Dogs Get Cancer, Too

Did you know that companion animals, like dogs and cats, naturally develop many of the same diseases as humans? Statistics show that over 4.2 million dogs naturally develop cancer each year, in comparison to 1.7 million humans. Dogs are actually a very important model for studying diseases, such as cancer, because not only do many dogs naturally develop cancer in their lifetimes, but cancer tumors in dogs are similar to those found in humans affected with the disease. A recent Forbes article discusses the importance of dogs in the biomedical research community’s mission to find a cure for cancer in both humans and animals.

Dogs are also excellent models for cancer studies because they live in the same types of environments as humans, meaning they are exposed to the same bacteria, household products, noises and other stimuli as we are. Dogs also age more quickly than humans. Have you ever heard the saying, “1 human year equals 7 dog years?” Well, for studying diseases like cancer, this popular belief becomes useful. Because the lifespan of a dog is shorter, it experiences the different stages of cancer much more rapidly than humans. This allows researchers to collect invaluable data in a speedier manner than when collecting data from human cancer patients.

Mice, which make up ~95% of all animals used in biomedical research, are excellent models for most areas of research, but dogs provide a unique model for finding cures and treatments for cancer in both humans and animals.

Please follow this link to read the full Forbes story about the importance of dogs in finding a cure for cancer in humans and animals.

Matt Bailey Named Executive Vice President of FBR

NABR Executive Vice President Matthew R. Bailey has been appointed Executive Vice President of the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR).  Matt joined the NABR staff in 2005 and played an integral role in the vigorous campaign for passage of the federal Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA).

Promoted to EVP of NABR in 2014, Matt will now serve management roles in both organizations.  In making the announcement on Tuesday, Frankie L. Trull, President of both organizations said, “FBR and NABR work in tandem to ensure a pro-research climate that allows the continued humane use of lab animals in biomedical research. While the organizations’ objectives and audiences differ, our programs and initiatives are strategically integrated and complementary.”

Focused primarily on science and technology issues throughout his career, Matt has extensive political experience. He was previously a congressional liaison for the U.S. Department of Commerce and has held positions in both the House and Senate. Born and raised in Arkansas, Matt and his wife, live in the Washington, DC area, with their two daughters. Despite his lack of sleep for the past several years, Matt brings his vibrant energy and unique leadership to FBR. Please join us in congratulating him on his new role.

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.

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.

In Memoriam: John Sherman, Leading Advocate for NABR and Biomedical Research

John F. Sherman, PhD, died June 28 at his home in Washington, DC. Dr. Sherman was the driving force behind the 1985 consolidation of the forty-year old National Society for Medical Research (NSMR) and the Association for Biomedical Research (ABR), founded in 1979. In order to better influence national animal research policy, he worked with ABR President Frankie Trull and both governing boards to bring the two organizations together as the National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR). A tireless advocate for biomedical research, as well as NABR and the responsible use of research animals, in 1983 Dr. Sherman was a founder of the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research Funding, an effective coalition that continues to work for adequate research funding until the present day. His career began as a research pharmacologist in 1953 at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where he ultimately served as Deputy Director and Acting Director. He then became a vice president for the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) from 1974 to 1990, and subsequently a special consultant.

The AAMC Special Recognition Award stated Dr. Sherman "was widely recognized as an unfailing friend of the biomedical research community throughout his distinguished career. To say that advances in biomedical research in the United States are due, in no small part, to his vigilant and consistent efforts is not an overstatement; indeed, generations of scientists have Dr. Sherman to thank for keeping the funding of biomedical research a critical issue on the agenda of national decision-makers. The respect and honors given to Dr. Sherman over the years are a testament to his enduring contributions to his most cherished cause - biomedical research.” NABR echoed these sentiments when recognizing Dr. Sherman’s strong support for animal research with the Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

DeBakey Journalism Award Deadline Approaching

The Michael E. DeBakey Journalism Awards, named after the Foundation for Biomedical Research's (FBR) late chairman Dr. Michael E. DeBakey, honor reporting that has enhanced public understanding of how the humane and responsible use of animal models leads to medical and scientific discoveries.  Awards are presented for outstanding investigative or interpretive reporting published, broadcast or posted online between May 1st, 2014 and April 30th, 2015.

Entries may be submitted in the following categories. FBR reserves the right to adjust placement of entries based on number and quality of entries in each category. If you have any questions about which category in which you should enter, please email

  • Print – Large Market (national/international)
  • Print – Small Market (local/regional)
  • Television
  • Radio
  • Online

Entries must be accompanied by the following:

  • Cover letter (or email) from journalist explaining the importance of the piece,
  • Category in which the journalist is entering,
  • Journalist’s brief  biography,
  • Brief letter/email of consent from employer supervisor/employer,
  • Optional letter(s) of support from employer or colleagues, and
  • The story itself, either as attachment or as link.


