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cYw 2013

Casper the Friendly Cancer-Fighting Zebrafish

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.

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Horses, Hounds, and Research Highlights: An Interview With Dr. Lance Perryman

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.

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Spider Webs May Hold the Answers to Aging

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.

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Unraveling the Arabian Horse’s Role in SCID Research

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.

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Chinchillas: Today’s Heroes

Most children will experience at least one episode of otitis media, or a middle ear infection, by the time they reach age three, making it one of the most common pediatric infections in the world. For years, rats, mice, and even monkeys gave researchers some insight into how this infection behaved within animal models; however, chinchillas stand out today as the only lab animals with similar enough ear structure to humans and in which otitis media can be easily produced by squirting very small amount of bacteria into the nose.

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What Black Bears Can Teach Us About Bone Strength

Many elderly people suffer from osteoporosis, the significant bone loss that can increase the risk of fracture. This disease affects more than 10 million Americans and is the underlying cause behind 1.5 million fractures every year. Rather than develop osteoporosis, black bears' bodies have made evolutionary adjustments to prevent bone loss during disuse and a team of research scientists have been investigating the secret behind the integrity of bears' bones.

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