FBR President Pens Thought-Provoking Piece in The Washington Times

The Washington Times ran an opinion piece by Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) President Matthew Bailey on Wednesday detailing the discoveries that animal research delivers to both humans and their beloved pets. The piece starts with the story of Dover, a 7-year-old bull mastiff suffering from lymphoma which caused him to go blind. Dover was enrolled in a clinical trial at Tufts University and the results were fantastic. The treatment restored the dog’s sight overnight and currently his cancer is in remission.

Take another example from the University of Pennsylvania, where researchers are working to save dogs with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. Researchers there have developed genetically-modified bacteria that, once injected, enables the dog’s own immune system to attack the tumors. At University of California, Davis they have tested a treatment for heart disease which affects 1 out of 7 cats. UC Davis and Kansas State University have also teamed up to develop an antiviral drug to combat feline infectious peritonitis.

It is important for the research community to showcase stories like these because they illustrate the focus of FBR’s latest campaign, “Love Animals? Support Animal Research”  because animal lovers should be the most ardent supporters of animal research. Animal research not only saves human lives, but also many pets, as well. Forty-three million U.S. households have a dog, thirty-one million have a cat, and ninety percent of those Americans consider their pets part of their family. Unfortunately, our beloved pets suffer from cancer, diabetes, kidney and heart disease, and other ailments, just like their human counterparts. But animal research can provide hope for our furry family members while providing a foundation of scientific data and understanding to treat humans. To read Bailey’s piece click here and be sure to visit www.FBResearch.org to learn more about FBR’s “Love Animals? Support Animal Research” campaign.

Non-Human Primates Critical to Development of New Migraine Medication

The Hill reported on May 17 that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new medication to prevent migraine headaches. The new drug is called erenumab-aooe, trademarked as Aimovig, and is produced by Amgen and Novartis. In trials, Aimovig helped patients experience at least a 50 percent reduction in the total number of days in which they suffered a migraine.

Nonhuman primate (NHP) research was critical to testing the drug’s safety for pregnant woman and their unborn children. The FDA states, “No adverse effects on offspring were observed when pregnant monkeys were administered erenumab-aooe throughout gestation. Serum erenumab-aooe exposures in pregnant monkeys were greater than those in humans at clinical doses.”

Nonhuman primates have been, and will continue to be, critical to medical research. The Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) provides an excellent white paper and brochure on this topic, and we encourage you to read both.

USDA-APHIS Will Not Recognize Third-Party Inspections and Certifications

On May 25, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) released a statement which reads, “it will not establish new criteria for recognizing third-party inspection and certification programs when determining the Agency’s own inspection frequency under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).”

APHIS had announced a series of public listening sessions starting in December of 2017 to hear feedback from the regulated community and others. APHIS also posted a Federal Register notice in January 2018 asking for written comments through March 21. In the end, APHIS received over 35,000 written comments, many of which were submitted by animal rights groups. APHIS asserts the vast majority of comments they received expressed concern with AWA compliance being in jeopardy if third-party inspections were utilized.

APHIS continues to support its risk-based inspection system when determining the frequency of their AWA inspections. You can view the listening session comments here and the Federal Register comments here.

Thanks to Animal Research, Experimental Cancer Treatment Cures Dog

While animal rights groups have squarely targeted the use of canines in research, a May 16 article in the Boston Globe serves as a reminder of similarities between dogs and humans. Man’s best friend shares the same environment as their human counterparts and therefore suffers many of the same ailments and health challenges. That connection could be the key to unlocking treatments and cures for both species.

Consider the story of Drambuie, a golden retriever who was diagnosed with a sarcoma, a type of cancerous tumor which attacks soft tissues. Drambuie’s prognosis was not good, so his owner enrolled him in a clinical trial for a new sarcoma treatment at Tuft’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Cheryl London, a veterinary oncologist, has been testing a new form of immunotherapy, injecting a piece of DNA that allows the dog’s own immune system to destroy the sarcoma.

About one month after the injection, a surgery was scheduled to remove the shrunken tumor from Drambuie, yet none could be found. The immunotherapy had eliminated the tumor.

These types of clinical trials in canines are helping researchers develop the next generation of cancer treatments for humans, proving yet again animal research advances medicine for our furry companions, as well as us.

NIH Working Group Says Chimpanzees Should Not Go to Sanctuary if Their Health Could Be Endangered

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Working Group on Assessing the Safety of Relocating At-Risk Chimpanzees released their report last Friday in which they conclude, “Chimpanzees should be relocated to the federal sanctuary system unless relocation would place the chimpanzee's life, safety, and welfare at extreme risk.” The federal sanctuary system referenced in this report is Chimp Haven in Keithville, LA. NABR has long argued that chimpanzees should not be relocated if their health, safety, or welfare were put at risk by the move. The report goes on to state if there is a disagreement between a research facility and sanctuary, an “independent expert veterinary opinion should be sought to inform the relocation decision.” However, the report included no details about who the independent third party should be nor how impartiality would be determined.

The working group report comes in the wake of revelations that moving elderly or ailing chimpanzees from research facilities to sanctuaries had been adversely affecting their health, and in several cases the move was fatal. Researchers have noted many chimpanzees suffered or died needlessly as a result of transfers to Chimp Haven, as detailed by Speaking of Research. In fact Wired profiled 13 chimpanzees who were moved to the facility in 2014-2015; within 15 months, nine of the chimps had died.

