UCLA Pro-Test – Post-rally Blog Coverage

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Well we’ve covered video coverage and print coverage of the Pro-Test rally, now onto the blogs.

Before we get too deep into the UCLA Pro-Test coverage, many of the blogs, including the highly-read Pharyngula blog, have talked about the poll attached to the LA Times article. The poll has (somewhat suspiciously for both sides) attracted over 150,000 votes, with the Pro-Testers currently leading this simplistic dichotomy (see Adventure in Ethics and Science blog on this) by around 60%.  So in the words of PZ Myers “please, go forth and destroy this pointless metric”.

Respectful Insolence wrote a piece reviewing the various media coverage as well as offering his own thoughts:

For too long, animal rights extremists have had the public relations stage virtually to themselves, and this Pro-Test Rally was an excellent demonstration of what scientists can do when they refuse to be cowed. Remember, this is about animal welfare, but not animal rights. Animal welfare. Scientists are very much concerned with animal welfare, and animal research is a highly regulated endeavor.

The Pro-Test March

Nick Anthis’s Scientific Activist blog also wrote a fantastic and comprehensive report of the rally coverage.

By all accounts, yesterday’s UCLA Pro-Test rally in support of animal research was a great success. Up to 800 people showed up for the Pro-Test rally, but only 30-40 people showed up for a concurrent anti-research rally.

Science Journal’s blog (which we mentioned before but was so good I’m mentioning it again) gave some of the best coverage of the issue:

The organizers of today’s Pro-Test rally at the University of California, Los Angeles, say it succeeded beyond their hopes. Hundreds of people—many of them students and postdocs—came out to show their support for biomedical research.

The Pharyngula blog announced “I am Pro-Test”. Drug Monkey mentioned some video coverage among his two posts on the issue, and Neurotopia v. 2.0 showed their excitment about the rally.

So that’s the coverage all wrapped up, if you know of any more leave a comment.

Cheers

Tom

One response to “UCLA Pro-Test – Post-rally Blog Coverage

  1. While we’re on the subject of blogs, Ed Yong has an excellent post on his bolg “Not Exactly Rocket Science” about a study where scientists at the University of Central Florida has managed to reawaken a guardian gene that has been lying dormant in our genomes for 7 million years but which is active in some monkey species where it protects them from HIV-like viruses.

    http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/04/retrocyclins_a_defence_against_hiv_reawakened_after_7_millio.php

    The original paper is available for anyone to read at http://biology.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pbio.1000095

    What is interesting is that although they used antibiotics called aminoglycosides to restore production of this gene they mention a new drug named PTC-124 that works in the same way as the aminoglycosides. PTC-124 has the advantage of being far less toxic than the aminoglycosides when used over long periods of time, and is currently performing well in clinical trials for the genetic diseases Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Cystic Fibrosis. If these trials continue to go well and in vitro and animal studies of PTC-124 against HIV are promising than PTC-124 may soon be in trails against HIV.

    This is another example of why studying the differences between species can lead to valuable discoveries, and of course animal research was very important to the development and evaluation of PTC-124 prior to the start of human clinical trials.

    “Through in vitro characterization in translation
    assays, we have demonstrated that PTC124 induces
    dose- and time-dependent ribosomal readthrough of
    premature stop codons with greater potency than
    gentamicin. PTC124’s activity is selective; it does
    not permit ribosomes to read through normal stop
    codons in preclinical systems. In the same nonsense
    mutation−containing mouse models of CF2
    and DMD7 used to evaluate gentamicin, we have
    shown that treatment with PTC124 promotes the production
    of full-length, functional CFTR12 and dystrophin, respectively. The CFTR protein is able
    to restore chloride channel activity and the dystrophin
    is appropriately localized to muscle cell membranes
    and is functionally active, reducing muscle
    contraction injury and decreasing pathologic leakage
    of creatine kinase from muscles into the systemic
    circulation. Although precise exposure-response
    correlations have not been established, the nonclinical
    efficacy pharmacology data imply that achieving
    relatively continuous plasma concentrations above a
    target trough value of ~2 μg/mL may be associated
    with discernable readthrough activity, whereas achieving
    a trough value of ~10 μg/mL may be associated
    with maximal effects.
    In support of clinical development of PTC124, we
    have performed comprehensive preclinical safety
    testing. In safety pharmacology studies in rats and
    dogs, we have demonstrated that oral administration
    of PTC124 induces no adverse neurological, pulmonary,
    or cardiovascular effects at doses through
    1500 mg/kg. In toxicology studies in rats and dogs at
    oral doses through 1500 mg/kg for 28 days, PTC124
    has shown good tolerability. In these studies, toxicokinetic
    exposure levels substantially exceeded the target
    concentrations required for nonsense suppression
    in preclinical efficacy pharmacology studies. We have
    also documented that PTC124 demonstrates virtually
    no human ether-à-go-go-related gene (hERG) channel
    inhibition, has no discernable antibiotic activity
    against gram-positive or gram-negative organisms,
    and is not mutagenic or genotoxic in standard in vitro
    and in vivo assays. PTC124 is stable when incubated
    with human liver microsomes.
    Based on the available preclinical data, we are
    developing PTC124 as a therapy for patients with
    nonsense mutation–mediated CF and DMD.”

    Hirawat S. et al. “Safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics of PTC124, a nonaminoglycoside nonsense mutation suppressor, following single- and multiple-dose administration to healthy male and female adult volunteers.” J Clin Pharmacol. Volume 47(4), pages 430-444 (2007) DOI:10.1177/0091270006297140