Hidden Animals in Science: A Call for an Antibody Revolution

In biomedical research, questions of animal ethics usually pertain to the use of whole animals to model disease and test pharmaceutical efficacy. In truth, the problem extends far beyond this. The global antibody industry, which today relies heavily on animals, is worth $80 billion. As well as contributing unnecessarily to animal suffering, this is an industry polluted by poor quality antibodies, leading to scientific inconsistency, confusion, money-wasting and meaningless results. Regardless of whether animal ethics are high on your agenda, the need for an antibody revolution today is undeniable. This is an issue that Animal-Friendly Affinity Reagents – a high quality and cost-effective alternative to animal antibodies – might help to address.

How Artificial Intelligence is Transforming Cancer Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy has enormous potential to provide cancer patients with a treatment which is more personalised, more precise, and more effective than current therapies, but evidently its promises will only come to fruition with the assistance of improved predictive algorithms and bioinformatics tools. Recent explosions in publicly available cancer genomic data, coupled with advancements in machine learning methods is ensuring that the marriage of computation and biology will help to address challenges facing immunotherapy in the coming decade. Here we will take a look at how scientists are starting to implement artificial intelligence methods to predict neoepitopes for cancer vaccine development.

Lab Rats Lost in Translation: Why We Use Animals in Research, and Why We Really Shouldn’t

This is a story of mice and men. It is not a happy story – not for us, and not for them. It is estimated that about 115 million animals are used annually in biomedical research and drug testing around the world. Is this justified? Many of the diseases which are studied using animal models do not even naturally occur in animals. Owing to inherent genetic differences, the ability of animal models to predict human drug responses is tenuous at best.
Why is it that we recoil with visceral disgust when we see a man kicking a dog in the street, but not when we see a man in a clean white coat injecting a toxic substance into a mouse, or even a beagle, in a clean white laboratory? Is humanity suffering from a case of moral schizophrenia?

How Growing up around Death made me Think about Veganism

The death of a loved one makes us reflect on our own values and life choices. Our perspectives are perhaps most malleable at times of great grievance. At twenty years old, in the spring of 2017, I suddenly found myself surrounded by death. I had already lost my mother, and now my father and sister too. For a long time, nothing felt real. Afterwards, I thought a lot about death and dying, about the limits of medicine, about pain, pleasure, power, loss and love. I thought too about animals – about the value of their lives, and how lucky we are to exist as humans at all, and how lucky we are to have loved ones to lose.

Veganism in an age of Climate Emergency

What is the Climate Emergency? Earlier this month, Ireland became the second country to declare a climate emergency, following the…

Neu5GC – Alien Meat Sugars in Human Cancer

The epidemiological link between red meat and cancer is no longer debatable – what remains uncertain is how exactly this happens, and why the human species appears to be unique in its susceptibility. Among the prevailing theories is an event known as “xenosialitis” – a chronic inflammatory state triggered by the foreign sugar, Neu5GC. Neu5GC isn’t naturally present in the human body but is ingested from the diet when we eat red meat. Could this alien sugar represent the missing link between red meat, cancer and other inflammatory diseases?

Why Don’t Animals get Heart Attacks? Vitamin C, Stress & Other Stories from the Wild.

Heart disease is the biggest human killer, but most other members of the animal kingdom are much less susceptible to it than we are! What is it about animals that has allows them to dodge this epidemic while we humans suffer? Linus Pauling thinks Vitamin C is the answer; Robert Sapolsky has pinned the blame on stress. But what theory do you believe?
Perhaps it’s because they’re not sitting around working office jobs, watching Netflix, reading blogs and feasting on greasy hamburgers.

A Vague Anxiety as the Planet Burns

Yesterday I visited the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) – one of my all time favourite spots in Dublin…