As of March 2018, 232 of the 504 chimpanzees owned by NIH have been moved to the federal sanctuary. Of the remaining chimpanzees that have not been moved, 177 have health issues that would be negatively impacted by relocation. NIH plans to open a 60-day public comment period before NIH Director Francis Collins decides on further chimpanzee relocation. Director Collins ordered an end to NIH funding of chimpanzee research in November 2015.

DxE Activists Charged with Multiple Felonies

Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) has been in the news lately for their self-publicized break-ins and thefts of animals in what they deem “rescues.” DxE co-founder Wayne Hsiung and five other activists are facing felony charges in Sanpete County, UT for theft from a turkey farm in January of 2017. It is also being reported that five DxE activists, including Hsiung, are facing new felony charges in Beaver County, UT for the July 2017 theft of pigs from Circle Four Farms, owned by Smithfield Farms. All five activists are being charged with engaging in a pattern of unlawful activity, two counts of burglary committed against an animal enterprise, and theft of livestock. It was DxE’s own video, profiled by the New York Times, that is now serving as evidence in the theft.

The group brazenly claims to have engaged in several such thefts documented here: https://www.directactioneverywhere.com/open-rescue/#past-rescues.  DxE is using these thefts to push for what they call “Julie’s Law” at the municipal level, a proposal aimed at giving animals legal standing in local courts by granting rights currently reserved for humans.

DxE supports amending the U.S. Constitution to ban all animal research and animal agriculture. Hsiung expressly wrote of the hypothetical future he envisions: “The year is 2060. Four years ago, a constitutional amendment was passed enshrining animal rights in the US Constitution. And today, we are shutting down the last slaughterhouse on Earth.” DxE provides more detail in “The Roadmap to Animal Liberation.”

Don’t Miss NABR’s July Webinar!

NABR is once again pleased to announce the return of one of its most requested webinars... the "Sixth Edition of "Q&A with the USDA."

Join Drs. Elizabeth Meek and Bill Stokes, the Eastern and Western Region Assistant Directors for Animal Welfare Operations on Tuesday, July 24 frmo 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Eastern in what will provide NABR members with a unique opportunity to ask questions directly to the leadership of the USDA Animal Care’s Animal Welfare Operations. They are directly responsible for the oversight of the inspection and reporting process and this webinar should not be missed.

Since the last Q&A webinar a lot has happened, including two Requests for Information (RFIs) addressing reducing administrative/regulatory burden, the release of two new Tech Notes, the possible incorporation of announced inspections into regulatory process and the launching of a new “Frequently Requested Records” page on their Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) e-reading room. To better understand what impact these and other ongoing changes may have on your institution, you should take advantage of this unique opportunity provided to NABR members to get your questions concerning compliance with the Animal Welfare Regulations answered.

Questions must be submitted in advance to info@nabr.org. 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. As in the past, we will schedule the session for an hour, but will continue the webinar until all questions have been addressed.

Concern Grows Over New ‘Pig Virus’ Threat to Public Health

A newly identified pig virus is giving researchers cause for concern after they discovered it can transfer to lab-cultured cells of people and other animal species.

The virus, porcine deltacoronavirus, was first discovered in China in 2012 and detected in U.S. pigs in 2014. No human cases have been documented so far, though researchers are concerned about the virus’ ability to transfer to humans and cause life-threatening issues. Further research will be necessary to discover exactly how transferable the virus is and how susceptible other animals may be.

This case acutely underscores the necessity for animal research in the preservation of both human and animal life.

Farm Bill Amendment for Regulatory Relief Filed in U.S. House

Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC) has filed an amendment to H.R. 2, the 2018 Farm Bill, to address the need to provide regulatory relief for the nation’s animal researchers. The proposed change, as drafted by Rep. Rouzer, replaces the yearly mandate for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspections at animal research facilities with “every three years.” As a draft amendment, it must clear the House Rules Committee. The Senate, which has yet to hammer out their own version of the Farm Bill, has not indicated whether a similar provision will be included. It is important to clarify that this amendment in no way ends USDA's inspections.

NABR strongly supports this move towards regulatory relief for the biomedical research community and improved flexibility for the USDA to focus efforts on bad actors. The National Science Board (NSB) has reported that researchers spend as much as 42% of their time responding to regulatory and administrative burdens. Numerous reports, including the October 2010 report by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR), and the National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR) have made recommendations for reducing regulatory burdens in biomedical research. Additionally, the 21st Century Cures Act signed into law, signed into law on December 13, 2016, mandates that federal agencies work to reduce regulatory burden on the animal research community.

 

VCU Researcher Reminds the Public Why Animal Research is Necessary

"We gotta get people out of the hospital. It's why we do research." That’s what Dr. Bill Dewey, Chair of the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Pharmacology and Toxicology Department, said in a Richmond news article about animal research aimed at curbing the nation’s opioid addiction epidemic.

Per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the opioid epidemic kills 115 people per day in the U.S., and WRIC in Richmond, VA reports there are five ongoing studies at VCU funded by the NIH. In the piece questioning VCU’s research, Dr. Dewey explained that the purpose of VCU’s research with primates is to find pain relief without addiction, a much-needed medical objective.

When asked about the opposition of animal rights groups, he responded, "I disagree with that because I think it's like the story of giving a man a fish… Teaching him how to fish is better." To read and watch Dr. Dewey’s salient comments about the value of animal research studies, please click here.

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