Premature babies often have lasting lung problems, but hopefully that won’t always be the case. Researchers are working on bigger and better treatments- and there’s some good news!
Currently, mothers of premature babies often receive steroid injections before delivery to help the baby’s lungs develop. After the baby’s birth, surfactant can also be administered to coat the lungs and facilitate oxygen exchange. And while these treatments have saved the lives of many babies and are incredible medical advances, researchers are working on bigger and better ideas.
By using stems cells and regenerative medicine, researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario are developing techniques that could safely repair damaged lungs of premature infants! They’re using stem cells that make blood vessels, and in addition to providing hope to parents of preemies, this could also potentially help in the treatment of chronic lung diseases in adults. Research in animals has shown promising results, and clinical trials could start in just a few years. Read more about it here:
An opportunity for dogs to help people AND other dogs? It’s a win-win situation. It turns out that the biology of the most common kind of bone tumor in dogs (osteosarcoma) is that same as the biology of these tumors in children. By working with dogs with bone tumors, researchers can try different kinds of drugs in an attempt to increase the dog’s lifespan. While there’s no guarantee that a drug that works on these dogs will work in a human patient, researchers can get more information about the way the drug works on this particular cancer. This information will help them make a more educated guess as to whether or not it would work in a human. And while it would definitely be amazing if they could translate their results into humans, at the very least, they’re working hard to find an appropriate treatment for dogs with this disease!
In some research studies, animals are specifically bred for the particular study. In this study, their clinical trial involves pets that already have cancer. It’s estimated that only 5% of dogs with osteosarcoma will live past the age of 2. Awesome research- check it out!
A clinical trial in human patients with ovarian cancer has shown some promising results. All patients in this study were undergoing chemotherapy, but some received high doses of intravenous vitamin C as well. After following these patients for five years, it was found that the patients who received vitamin C experienced fewer toxic effects from chemo!
That’s pretty good news. And this is an interesting example of animal research at work. Years ago, oral doses of vitamin C weren’t found to be effective. But by working with a combination of cell cultures and animals, researchers were able to determine that IV doses could be much more effective than oral doses, and they found that at high doses, vitamin C can kill cancer cells without harming normal cells. Often, drugs administered by different routes can work in different ways- when taken orally, vitamin C is often absorbed quickly and doesn’t stay in your system for long. So animals played a big role in understanding the proper route of administration, and now human patients will be seeing the benefits of that work!
Now that safety and toxicity studies have been performed, expect to see this therapy introduced into further clinical trials! Are you interested in clinical trials in your area? Go to www.clinicaltrials.gov!