Deadline for entry is June 15th, 2015. 

Submit your entry to:, Subject: The Michael E. DeBakey Journalism Awards


Foundation for Biomedical Research
1100 Vermont Avenue, NW Suite 1100
Washington DC 20005
Attention: The Michael E. DeBakey Journalism Awards

 2013-2014 Winners:

Kerry Sanders & Erika Angulo, NBC News (Television)

Kristen Brown, San Francisco Chronicle (Print, Small Market)

Amy Dockser Marcus, The Wall Street Journal (Print, Large Market)

 Rebecca Jacobson, PBS NewsHour (Online) (tie)

Dr. Ann Hohenhaus, (Online) (tie)

Jon Hamilton, National Public Radio (Radio)

Florie Charles & the UCSF Science Policy Group (Viral Video)

NABR Releases THREE NEW Members-Only Exclusives!

NABR is pleased to announce not one, but THREE brand-new exclusive products that we hope you will find helpful: a USDA Inspection Management Checklist and a special on-demand webinar on Chapter 7 of the USDA’s Research Facility Inspection Guide.

Developed with input from experts in the field and with the invaluable contributions of Dr. Taylor Bennett, the USDA INSPECTION MANAGEMENT CHECKLIST could prevent you from making costly mistakes during your next visit with a USDA veterinary medical officer (VMO). Print our handy checklist to make sure all your bases are covered for your next USDA inspection! To access it, please click the "download" button below (log-in required).

NABR DL Button


As you are already aware, Chapter 7 of the USDA’s Research Facility Inspection Guide has been revised significantly. In this straight-to-video webinar, Dr. Bennett provides you with a step-by-step analysis of what those changes are and what they mean to the biomedical research community.  Click the button below to view the webinar (log-in required).

NABR Watch Button


Last but not least, we are pleased to announce our third annual “Q&A with the USDA” webinar on July 21, 2015. This is a unique opportunity for NABR members to ask questions directly to the leadership of USDA. Drs. Betty Goldentyer and Robert Gibbens, the Eastern and Western Region Directors of the Animal Care division, have graciously agreed to participate.  Questions should be submitted in advance to, and they will be reviewed and formatted to prevent duplication. Questions 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 your questions have been addressed.


We hope that you’ll find these new resources valuable.  If you have any questions about them, please email us at

FBI Resources on Cyber Security Now Available

We hope you attended our most recent webinar “Cyber Threats and Cyber Security: Are You Prepared?”  Those who participated were treated to eye opening presentations by the experts at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).  If you missed it, you still may benefit from a number of resources the Bureau was kind enough to provide, which we are including below.

These documents, available here, will give you a general overview of cyber threats and best types of cyber security practices:

The Insider Threat – An introduction to detecting and deterring an insider spy - It’s easy to detect someone from the outside seeking to do an institution harm. But what if the infiltration has come from the inside? This general overview of detecting and deterring an insider spy will help make your institution safer.

Internet Social Networking Risks - Social networking is everywhere and nearly everyone engages in it.  Take a moment to learn the risks and preventative measures needed to protect not only your institution, but yourself, from con artists, criminals, and hactivists.

Economic Espionage – Protecting America’s Trade Secrets - Proprietary information or technology.  Every research institution has them. In this FBI pamphlet, learn more about the laws in place to protect your institution from those who wish to steal your intellectual property.

Higher Education and National Security: The Targeting of Sensitive, Proprietary and Classified Information on Campuses of Higher Education - This whitepaper developed by FBI’s Counterintelligence Strategic Partnership Unit will educate U.S. colleges and universities on the risks of cyber security breaches from abroad and how best to protect valuable information and data.

Visitors: Risks and Mitigation - Learn how to better protect sensitive information at your facility from site visitors who may be seeking to compromise your security.

Finally, if you or your institution’s IT team feel that your cyber security has been compromised, please contact your local FBI Field Office immediately.

Rubella Has Been Eradicated from North and South America

According to an April 29 BBC News report, the rubella virus has been eradicated in the Americas.  North and South America are the first regions of the world to eliminate the virus after no home-grown cases have developed in five years.

This historic achievement can directly be attributed to the value of animal research.  The vaccine used across the world today was first tested in mice and rabbits for safety as well as monkey and rabbit tissues for efficacy.

Up to 20,000 children in North and South America were born with the virus, also known as German measles, until mass vaccinations began.

To read more, please click here.

Wall Street Journal Features Op-Ed by FBR/NABR President

On Friday, April 24, the Wall Street Journal printed a very informative and hard-hitting op-ed by Frankie Trull, President of the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) and NABR.

