October 19th 2020

EARA News Digest 2020 - Week 43

Welcome to your Monday morning update, from EARA, on the latest developments in biomedical science, policy and openness in animal research in Europe and around the world.
See EARA's Coronavirus updates

Immune cell-antibody fusion targets brain tumours

Researchers, including EARA member the University of Zurich, have found a potential new treatment for aggressive brain tumours, using mice as a model.
Immune cells (immunocytokines), which help the body fight infection, were fused to antibodies known to seek out tumour cells in the brain.
The combination then slowed, or reversed the growth of the cells, or made the tumours disappear altogether.
The team, also including University Hospital Zurich, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and biotechnology company Philochem, hope that these results can be used to support human trials in the future.



Zebrafish image receives top prize 

A stunning image of a zebrafish, used as a research animal model, has won Nikon's Small World microphotography competition.

Highlighted in numerous newspaper articles, including the UK Mail Online, the image was part of a groundbreaking discovery: zebrafish have lymphatic vessels inside their skull that were previously thought to occur only in mammals.

The discovery could advance research related to treatments for diseases that occur in the human brain, including cancer and Alzheimer’s.

“The image is beautiful, but also shows how powerful the zebrafish can be as a model for the development of lymphatic vessels,” said winner Daniel Castranova of National Institutes of Health, USA.



Fly eyes inspire new nanomaterial

Scientists from Switzerland and Russia have developed a microscopic material mimicking the protective layer of a fruit fly eye.
The nanocoating, produced by researchers at University of Geneva, University of Lausanne, ETH Zurich , Switzerland, and the Far Eastern Federal University, in Vladivostok, Russia, is anti-reflective, antimicrobial, biodegradable, low-cost and has self-cleaning properties.

It has the potential to be used in medical implants, contact lenses or within the textile industry.
Published in Nature, the researchers showed how they replicated the coating by first breaking apart the components of the protective layer, identified the proteins that were responsible for the anti-reflective properties, and then reassembled the structures over glass and plastic surfaces.



Preventing hair loss in mice

A study led by scientists from the EARA members the University of Helsinki, Finland, and the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, Germany, has found a possible way to prevent hair loss.

The team used a mouse model to study Rictor – a protein that helps to regulate the growth and energy of cells.

The findings, in Cell Metabolism, show that hair follicle regeneration was delayed in animals lacking Rictor.



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