Research using monkeys has been critical to developing a life-changing treatment for Parkinson’s disease.
For decades, the optimal treatment for Parkinson’s disease (PD), a debilitating brain disease that causes uncontrolled muscle movement, was a drug called Levodopa, originally developed using rabbits.
Movement is normally controlled by dopamine, a chemical that carries signals between the nerves in the brain. PD symptoms arise when the brain no longer produces this chemical. Levodopa is used to replace the functioning of dopamine.
However, for about half of patients, the drug loses its effectiveness within five years. An alternative and long-lasting treatment was urgently needed.
Through research using monkeys, scientists developed a surgical treatment called deep brain stimulation (DBS). It uses an implanted, battery-operated device, similar to a heart pacemaker, called a neurostimulator. The device stimulates targeted areas in the brain that control movement and blocks signals that cause tremor and other symptoms.
Although most patients still need to take medication after undergoing DBS, many patients experience considerable reduction of their PD symptoms and are able to greatly reduce their medications. Parkinson’s affects approximately 100,000 Canadians, according to Parkinson Society Canada.
In 1940 researchers injected eight mice with a lethal dose of bacteria. Four were also given penicillin. The penicillin recipients survived.Benefits
The first human-to-human heart transplant, performed in 1967, was preceded by decades of preparatory animal research.Benefits
Treatment for leukemia, the most common cancer affecting children, relied on early research in mice.Benefits
Research to develop treatments for asthma has included studies on frogs and guinea pigs.Benefits
Pigs and humans both have complex anatomy and body functioning. By working with pigs, scientists have been able to develop new heart therapies, skin grafts and imaging technologies.Benefits
By studying the venom of the Brazilian pit viper, researchers were able to develop the first of a new class of medicines to lower blood pressure.Benefits
“Why I am a Laboratory Animal Veterinarian”
Kelly Walton DVM, a third year student of comparative medicine at Colorado State University, explains why her love of animals led her to a career in laboratory animal welfare.
Rodent euthanasia methods under scrutiny
Study shows anaesthetics may be a more humane way to kill rats and mice than carbon dioxide, but reveals a surprising twist.
Three Who Stood Up
Their reputations were attacked. Their homes were damaged. Their lives were threatened. But these UCLA scientists refused to back down in the face of assaults by anti-animal-research extremists.
Don't Have the Wool Pulled Over Your Eyes
I suspect that most people don't realize how much they owe their well-being, even their lives, to research using experimental animals.
UBC academics plan an international forum to explore new models of regulating animal research that enhance public involvement
FROM FARM TO LAB
Lab animals present a new field for animal welfare studies
Lived experience reaffirms the role of animals in life-saving science. http://www.publicaffairs.ubc.ca/2012/07/04/facing-cancer/
Creatures great and small
The first of a series on animals in research looks at four basic science studies. Upcoming articles will address animals in medical research, and how animal research is governed. http://www.publicaffairs.ubc.ca/2012/06/06/creatures-great-and-small/
IN THEIR OWN WORDS: LETTERS
Campus letters on animal research http://www.publicaffairs.ubc.ca/2012/06/06/in-their-own-words-letters/
Coffee and other stimulant drugs may cause high achievers to slack off: UBC study
UBC animal research vindicated by Canadian Council on Animal Care
Why animal research is more essential than ever
John Hepburn, UBC Vice President Research and International, makes the case for animal research in the Vancouver Sun of Monday, March 12th 2012 (page A-7)
ANIMALS IN RESEARCH
The UBC community examines a tough issue.