Understanding migraines: The blind leading the…err…rats

Chances are that you have either suffered from migraine yourself or have a family member or close friend who have, after all about 1 in 8 of us will suffer from migraine at some stage in our lifetime, and some sufferers experience repeated debilitating episodes over many years . While headache on one side of … Continue reading Understanding migraines: The blind leading the…err…rats

Breakthrough of the Year (almost!)

As the year draws to a close it’s time to reflect on an exciting year of animal research, and there seems no better place to start than with the top 10 breakthroughs of the year as selected by the prestigious scientific journal Science. Science is of course a general science magazine, and the choices reflect … Continue reading Breakthrough of the Year (almost!)

Gene therapy on the brain

Hot on the heels of last weeks report of the successful use of gene therapy to treat the eye disease Leber’s congenital amaurosis comes a report that scientists lead by Nathalie Cartier and Patrick Aubourg of the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research have combined gene therapy and stem cell medicine to successfully … Continue reading Gene therapy on the brain

Gene therapy for blindness – when dogged determination pays off!

Leber's congenital amaurosis is a progressive disorder that affects about 3,000 Americans, and hundreds of thousands worldwide, and causes a progressive loss of vision that usually results in blindness. The disease, for which there has until now been no effective treatment, is caused by a mutation in the encoding RPE65, an enzyme which is crucial … Continue reading Gene therapy for blindness – when dogged determination pays off!

Mending a Broken Heart

An interesting item in the news today about research on repairing the damage to the heart caused by a heart attack. The report in PNAS can be read by those with a subscription at: While there have been several attempts to bioengineer cardiac tissue for transplant  in vitro using starting from cells seeded onto a scaffold, … Continue reading Mending a Broken Heart

Scientists discover AIDS in Chimpanzees

The discovery of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) by the French scientists Luc Montagnier and Françoise Barré-Sinoussi in 1983, and the, and the subsequent confirmation by the American scientist Robert Gallo that it caused AIDS was a shock to doctors and scientists around the globe, and begged the question as to whether or not similar … Continue reading Scientists discover AIDS in Chimpanzees

From Science Fiction to Science Fact

The ability to regrow limbs lost through accident or the action of their nemesis is a power usually thought of as belonging only to comic-book heroes, but in nature the ability to regenerate tissues and even whole limbs is surprisingly widespread across the plant and animal kingdoms. While in the womb mammals such as humans … Continue reading From Science Fiction to Science Fact

Can we protect the brain against tumor metastasis?

Brain metastasis that affect at least 20% of cancer patients are a serious problem for doctors seeking to treat cancer and kill thousands of patients every year, being particularly difficult to treat because many anti-cancer drugs cannot cross the blood-brain barrier and because surgery to remove the tumor can often be difficult and risky.  Patients … Continue reading Can we protect the brain against tumor metastasis?