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Thread: Medical Research Using Dogs as Models

  1. #1

    Medical Research Using Dogs as Models

    Medical Research Using Dogs as Models


    Jonathan Levine, an assistant professor in the Small Animal Clinic who specializes in spinal cord injuries, agrees that dogs with naturally occurring diseases may offer promise in advancing human therapies. He has received a $900,000 Department of Defense grant to develop non-invasive treatments and therapies for spinal cord injuries in dogs.

    "We hope the results will translate into successful therapies and treatments for humans -- that's our goal," he says.


  2. #2
    I don't like it for too many ethical, emotional and even scientific reasons to list.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by LindaT View Post
    I don't like it for too many ethical, emotional and even scientific reasons to list.
    I would have thought this is more ethical than injuring a healthy rat or mouse and then treating it after?!? The animals selected already have spinal cord injuries/cancer/diabetes etc

    PS Emotions and science dont mix well.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Fly_Pelican_Fly View Post
    I would have thought this is more ethical than injuring a healthy rat or mouse and then treating it after?!? The animals selected already have spinal cord injuries/cancer/diabetes etc

    PS Emotions and science dont mix well.
    I agree, they don't mix well. I just can't help it and won't get into it any deeper than saying that.
    In a perfect world his quoted goal would happen.

  5. #5
    Senior Member 0xSquidy's Avatar
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    Barcelona (Spain)
    Quote Originally Posted by LindaT View Post
    I don't like it for too many ethical, emotional and even scientific reasons to list.
    I'd like to know those, at least 1.
    Don't ask what clinical trials can do for you, ask what you can do for clinical trials.

    Fenexy: Proyecto Volver a Caminar (soon in english too)

  6. #6
    Sorry if I offended anyone.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by LindaT View Post
    Sorry if I offended anyone.
    Dogs hold a special place in a lot of our hearts where rats and monkeys don't. It is as simple as that, you didn't offend anyone Linda, people were just being dicks. Which is why in general I like dogs more than people.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by 0xSquidy View Post
    I'd like to know those, at least 1.
    In some of the early days after my injury my dog is why I didn't stick a gun in my mouth and pull the trigger. So emotionally I don't like experiments on dogs. If it helps get us to a cure faster, good. I just don't like it.

    That good enough?

  9. #9
    This more describes the work of Dr. Jonathan Levine, an assistant professor in the Small Animal Clinic who specializes in spinal cord injuries at Texas A&M. He's experimenting with non-invasive treatments and therapies to help with SCI since dogs actually suffer the same fate as humans. His work is very commendable.

    Saving dogs with spinal cord injuries

    January 18, 2012. Tags: Drugs, Physical medicine & rehabilitation, Veterinary medicine
    DoD funds UCSF, Texas A&M collaboration to test therapy that may help people.

    Dogs with spinal cord injuries may soon benefit from an experimental drug being tested by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, and Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences — work that they hope will one day help people with similar injuries.
    Funded through a three-year, $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense, the drug to mitigate damage has already proven effective in mice at UCSF. Now the Texas team will test how it works in previously injured short-legged, long-torso breeds of dog like dachshunds, beagles and corgis, who often suffer injuries when a disk in their back spontaneously ruptures, damaging the underlying spinal cord.
    About 120 dogs a year that develop sudden onset hind limb paralysis after such injuries are brought to the Small Animal Hospital of Texas A&M University, where they receive surgical and medical treatment similar to that for human spinal cord injury. Now, researchers will test whether the new treatment works on some of these dogs, with their owners’ consent.
    “It would be phenomenal if it works,” said Linda J. Noble-Haeusslein, a professor in the UCSF departments of Neurological Surgery and Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science who designed the intervention. “We are in a unique position of being able to treat a dog population where there are simply no current therapies that could effectively improve their hind limb function.”
    The new treatment does not seek to regrow injured pathways in the spinal cord. Instead, it aims to mitigate damage secondary to the spinal cord injury. Most spinal cord injuries trigger a cascade of chemical reactions in the spinal cord that collectively damage nearby cells and pathways, contributing to functional deficits including hind limb function.
    A few years ago, Noble and her UCSF colleague Zena Werb showed how blocking the action of one protein found in the spinal cord of mammals can help mice recover from spinal cord injuries. This protein, called matrix metalloproteinase-9, can degrade pathways within the cord and cause local inflammation, leading to cell death.
    Dog using a medical device to walk.