The article entitled, “Animal Testing and Its Gifts to Humans,” discusses the indispensable role animal research plays in the discovery of new treatments and how the availability of animal models is being jeopardized by the efforts of animal rights organizations.  Trull’s piece focuses on a new experimental treatment for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), an aggressive tumor that kills about 12,000 people in the U.S. each year.  This experimental treatment, that wouldn’t have been possible without animal research, is saving the lives of patients who just a short time ago had little hope of survival.

With a total circulation of 2.3 million readers, this opinion editorial has reached a wide audience about the importance of  animal research, including  influencers nationwide.  To view the article, please click here.  See below for the plain text.


The Wall Street Journal
Opinion Section – April 23, 2015
Animal Testing and Its Gifts to Humans
By Frankie L. Trull


Patients with aggressive brain tumors finally have reason for hope. Thanks to the work of scientists and physicians at Duke University, an experimental new treatment for glioblastoma multiforme, or GBM—an aggressive tumor that kills about 12,000 people in the U.S. each year—is saving the lives of patients who, just months ago, had little hope of survival.

This extraordinary development wouldn’t have been possible without animal research. Yet many in the animal-rights community condemn the use of any and all animals in medical research and continue to push for testing bans. Such efforts ignore the fact that when it comes to medical research, animal models are indispensable. Further proof of this came on Wednesday with news in the journal Nature that a drug to fight Ebola had showed remarkable success when tested in rhesus monkeys.

The brain-tumor treatment developed at Duke is a re-engineered polio virus. The new virus designed by researchers helps the body’s immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells. As in countless other revolutionary therapies, animal research played an invaluable role in creating this treatment.

Before human trials began, the re-engineered virus was injected into the brains of macaque monkeys, whose systems operate similarly to those of humans. Since the raw polio virus often results in paralysis, such testing of the modified virus made sense—and helped demonstrate that the body’s immune system would cripple brain tumors if injected with the re-engineered virus.

This wasn’t the only instance where animal models proved crucial for the Duke team. While developing their therapy, these researchers relied on years of previous primate research.

One such study was a 1991 paper in which Harvard researchers used a genetically engineered virus to treat a mouse with GBM. In 1996 researchers at the State University of New York at Stony Brook used mice to prove that infecting a cell with a polio virus required a specific receptor on the cell’s surface. Then, in 2000, a research team from Duke and Stony Brook showed how a genetically modified polio virus eliminated human tumors bearing that special receptor in mice. This discovery laid the groundwork for the clinical trials that resulted in this breakthrough therapy.

Dependence on animal research is hardly unique to Duke researchers. A number of recent medical advances have their roots in animal models. Consider a Phase III clinical trial from 2013, which proved that a next-generation herpes virus could successfully treat melanoma patients. This research was the direct result of a 1995 study by scientists at the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown University, demonstrating how a modified herpes virus can shrink tumors in mice and nonhuman primates.

More recently, animal research has helped pave the way toward restoring vision. Last September, a Japanese woman became the first person to undergo an experimental stem-cell treatment for blindness. The procedure was deemed safe for humans after several studies involving monkeys and mice.

The greatest medical contributions from animal research may still lie in the future. In a study published last year in the journal Stem Cell Reports, scientists in France and Germany were able to regenerate damaged brain areas in mice for the first time. The discovery could lead to treatments for human brain damage caused by everything from strokes to bullet wounds.

Despite these successes, critics continue to attack animal-research methods as needlessly cruel. Activists have succeeded in pressuring all but one major airline to stop carrying animal models to research labs. That’s a problem for scientists in the U.S. Most monkeys come from Asia and Mauritius, where they’re humanely raised on farms.

Consequently, researchers have had to turn to charter carriers. As a result, costs per animal have tripled. Those extra costs sap medical progress.

Another common argument by critics is that animal models rarely lead to discoveries that are relevant to humans. It’s undeniable that human physiology differs from that of mice or monkeys. But humans and animals still have much in common. Primates share fundamental similarities—from their use of hormones to their reactions to infection—that, for centuries, have helped deepen our understanding of the human body.

With the Duke trials, the project director initially called the idea of using polio as a therapy “nuts” because of the risk of paralysis. Animal models are what enabled his team to move forward with their work.

Activists calling for the elimination of animal studies grossly underestimate the human value of animal studies. Those who doubt this value need only look at the faces of patients in the Duke trial whose lives have been saved by these essential research techniques.


Ms. Trull is president of the Foundation for Biomedical Research.

Reprinted from The Wall Street Journal © 2015 Dow Jones & Company.  All rights reserved.