Dr. Rockey will continue at NIH until mid-September “while we mount a vigorous search for her successor.”

Authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill, FFAR operates as a non-profit corporation seeking and accepting private donations in order to fund research activities that focus on problems of national and international significance. Congress provided $200 million for the foundation, which must be matched by non-federal funds as projects are identified and approved.

The Animal Research Behind the Top 25 Most Prescribed Drugs

Has Your Doctor Prescribed One of These Medications?

In an effort to continue educating the public and key decision makers about the importance of animal research, NABR and the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) have just posted a listing of the top 25 most prescribed drugs and the animal models that helped develop them.

Compiled using publicly available information from the FDA, the Top 25 Most Prescribed Drugs table is easy to read and clearly demonstrates the indispensable role animal models play in the drug development process. The table can be customized to sort by species so readers can learn which pharmaceuticals were developed thanks to the assistance of rodents, nonhuman primates (NHP), dogs, or rabbits.

Chances are someone you know is taking one of the most commonly prescribed FDA-approved medications on this list. These include medications for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, asthma, and diabetes; all of which could not have been developed without the assistance of animal research. Yet, a common tactic by opponents of lifesaving and life-improving biomedical research with animals is to attempt to discredit its effectiveness.  With this information, the evidence is irrefutable. Please share it with the public, your colleagues, and cross post on social media to help increase awareness of the necessity of animal models in drug development.

See the Top 25 Drugs: 
http://www.nabr.org/biomedical-research/laboratory-animals/animal-research-behind-top-drugs/

Download PDF Copy:

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NABR Releases Analysis of Animal Rights Federal FOIA Requests in FY14

You have received a FOIA request.  You know what they want from your research institution.  But do you know what animal rights groups are looking for from other research institutions?  Do you know how many such requests were filed at federal agencies?  Do you know which groups are the most frequent requesters?  Do you know how much these requests cost the agencies?  Now you will.  Following on the heels of NABR’s successful analysis of animal rights FOIA requests in 2013, NABR has released “A Review of Animal Rights FOIA Requests FY14.”

This is an in-depth report of each and every Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request made in FY14 to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Institutes of Health by animal rights groups that you won’t find anywhere else.  NABR’s experts have broken these requests down in an easy to read format to quickly understand the commonly requested information, frequency of requests by party, and an examination of the cost to NIH and USDA.

As animal rights groups continue to rely on FOIA to gather intelligence about research institutions for targeting purposes, it is important to understand their tactics and the true impact of such requests.  Please download “A Review of Animal Rights FOIA Requests FY14” by clicking below and share it with your staff and FOIA offices.

 
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Society for Neuroscience (SfN) Pens Letter to Science on Researcher Harassment

On May 8, Steven Hyman, President of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) and SfN Committee on Animals in Research Chair Michael Goldberg submitted a letter to Science in response to the article, “Researcher Drops Primate Work.”  The letter was printed in the June 12 issue of Science.

The letter highlights the great value of humane animal research in the endeavor for medical progress in the fields of animal and human health.  Drs. Hyman and Goldberg write, “Research on animals, including non-human primates, provides the basis for breakthroughs in the treatment of cancer, heart disease, and devastating infectious diseases like HIV, Ebola, and influenza. Monkey research played a key role in the development of deep-brain stimulation for treating conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.”

Most importantly, Drs. Hyman and Goldberg point to the troubling and disruptive actions by extremist elements seeking to derail the hunt for cures and therapies.  “It is unacceptable that researchers worldwide are subject to harassment, threats of violence, illegal taping, and property damage, and we urge aggressive enforcement of laws that protect responsible research, scientific institutions, and scientists,” they write.  This behavior, they continued, “will only lengthen the time needed to better understand complex neural systems, which are crucial to find treatments more than 1,000 disorders.”

To read the letter, please click here.

UK’s Institute of Cancer Research Communicates Animal Research to the Public

Today, June 12, Dr. Eva Sharpe, the Science Information and Policy Manager for the Institute of Cancer Research in London published a blog posting discussing the several ways that she and her colleagues are educating the public on the role animal research plays in their work to cure cancer.

From public engagement to aiding the production of a BBC documentary, Dr. Sharpe and the ICR staff have been very busy over the past year and their openness serves as a model for the research community in the campaign to educate those unsure about animal research.

We hope that you’ll find Dr. Sharpe’s posting helpful in assisting you in informing the public on the vital role animal models play in finding cures and therapies for animal and human benefit.  To read the posting, please click here.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Labels Captive Chimpanzees Endangered

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has announced on their website a new rule elevating the status of captive chimpanzees in the U.S. from “threatened” to “endangered.” This new ruling effectively means that biomedical research with the chimpanzee model may become difficult, if not impossible, to conduct.  Of the 36 proposed species for relisting, only captive chimpanzees would have an impact on scientific discovery. It is perplexing how reclassifying captive chimpanzees in the U.S. as endangered, which have been purpose bred for research, would result in any material benefit to the species in the wild. Ongoing research projects involving the chimpanzee model are now required to request a “take” permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a potentially lengthy process that will likely result in the discontinuation of  a number of current studies.

In 2013, NABR provided recommendations to the agency, explaining the past, current, and future potential benefits of chimpanzee research on both human and ape health.

Chimpanzees have been an important part of medical advancement in the United States for decades. The contribution the species has made to medicine benefits nearly every child born in America today. Most children get their first dose of the Hepatitis B vaccine at birth, and the Hepatitis A vaccine is typically administered at age 1. Without the chimpanzee model, which naturally carries the virus, researchers would not have been able to produce vaccines for either Hepatitis A or Hepatitis B.

The Service acknowledges in its rulemaking notice that chimpanzees suffer from many of the same diseases humans do by stating, “…diseases, including Marburg virus, polio, anthrax, pneumonia, human respiratory syncytical virus, and human metapneumovirus have resulted in widespread death of chimpanzees, even within national parks.” To suggest that medical research with the chimpanzee model does not benefit both the human and chimpanzee species simply is inaccurate.

The full impact the new FWS ruling will have on biomedical research is unclear.  However, it would be unfortunate, even grave, should an infectious disease outbreak occur where human lives are at stake and a chimpanzee model could expedite development of life-saving medicines.

 

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