    The injured dogs offer a great opportunity to take the next step on this treatment because their injuries more closely mimic spontaneous human spinal cord injury and, as is the case with humans, no existing treatment has substantially reduced paralysis.
    Noble’s co-investigator on the new study, Jonathan Levine, D.V.M., an assistant professor in neurology at Texas A&M University, will treat the dogs through injections of a protein-blocking drug. He will then help the dogs through rehabilitation and assess their recovery. Ongoing studies at UCSF focus on further refining delivery of the drug so as to optimize recovery.
    Other researchers have shown that movement can be preserved if as little as 18 percent to 20 percent of the nerve fiber tracts in the spinal cord remain intact.
    If successful, the trials in injured dogs may lead to the development of similar treatments for people who suffer spinal cord injuries, Noble said. These are among the most expensive injuries: Every person with an injured spinal cord costs the health care system millions of dollars over his or her lifetime.
    Such costs often are overshadowed by the tragic and devastating personal price of the injuries, which dramatically alter lives and most often occur in younger people, with long lives in front of them. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, based at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, most of the 12,000 Americans who suffer spinal cord injuries are between the ages of 16 and 30.
    As of this year, some 265,000 people in the United States are living with such injuries, according to the national center. This includes many wounded soldiers who have returned home from war zones.
    UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care.

    Spinal Cord Injury: Helping Injured Dogs Heal

    Research to help dogs recover from spinal cord injuries could help humans, too. (Courtesy Jonathan Levine/Texas A&M University)

    To test the effects of GM6001 in a natural model of spinal cord injury, Noble-Haeusslein teamed up with Jonathan Levine, a veterinarian and assistant professor of neurology at Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, for a canine clinical trial.
    "At Texas A&M, we see almost 200 dogs with spinal cord injuries every a year," said Levine, adding that in dogs, as in humans, the injuries vary in severity. "The kinds of processes we see in these dogs are probably very similar to those in people with traumatic spinal cord injury."
    The researchers plan to enroll 80 dogs over three years. Half will receive an injection of GM6001 under their skin as soon as their owners bring them in; the other half will receive a placebo. Levine suspects about half the dogs will be dachshunds -- better known as wiener dogs -- which are particularly prone to spinal cord injuries because of their long bodies and short legs.

    A pilot trial of GM6001 in dogs found the drug was safe. But the new study, funded by a $750,000 Department of Defense grant, aims to show it works, too. If it does, it could lead to similar treatments for the 20,000 Americans who suffer spinal cord injuries each year, many of whom are soldiers. But timing is everything.
    "You want to do this as quickly as possible," said Noble-Haeusslein, adding that 24 hours after a spinal cord injury might be too late for the drug to work. The drug will not ease the symptoms in people with established spinal cord damage.
    For the dogs and their owners, the study is a shot at a better life. The drug won't reverse the spinal cord injury, but it might help a dog maintain the ability to bear weight or even walk. Levine said physiotherapy is also important for these pet patients.
    "Physical rehabilitation is amazingly helpful in the recovery process. It gets these dogs up and moving and prevents them from losing muscle mass," he said.
    Like humans, dogs can get assistive devices like wheelchairs and slings.
    "The goal is to prevent dogs from dragging themselves around and to allow better mobility at home," Levine said.
    If the study offers clues for treating human spinal cord injuries, it will add weight to the moniker, "man's best friend."
    "The wonderful thing about this program is it's another example of the close relationship between dogs and people. We share an emotional bond and some biological similarity," said Levine. "It's a way humans can help dogs and dogs can help humans."
    An experimental drug being tested in dogs with spinal cord injuries could one day help humans, too.
    In a study funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, researchers are testing the drug called GM6001 in dachshunds and other long-bodied dogs with spinal cord injuries. They hope it will help the dogs walk again and lead to desperately needed human treatments.
    "It's an opportunity to improve the outcome for these dogs and, at the same time, show that this is a good drug," said study co-investigator Linda Noble-Haeusslein, co-director of the UCSF Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Center.
    In 2006, Noble-Haeusslein found that GM6001 helped mice recover from spinal cord injuries. The drug works by blocking an enzyme that infiltrates the spinal cord after the injury and propagates the damage.
    "After you have a spinal cord injury, the deficits you see are not just a consequence of the initial injury, but rather events that occur after the injury," said Noble-Haeusslein. "These events are a little more delayed in onset, so we have the possibility of preventing them."
    A spinal cord injury causes paralysis as well as respiratory, urinary and gastrointestinal complications by cutting the wires of the nervous system. As many as 200,000 Americans have a spinal cord injury, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And no drug has been found to improve the prognosis.

    My neighbors had a dachshund named "Mr. Willy". He sustained a spinal cord injury when he jumped off a bed one morning. He had the typical wheelchair and rehabilitation but he never recovered at all. I wonder if our vet had the drug called GM6001 to inject for Mr. Willy if he would have been saved and possibly been able to bear weight? Mr. Willy was a neighborhood favorite. My children got Christmas gifts every year with cards bearing his name, Mr. Willy. He was a wonderful little dachshund!

    This is Dr. Jonathan Levine's experimental work in Texas.
    Last edited by GRAMMY; 05-14-2012 at 06:20 PM.

  10. #10
    I am per say against using animals as experiments! But having made that statement its never a perfect world. I will pray that the people in question that actually do these trials are accidently injured. Otherwise trust me as a buddist it will all come back !

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