Month: June 2016

Naked Mole Rats Exhibit “Extraordinary” Cancer Resistance

Scientists are getting closer to understanding the anti-cancer mechanism of the naked mole rat by making induced pluripotent stem cells. Naked mole rats (NMR) are the longest-living rodent species and exhibit “extraordinary” resistance to cancer. Mole rats live up to 30 years, 10 times longer than mice, and captured colonies almost never show any type of cancer. Understanding these animals’ anti-cancer mechanisms may help advance human treatment in the future, according to a collaborative research team from Hokkaido University and Keio University in Japan. The research team took skin fibroblast tissue from adult mole-rats and reprogrammed the cells to revert to pluripotent stem cells. These are called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and, like embryonic stem cells, are capable of becoming any type of tissue in the body. However, these stem cells can also form tumors called teratomas when transplanted back into the animals. When the mole rats’ iPSCs were inserted into the testes of mice with extremely weak immune systems, the team discovered that they didn’t form tumors in contrast to human iPSCs and mouse iPSCs. Upon further investigation, they found that a tumor-suppressor gene called alternative reading frame (ARF), which is normally suppressed in mouse and human iPSCs, remained active in the mole rat iPSCs. The team also found that ERAS, a tumorigenic gene expressed in mouse embryonic stem cells and iPSCs, was mutated and dysfunctional in...

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The absence of a single protein spurs muscle aging in mice

One of the alterations that most affects the quality of life of the elderly is muscle wastage and the resulting loss of strength, a condition known as sarcopenia. At about 55 years old, people begin to lose muscle mass, this loss continues into old age, at which point it becomes critical. The underlying causes of sarcopenia are unknown and thus no treatment is available for this condition. A new study has discovered that Mitofusin 2 is required to preserve healthy muscles in mice. In the paper, which has been published today in The EMBO Journal, these researchers indicate that this protein could serve as a therapeutic target to ameliorate sarcopenia in the elderly. The EMBO Journal (22 June 2016) doi:...

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Dolly at 20: The inside story on the world’s most famous sheep

Dolly, the first mammal cloned from an adult cell, was born 5 July 1996. But she was created five months earlier, in a small room at the Roslin Institute, outside Edinburgh, UK. Karen Walker, embryologist, PPL Therapeutics: On the day we made Dolly, we had such a rubbish day. Bill Ritchie, embryologist, Roslin Institute: It was 8 February 1996. I looked it up. We do know it was a rubbish day: we had various problems with infections and things. Walker: It’s a shame the building has been demolished, otherwise you could see the room in which Dolly was made. I use the word ‘room’ loosely, because it really was just a big cupboard, which, when Bill and I were in there, you could just get two chairs and the incubator in. Ritchie: It literally was the cupboard. It was the storage cupboard at the end of the lab. When we got camera crews in later, they couldn’t believe it, there was no room to shoot. Walker and Ritchie were part of a project at the Roslin Institute and spin-off PPL Therapeutics, aiming to make precise genetic changes to farm animals. The scientific team, led by Roslin embryologist Ian Wilmut, reasoned that the best way to make these changes would be to tweak the genome of a cell in culture and then transfer the nucleus to a new cell. Ritchie:...

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Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a prerequisite for many professional medical and scientific disciplines but less common for those involved in laboratory animal work.

Revision of Directive 86/609EEC requires that persons “are adequately educated, competent and continuously trained” (Article 23A). The scheme is available FREE to LASA members. Please contact the Secretariat for more information.