FBR Releases Final Segment in Three Part Series on Animal Research and Diabetes

Yesterday, the team at the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) released the third and final part of its three segment series covering the involvement of animal models in diabetes research.  Part three of the series covers how biomedical research in veterinary health, the development of implantable devices for people living with diabetes, and the identification of a new type of diabetes thanks to the assistance of animal models.

Thanks to many years of animal research, species of all kinds are benefitting from the research.  Insulin, for example, was discovered with the assistance of canine models and because of gene therapy, Type 1 diabetes in dogs has been cured.  But it does not stop there.  Scientists have been working on new ways for the 29 million Americans with diabetes to manage their care, including the development of implantable devices to help monitor blood sugar, replace insulin injections, and in some cases even place insulin-producing cells under the skin.  Such groundbreaking breakthroughs would not be possible without the contribution of dogs, cats, and pigs.

To read more about these and other exciting developments in diabetes research, please click here.

If you have not done so already, please take a moment to read NABR’s coverage of part one and part two of FBR’s series.

Nancy Reagan: A Legacy as a Science Advocate

On Sunday, March 6, Nancy Reagan, wife of former President Ronald Reagan, died at the age of 94.  Besides being the First Lady, she was a devoted wife and mother, key advisor, fashion icon, and an anti-drug champion, launching the “Just Say NO” campaign.  But did you know she was a staunch supporter of medical research?

Earlier today the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) took a closer look at the First Lady’s role as an advocate for science.  After President Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1994 she became a vocal proponent for research into brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.  The Regan’s also founded the Ronald and Nancy Reagan Research Institute to focus on, understand, and treat Alzheimer’s.  Information gathered from mice, stem cells, and primates have been utilized in this important hunt for a cure.

Nancy Reagan’s accomplishments will be remembered for a long time and her advocacy for scientific research will never be forgotten.  To learn more about her focus on improving research opportunities, please read FBR’s story here.

Neuroscience Leaders Say Responsible Animal Research Critical for Brain Research Progress

Society for Neuroscience (SfN) president Hollis Cline and Mar Sanchez, chair of the SfN Committee on Animals in Research, have responded to a National Public Radio (NPR) commentary by Samuel Garner claiming “The ‘Necessity’ of Animal Research Does Not Mean It’s Ethical.”

The SFN leaders first noted the Garner piece “does not reflect the unassailable reality that responsible animal research remains essential to advance our understanding of the brain and to treat its diseases. Given the tremendous human and economic toll of brain disorders worldwide—including autism, depression, schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease—it is among those areas of research in which continued progress is most critically needed.”  They then describe the ways in which “animal research is conducted under extensive regulation and oversight to assure humane and compassionate animal care.”

Read their full letter here on the SFN website.

Animal Extremist Sentenced to Three Years and $200,000 in Restitution

In federal court Monday, February 29, Kevin Johnson was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay $200,000 in restitution to the fur farm owner victims of his sabotage, according to the Chicago Tribune.  Johnson, 29, pleaded guilty last year to one count of conspiring to travel across state lines to interfere with the operations of an animal enterprise, a violation of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA). In handing down the sentence, U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve said she was troubled by the "escalation" of Johnson's activism over the years and that previous stints behind bars had not seemed to deter him. She also noted that his actions on the mink farm caused suffering for many of the animals he professed to want to save. In all, more than 550 of the minks died, many painfully, the judge said.  The fur farm owners were forced to close their longstanding business and lost their retirement funds in the process. Before he was sentenced, Johnson choked back tears and apologized for the attack, saying he has finally realized after nearly a decade of arrests that committing criminal acts was not an acceptable form of protest.

“(Johnson) has stalked, stolen, harassed, and threatened to make his point," Assistant U.S. Attorney Bethany Biesenthal wrote in a court filing, "... his past shows an escalating dangerousness."  Records show Johnson has a long criminal record in California starting in 2006. Video from the protests depicted him screaming into a bullhorn outside Pom Wonderful executives' homes, threatening to harm them and their families, according to prosecutors. Three years later, Johnson was arrested after threatening UCLA professors over their use of animals in research. He later pleaded guilty to criminal stalking and served about 1 1/2 years in prison, prosecutors said.  In May 2012, five months after his release on parole, Johnson was arrested for shoplifting and inciting a riot, prosecutors said. Later that year he was arrested again for attempting to burglarize a pharmacy, and when authorities searched a laptop computer found in Johnson's car, they found personal information about scientific researchers and their families, according to prosecutors.

An accomplice, Tyler Lang of Los Angeles, also pleaded guilty last year to the same charge as Johnson.  Lang is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge St. Eve on March 23, 2016.

Type 2 Diabetes: How Are Animal Research and Testing Advancing Treatments?

As we reported recently, the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) launched a three-part series taking a closer look at the valuable contributions animal models have made in the hunt to treat and cure diabetes. Yesterday, FBR released the second part of the series, “How Animal Testing and Research is Advancing Treatments for Type 2 Diabetes.”

A metabolic disorder in which the body’s cells don’t sufficiently use insulin from the pancreas to turn glucose into energy, type 2 diabetes results in high blood sugar levels.  Genetic and lifestyle factors, like obesity and lack of exercise, are the primary causes.  Obesity is rising globally and it was estimated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that in 2014 22 million Americans had the disease, compared to 5.5 million in 1980.

Science, once again, has turned to animal models to stem the tide of diseases like type 2 diabetes.  A special line of mice has been developed that have the obesity and glucose intolerance that leads to type 2 diabetes.  Another rodent model, a rat, is even an identical model of human type 2 diabetes.  Animal research and testing in diabetes research is not new but it continues to be a priority for science as 1 in 3 Americans has prediabetes.

To read how rodents and even Gila monsters are helping researchers find a cure for type 2 diabetes, please click here to read, “How Animal Testing and Research is Advancing Treatments for Type 2 Diabetes.”

The first segment of the series, “Animal Research Creates Treatments and Advances for Type 1 Diabetes,” can be found here.

Please be sure to share this interesting coverage of diabetes research with your friends, family, colleagues, and on social media.

And the Oscar Goes to…

The Oscars aren’t for a few days but the team at the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) has a suggestion for the Award for the Best Supporting Role: the rat and the mouse.  The contributions of these valuable research animals have been valuable to researchers in the ongoing medical drama that is finding cures and improving human and animal life.  In their latest release, “Presenting the Award for Best Supporting Role in a Medical Drama,” FBR takes a look at some of these contributions and discusses the importance of those discoveries.

We as humans share about 97% of our DNA with rodent models so it makes sense that 95% of animals in research are rats and mice.  For over 200 years, they have been indispensable in securing today’s cures and therapies all while paving the way for more.  Rodent models have helped sequence the human genome and develop the use of human embryonic stem cells to treat spinal cord injuries.  Rats and mice are essential in research into Alzheimer ’s disease, cancer, blindness, diabetes, muscular dystrophy, Fragile X syndrome, high cholesterol, HIV/AIDS, influenza, meningitis B, multiple sclerosis, radiation sickness, SARS, stroke, tuberculosis vaccination, and tumor metastasis, just to name a few.

Please take a moment to read FBR’s report, “Presenting the Award for Best Supporting Role in a Medical Drama,” and share it with your friends, family, colleagues, and on Twitter and Facebook.

With the huge volume of success made possible by rats and mice, they are well-deserving of a Lifetime Achievement Award.

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 info@nabr.org 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.

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