Scientific Research Coming to the Aid of Olympians in Rio

The Olympics are an exciting time. Every four years it gives nations the opportunity to showcase the world’s greatest athletes. Olympians face a tremendous amount of adversity and challenges in reaching for the gold medal. Unfortunately for some athletes, one of those challenges comes in the form of asthma. Earlier this week the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) took a closer look at Olympians, asthma, and animal research and testing in a very interesting blog post.

Even though Olympians represent an elite segment of society, their susceptibility to asthma is on-par with the average person. Eight percent of Olympic athletes, according to a recent study by the University of Western Australia, live with asthma. That’s the same percentage as the American public. But asthma doesn’t stop them. In the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, 17% of cyclists and 19% of swimmers were diagnosed with asthma. Those asthmatic athletes went on to win 29 and 33 percent of the medals, respectively, in those sports. During the 2012 Olympic Games in London, 700 of approximately 10,000 competing athletes were diagnosed with asthma and, surprisingly, they were almost twice as likely to win a medal as their non-asthmatic peers. If trends from past Olympic Games continue, there may be similar statistics in Rio this summer.

Animal research and testing likely has had an impact on the success of these competitors who otherwise may not have been able to compete. In the 1940’s, cats and frogs were influential in the development of the earliest asthma medications.  Guinea pigs, rabbits, and rats have been critical in perfecting those medications and in the development of the inhaler in the 1960’s. Thanks to those animals many athletes have been given the opportunity to represent their nation in the sports they love.

So while you’re watching your favorite Olympic event don’t forget that many of the athletes you’re watching, whether they took ibuprofen for pain relief while training or currently use medications to treat chronic asthma, in some way owe their success to products of animal research. In fact some may say that animal research has already won a gold medal for its victories in the race against disease.

To read FBR’s interesting and informative coverage of animal research and testing helping Olympians, please click here.

Dogs Providing Valuable Insight into Human and Canine Diabetes

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3% of the population, have diabetes. Diabetes 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.  Doctors know that a healthy diet, exercise, avoiding tobacco products, and maintaining proper body weight are important factors in prevention but still more needs to be done to unlock better treatments and medications. That’s why researchers are looking at some of our canine friends to help people and dogs.

Recently, the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) took a close look at the interesting subject of diabetes in dogs. We’ve all seen them before: dogs who like to eat and subsequently gain weight. That added weight can render them susceptible to a disease commonly associated with humans: diabetes. Thankfully, just in the same way that animal research has helped human diabetics, dogs are enjoying the results of those studies. If injectable insulin treatments aren’t effective, oral medications like Acarbose, a drug that inhibits carbohydrates’ ability to be converted into simple sugars, can be prescribed. Scientists are even exploring gene therapy to cure diabetic dogs. By injecting functional genes that integrated into the dogs’ genome, the dogs’ systems were able to sense and respond to blood sugar level changes. Gene therapy has been successful in maintaining normal blood sugar levels for more than four years after treatment. Because diabetes is dogs is similar to type 1 diabetes in humans, this treatment has the potential to be a big breakthrough for both dogs and people.

To read FBR’s post about the interesting subject of how animal research is benefitting dogs, too, please click here.

2016 Rally for Medical Research Hill Day Registration Open

The Rally for Medical Research has opened registration for the 2016 Hill Day, scheduled to take place Thursday, September 22.

This Capitol Hill event began in 2013 and includes nearly 300 national organizations coming together for the Rally to raise awareness about the importance of continued investment in medical research, leading to more progress, more hope and more lives saved.  Its ultimate purpose is to call on federal policymakers to make funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) a national priority.

Additional details about the day’s activities and registration information are available here.  If you have any questions, please contact

2016 Michael E. DeBakey Journalism Award Winners Announced

The Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) has announced the winners of the 15th annual Michael E. DeBakey Journalism Awards. Named in honor of world-renowned heart surgeon and FBR’s late chairman, Dr. Michael E. DeBakey, the awards recognize outstanding journalism highlighting recent medical discoveries and scientific breakthroughs that includes the humane and responsible use of animal models. An awards dinner to honor the winners will be held on Wednesday, September 7 in Washington, D.C.

The 2016 Michael E. DeBakey Journalism Award winners are:

For more information about the Michael E. DeBakey Journalism Awards, please visit FBR's website by clicking here.

NABR congratulates this year’s winners and applauds them for their coverage of the important role animals play in lifesaving and life-improving research.

Yesterday’s NABR Webinar Now Available for Online Viewing

Did you miss yesterday’s NABR webinar?  Want to watch it again?  Interested in hosting a lunch-and-learn opportunity for your staff?  You’re in luck. As is customary, NABR has posted yesterday’s presentation, “Q&A with the USDA: The Next Generation” and it is available for online, on-demand viewing.

Please click here to view “Q&A with the USDA: The Next Generation.”  You will need your NABR members-only log-in credentials to watch the presentation.

You can find all of NABR’s past webinars, including this one, in an online library in the Members Only section of our website.

If you have problems logging in or have any questions about the webinar, please contact us at

Bill to Address Regulatory Burden Introduced in U.S. House

On June 24, Representative Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) introduced the University Regulation Streamlining and Harmonization Act of 2016 (H.R. 5583), a bill to streamline and harmonize Federal research regulations at institutions of higher education, and for other purposes. Current co-sponsors are Reps. Tom Graves (R-GA), Randy Hultgren (R-IL), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), and Reid J. Ribble (R-WI).  H.R. 5583 was jointly referred to two committees, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

In a letter to Congressman Lipinski, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) praised the bill for the steps it takes to streamline and harmonize the increasingly complex and burdensome set of regulations that hamper the conduct of research. While acknowledging that appropriate regulations are necessary to ensure research is conducted in a responsible and ethical manner, FASEB supports the provisions in the bill that would reduce regulatory burden on practicing scientists. In particular, the proposed legislation would establish a Research Policy Board, reporting to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), tasked with reviewing new and existing regulations with an eye toward streamlining requirements.

