FBR Statement on End to Chimpanzee Research

The Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) learned with concern of the recent NIH decision to retire all NIH-owned chimpanzees, ending its support for research on the species. Given the cost and difficulty of moving over 300 chimpanzees, who are currently well-situated in established colonies and receiving the highest quality of care, FBR believes it would make more sense to let the animals remain in place, which will have the additional benefit of maintaining a study model should the need arise. The decision to retire even the reserve colony seems to run contrary to the Institute of Medicine’s report, which stated “chimpanzees may prove uniquely important to unraveling the mystery of diseases that are unknown today”.

To read how chimpanzees have helped medical research, please click here.

Senate HELP Committee Holds Nomination Hearing for FDA Commissioner

Yesterday, November 17, the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing to consider Dr. Robert Califf’s nomination by the President to serve as the new commissioner of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).  If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Dr. Califf will replace Dr. Stephen Ostroff who has served as acting commissioner since Dr. Margaret Hamburg stepped down in March of this year.

During the hearing, most of the Senators praised Dr. Califf but he did receive tough questioning from Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (D-VT) regarding his connection with the pharmaceutical industry and the cost of prescription drugs.  Senator Sanders said he would vote against Dr. Califf’s nomination.  The nomination of Dr. Califf, a cardiologist and clinical trial expert from Duke University, is supported by medical groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.  A date for a vote confirming Dr. Califf has not been scheduled.

A recording of the committee hearing and Dr. Califf’s testimony can be viewed by clicking here.  To read more about yesterday’s hearing, please see the New York Times’ coverage here.

BREAKING NEWS: Closure of NIH Chimp Program Could Have Public Health Implications, FBR Warns

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is winding down its chimpanzee research program, with its remaining animals being moved to sanctuaries. The organization retired many of its chimps two years ago but has kept a small population for certain research of high public health importance, and observers warn eliminating that resource could have serious implications. "Given NIH’s primary mission to protect public health, it seems surprising," says Frankie Trull, President of the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR).


To read Nature's report on this breaking news, please click here.

Announcing the FBR SmartBrief, FBR’s Brand-New Newsletter

Earlier today, the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) launched a brand-new weekly e-newsletter titled, FBR SmartBrief. 

This new news publication, sent straight to your email’s inbox every Wednesday, will deliver the most important and timely news in biomedical research to the science and medical community.  The FBR SmartBrief will bring you the latest and greatest news stories covering research breakthroughs, animal health, animal rights, animal law, industry, and more.

NABR encourages you to sign-up for the FBR SmartBrief and to share it with your friends, family, and colleagues.  You can sign-up for the newsletter by clicking here.  If you have any feedback or content suggestions please feel free to email FBR at info@fbresearch.org.

Lab Animal Transportation FAQ’s Now Available on NABR.org

Recently, those who oppose animal research have engaged in harassment, protests, and public smear campaigns to end the transportation of laboratory animals even though they play an indispensable role in human and veterinary research.  To assist the research community in presenting factual information on laboratory animal research, NABR has just added a new page to its website, FAQ’s on Transportation of Lab Animals, to help educate the public and members of the media.

These FAQ’s cover several different points about the issue of lab animal transport from the necessity of animal research to how they are transported from point A to point B, even discussing the pitfalls of eliminating this important piece of the research puzzle. The FAQ’s have also been added to NABR’s No Cargo, No Cure page which includes more information on animal transport including support statements from a number of American and international institutions.

We encourage you to share these FAQ’s with your friends, family, colleagues, and on social media.  Please click here to view the FAQ’s or visit NABR’s No Cargo, No Cure page.

Animal Research Provides New Insight into Congenital Heart Defects

Findings published in the international journal Human Molecular Genetics shed new light into the causes of congenital heart defects associated with a rare developmental disorder.  Cornelia de Lange Syndrome (CdLS) can occur in up to 1 in 10,000 births globally and approximately 70% of those with CdLS will have congenital heart defects, according to an article posted on HealthCanal.com.  Animal research, specifically with zebrafish, is giving scientists more information on heart defects in people with CdLS.

Researchers at the University of Otago in New Zealand found that zebrafish embryos developed almost normally when a specific protein was partially depleted but these embryos exhibited the presence of heart structural abnormalities.

To learn more about CdLS and this discovery, please read the article by clicking here.

University of Wisconsin Researchers Learning More About PTSD from Rats, Mice

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a mental condition that some develop after enduring stressful, often life-threatening situations.  Abuse, violence, assault, combat and other events are contributing factors to the condition that many are suffering from today.  It can be a chronic illness and according to an article in The Badger Herald, the University of Wisconsin’s newspaper, researchers at the university are using rodent models to learn more about PTSD and hopefully find a cure.

These researchers used rats and mice to analyze the effect of stressful events on the chemicals within the brain.  These analyzations provided a better understanding of how these chemicals are used by the brain to reconcile responses to distress.  According to researchers engaged in the study, rats and mice were used because of the close similarities of their anatomy and chemistry to that of humans.

“We are pretty excited because we now have a way of tying all the information together,” one researcher said. “We can start to test whether or not if we change how much of a chemical is available, we can prevent PTSD from developing.”

To learn more about this study, please read “Similarities between rodent, human minds used in PTSD research,” by clicking here.

Dog Study Shows Promise for Curing Late-Stage Eye Disease

According to an article posted on BioPharma-Reporter.com, a significant new study with canines successfully preserved the vision of dogs suffering with naturally occurring, late-stage retinitis pigmentosa.  The article, “Animal study shows benefit from gene therapy in late-stage eye disease,” notes that until now, studies had shown promise of gene therapy but only if used in early stages of the disease.

This taxpayer-funded research, funded by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Eye Institute (NEI) showed improved retinal cells and prevented vision loss for two years in dogs.  This is an important advancement as NEI scientists expect human trials to being in a few years.  Retinitis pigmentosa is the most common inherited disease causing degeneration of the retina with approximately 1 in 4,000 peopled impacted by the mutation of the RPGR (retinitis pigmentosa GTPase regulator) gene.

To learn more about this discovery, please read the article by clicking here.

NABR Compiles Valuable Information on Importance of Cats in Biomedical Research

In order to provide NABR’s members and the public with the most current and vital information about the important role that specific animal models play in the endeavor to conquer illness and disease, NABR has posted a page about the influence of feline models on biomedical research.  The information about cats joins NABR’s pages about other research animals like rodents, dogs, and nonhuman primates.

NABR’s review of feline models covers the influence they have had on aging and Alzheimer’s, cancer, genetics, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, and vision research.  There are between 75-80 million cats in American homes today and given their immense popularity, this resource should provide a better understanding into the work to keep cats living longer and healthier lives while helping humans, as well.

To read NABR’s review of feline research, please take a moment to click here.

Blast from the Past: C. Everett Koop Explains Importance of Animal Research

Most are familiar with Dr. C. Everett Koop’s illustrious medical career full of amazing achievements.  But did you know that the former Surgeon General was vocal about the importance of ethical and humane research with animals?  Twenty-five years ago Dr. Koop was featured in a brief public service announcement produced by the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) very strongly explaining how significant animal research has been on modern medicine.

Please take a moment to view FBR’s 1990 PSA with Dr. Koop by clicking here and feel free to share it with your friends, family, colleagues, and on social media.


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