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The harmfulness of the Epstein-Barr virus

HEALTH

02 - 13 - 2017

The harmfulness of the Epstein-Barr virus

The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is present in 95% of adults worldwide. It is transmitted by simple contact and would be responsible for 2% of cancers.

Researchers have discovered in vitro and in mice that the BNRF1 protein of EBV creates a chromosomal instability and is a risk for cancer. They are now considering that inactivating this protein with a vaccine could eliminate the risk of cancer and have a health benefit. Research is ongoing to test this hypothesis. 

Man’s best friend … even in research

ANIMAL RESEARCH

02 - 10 - 2017

Man’s best friend … even in research

Dogs are the oldest companion of humans. Their learning, guarding, and research capacities, as well as their attachment to their masters make them man’s favourite pet. But they have other interesting features for research and oncology treatments.

Indeed, unlike rodents, more conventionally used in research, there are many breeds of dogs and a wide variety of size and aspects.

Dogs also live longer and develop cancers ‘naturally’ in a similar way to humans such as osteosarcomas or bladder cancers that respond to the same types of treatment. All these physiological similarities make it, according to a study carried out in the United States, a very good companion in the fight against cancer.

Thierry Battmann

Mice to understand infant jaundice

HEALTH

02 - 09 - 2017

Mice to understand infant jaundice

At birth, infants are suddenly exposed to air, rich in oxygen. This causes a transient increase in the degradation of haemoglobin to bilirubin. The latter is naturally degraded by an enzyme. This phenomenon is call the infant jaundice. Unfortunately, this enzyme may be deficient and bilirubin may accumulate causing severe brain damage.

By replacing in mice the murine gene for the enzyme, by the human version, researchers found that the human gene was inhibited by a ‘repressor protein’ resulting in hyperbilirubinemiea. This animal model helps explain the accumulation of bilirubin in some new-borns and could help consider treatments. 

 

Guinea pigs with fins

ANIMAL RESEARCH

02 - 08 - 2017

Guinea pigs with fins

Two studies further show off the usefulness of fish in scientific and medical research.

By administering a fluorescent marker to zebrafish, researchers have followed the revascularization of its particularly thin fins. This mechanism, called angiogenesis, is very important in the development of cancers. Thus this fish could be a good model for studies looking at the effect of molecules inhibiting angiogenesis.

The Medaka, known for its ability to survive under extreme conditions, is a good model for studying the genetic modifications of osteoblasts and osteoclasts, cells responsible for bone remodelling in microgravity.

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