Cancers involve out-of-control cell growth. Scientists believe that the zebrafish may hold the key to gaining a better understanding of how cancer moves and changes, which could provide insight into how to create better treatments. Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital have developed a transparent mutant zebrafish commonly known as the “Casper” zebrafish that allows scientists to watch cancers develop in adult fish.
Basset Hounds may replace the Arabian horse model for SCID research in children. The main reason is that the Hounds have the gene defect that’s most commonly involved with SCID in children. Simply put, the defect matches up, and this is important when considering potential animal models. Besides the fact that Hounds are genetically similar to children in terms of the gene that expresses SCID, they also cost less to feed, have shorter gestation periods, and produce more offspring per year than Arabian horses.
Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in America; over 5 million people are living with the disease. Neurodegenerative diseases are a growing problem in today’s world; as more people are living longer, these diseases are becoming more prevalent. Now more than ever, research in this area needs to be done. This is why the study conducted by Anotaux and her fellow researchers is so vital. If neurodegeneration can be better understood using European House Spiders as model organisms, we will be that much closer to developing new, better, more affordable treatments for these diseases.
Neuroblastoma is a rare form of cancer that doesn’t occur in the wild- only in humans. Scientists have recently found that neuroblastoma is caused by a mutation in the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene. Drosophila melanogaster, or fruit flies, also have the ALK gene and may be able to serve as animal models for this rare disease.
Not only is the Arabian horse a non-rodent, large animal that can be used to enhance our understanding of the hematopoietic system, but its susceptibility to SCID and its long life span also make it optimal for SCID research. Since adverse events (such as the development of leukemia) can unfortunately arise in bone marrow treatment for SCID, this non-traditional research model can be used to test the efficacy and safety of alternative therapies, like gene therapy and stem cell transplantation, before being clinically implemented in humans.
Leprosy is a serious disease that attacks the nerves, skin, eyes, and immune system. The Nine Banded Armadillo has given researchers insight into leprosy because the armadillo is also susceptible to this disease. These curious mammals have transformed an age-old nightmare into a potentially curable disease and have given sufferers a ray of hope.