Because federal regulations governing animal research are among those which may be affected, NABR is encouraged by this interest in reducing regulatory burden and will report any progress of this new proposal and others.

Florida Judge Rules Primate Breeding Facility Approvals Did Not Violate Sunshine Law

A Hendry County judge has ruled against an animal rights group suing over the county's handling of monkey breeding farms. The Animal Legal Defense Fund, on behalf of three county residents, filed a lawsuit alleging county officials violated the Florida Sunshine Law by permitting two primate breeding companies to build or expand facilities in its jurisdiction.

Judge James Sloan ruled the county did not violate state open records laws when it met with officials representing the companies. The judge said Sunshine Laws only apply to boards and commissions, not the staff that work for those elected bodies.  “We are pleased with Judge Sloan’s ruling upholding our constant assertions that Hendry County did not violate Florida’s Government in the Sunshine Law. Our legal team is to be commended, especially County Attorney Mark Lapp,” says Charles Chapman, County Administrator. “Hendry County continues to stand by the rights provided to our property owners contained within the language of our comprehensive plan and land development code.”

The case has attracted local media attention.  One report said about 30 spectators, including independent journalist Jane Velez-Mitchell, attended the first day of the bench trail.

Lupus: How Animal Research and Testing Saved Her Life

We’ve all heard it many times before: research and the knowledge gained from animal models has saved countless lives. Thanks to the efforts of the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) we get to hear one particular story from someone involved in biomedical research.

In the first segment of FBR’s “Share Your Story” series, Jordana Lenon, the public information and outreach specialist for both the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center and the Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, shares her experience with lupus. When months of troubling yet unexplained symptoms became severe enough to land her in the hospital, the diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus soon followed.

Animal research – in part with rhesus macaque monkeys at her own workplace – saved her life in 2011. The once fatal auto-immune disease can be crippling to its victims and destroy cells, tissue, and organs in the body. Jordana describes how a drug she takes to control the disease, Mycophenolate mofetil, or MMF, a mainstay immunosuppressant was developed using mice, rats, dogs, and monkeys in the 1990’s. Today, lupus is primarily studied in mice, some rats, and rhesus monkeys. Veterinary research with dogs is also important as they suffer from arthritis and lupus, as well. Thanks to data gained from these models, Jordana now lives what she describes as a fairly normal life.

Please take a moment to read Jordana’s story. If you’d like to share how animal research and testing has positively impacted your life, please contact FBR at or call (202) 457-0654.

Got Questions? Need Answers? 

If you or your institution need answers or want clarification on something from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and would like to remain anonymous, NABR has something for you.

On Tuesday, July 19 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Drs. Elizabeth Meeks and Bill Stokes, the USDA's Eastern and Western Region Assistant Directors for Animal Welfare Operations, will be live from NABR's Washington, DC headquarters for a special Q&A session to answer your questions or concerns live and on the air.  "Q&A with the USDA: The Next Generation" is NABR's latest edition in the "Q&A with the USDA" series and it will offer you and your team an opportunity that must not be missed.  Best of all, every question will be kept anonymous.

Feel free to share this invitation and if you or anyone on your team would like to attend, please register ASAP. We have a limited number of spots available and space is going quickly.

NABR's "Q&A with the USDA" series has proven to be a very enlightening and enriching opportunity to gain better insight on issues directly from the leadership of USDA Animal Care’s Animal Welfare Operations and we expect next month's presentation to be no different. To view previous "Q&A with the USDA" webinars, please click here. (log-in required)

Please send questions to Questions must be submitted in advance and will be kept anonymous.  They will be reviewed and formatted to prevent duplication and will be answered in the order they are received, so please submit them as soon as possible.

Again, we expect a high number of registrations for this webinar so please register ASAP to guarantee your spot!

register now

Pat Summitt’s Legendary Support for Alzheimer’s Research

Pat Summitt, the renowned basketball coach and champion for Alzheimer’s research, passed away this morning. As head coach of the University of Tennessee’s Lady Volunteers basketball team she achieved legendary status as the winningest coach in NCAA basketball history. Aside from her dominance on the court, she will forever be remembered as a fierce advocate to help find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

After being diagnosed with early-onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type, she built the Pat Summitt Foundation to help raise awareness, fund research, and support families facing the disease. Her foundation has awarded $800,000 in research grants and has united scientists working for a cure.

In 2014, the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) produced a promotional video featuring Pat, her tenacious fight against the disease, and discussed how animal research and testing has helped advanced progress against Alzheimer’s. Animal research and testing has played a significant role in the pursuit of an Alzheimer’s cure. Scientists are able to study rodents with the same amyloid protein in the brain that is characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. That model allows researchers to explore options to remove or block the protein. Alongside mice, monkeys have played and continue to play an indispensable role in Alzheimer’s research.  Researchers looking at what is happening in a healthy monkey brain helps scientists better understand how the human brain works, and the role of cognitive and motor problems in diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s research is critical. It is estimated that 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s and current costs associated with the disease are $236 billion. The Alzheimer’s Association projects that the disease is estimated to cost more than $1 trillion by 2050 if a treatment is not discovered.

Pat was an amazing coach and a passionate advocate for a cure. To read FBR’s coverage on Pat’s legacy, please click here.