This week in animal research 30/09/16
Artificial blood vessel tested in lambs
Artificial blood vessels could help children with congenital heart problems and be used in heart bypass surgery. This work, tested in lambs, is promising, but needs further development before it csan be used in people.
3D printed bone used to fuse spinal vertebrae in rats and repair a macaque’s damaged skull
Researchers have created a “hyperelastic bone” using 3D printing technology that can be manufactured on demand and works almost as well as the real thing. The technology has been used to fuse spinal vertebrae in rats and repair a macaque’s damaged skull. Bioengineers are optimistic that the material could be used to quickly mend injuries ranging from bones wracked by cancer to broken skulls.
The Flyway Code: How do birds avoid crashing into each other in mid-air?
They always veer right!
Professor Mandyam Srinivasan, of Queensland University in Australia, who led the research, said: “Birds must have been under strong evolutionary pressure to establish basic rules and strategies to minimise the risk of collision in advance.
“But no previous studies have ever examined what happens when two birds fly towards each other.
“Our modelling has shown that birds always veer right – and sometimes they change their altitude as well, according to some pre-set preference.
Discovering ants inside frog vomit
Scientists are using frogs to search for new species. Frogs can reach places humans can't - eating insects that may have not yet been discovered. Such a method has helped scientists in Ecuador discover a new species of ant - though so far little is known about the creature.
Over 600 scientists now sign primate letter
Over 600 scientists, and 24 organisations have so far signed a letter in support of primate research. The researchers - a mixture of neuroscientists and primate researchers - came together to sign a letter that was submitted to The Guardian.
Technique using a star-shaped polymer to kill antibiotic resistance superbug successfully tested in mice
Shu Lam, a PhD student at The University of Melbourne has developed a technique to kill six different strains of antibiotic-resistance superbugs using a star-shaped polymer that rips apart their cell walls. So far the polymer has only been tested on one superbug in live mice but it could offer a potential solution to antibiotic resistance, which is now getting so bad that the United Nations recently declared it a "fundamental threat" to global health. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria already kill around 700,000 people each year, but a recent study suggests that number could rise to around 10 million by 2050.
Antibody that blocks protein CD44 in cancerous stem cells of mice could treat acute myeloid leukemia
Researchers from KAUST have discovered that an antibody drug that blocks protein CD44 on the surface of cancerous stem cells could have the ability to treat acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Antibodies that block CD44 trigger these stem cells to mature, leading to a reduction in their growth and proliferation. The researchers used both human AML cell lines and a mouse model to show that inhibiting CD44 with the antibody led to a decrease in the expression of two pathways that are responsible for the abnormal growth of these cells. In the past, drugs that only inhibit one of these pathways have failed to demonstrate a therapeutic benefit for patients with AML therefore it is hoped that this broader inhibitor will result in a more potent therapeutic effect.