Cost to benefit ratios

From today’s RSS feeds:

1) Alilain WJ, Horn KP, Hu H, Dick TE, Silver J: “Functional regeneration of respiratory pathways after spinal cord injury“. Nature 2011: 475: 196-200

(This article also showed up in my BBC science feed, with the title “Spinal cord repair restores independent breathing“).

The authors grafted nerves across spinal cord scar tissue in paralysed mice, while simultaneously injecting a chondoitinase enzyme to clear proteins that would otherwise inhibit nerve growth. The mice regained 80-100% of their lost breathing function within a few months.

Isn’t that amazing?!

2) Li H, Haurigot V, Doyon Y, Li T, Wong SY, Bhagwat AS, Malani N, Anguela XM, Sharma R, Ivanciu L, Murphy SL, Finn JD, Khazi FR, Zhou S, Paschon DE, Rebar EJ, Bushman FD, Gregory PD, Holmes MC, High KA: “In vivo genome editing restores haemostasis in a mouse model of haemophilia”. Nature 2011: 475: 217–221

In this study, the authors essentially cured an inherited blood clotting disorder in mice by targetting an enzyme-and-template repair kit to the livers of living animals.

Science rocks!

3) Wu G, Liu N, Rittelmeyer I, Sharma AD, Sgodda M, Zaehres H, Bleidißel M, Greber B, Gentile L, Han DW, Rudolph C, Steinemann D, Schambach A, Ott M, Schöler HR, Cantz T: “Generation of Healthy Mice from Gene-Corrected Disease-Specific Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells“. PLoS Biol 2011: 9(7): e1001099.

More reversal of inherited gene mutations, this time in stem cells that were subsequently used to generate healthy animals.

All this in one day?! Isn’t it great to live in the future?!

4) BBC News: “Animal experiments increase again“.

In a well-regulated system, I do believe I can live with that. Not without regrets that there isn’t a better way, mind you… but there is no other way. Not one that could have yielded the three studies described above, anyway.

Keep up the good work, science!

About Cath@VWXYNot?

"one of the sillier science bloggers [...] I thought I should give a warning to the more staid members of the community." - Bob O'Hara, December 2010
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5 Responses to Cost to benefit ratios

  1. Bob O'H says:

    Now, if only we were all mice, all our health problems would be solved. The only thing to worry about would be being sacrificed at the Altar of Science.

  2. And cats, naturally.

  3. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Reminds me of an episode of friends where Joey’s new girlfriend says she’s going to go and buy hamsters. Everyone goes “awwwww”, but then she says “it’s not like that, I work for a medical researcher”. Phoebe replies “well, I think it’s great that the medical community is finally doing something for sick hamsters”.

    (I seriously worry about how much of my brain is taken up with stuff like this. See also: song lyrics).

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