Tumors-on-Chips: Debugging the Cancer Research Model

All models are wrong — but some models are less wrong than others. At the interface of tissue engineering and microfluidic technology, tumor-on-chip systems offer tantalizing possibilities of unraveling human tumor biology and drug responses, while minimizing the time, cost, and ethical concerns of animal research.

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.

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.

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?

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

Heart disease is the number one human killer, but most other members of the animal kingdom are much less susceptible to it than we are. What is it about other animals that has allows them to dodge this epidemic while we humans suffer? Linus Pauling thought Vitamin C was the answer; Robert Sapolsky has pinned the blame on stress. But what theory do you believe?

A Vague Anxiety as the Planet Burns

We have been handed a dying Earth – a mysterious object of concern. We look at it despairingly, not quite sure what to be concerned about, nor to what degree concern is required. We are full of information (and misinformation), yet we feel empty of knowledge, and this paralyses us. It is tempting to turn our eyes away and bury our heads as the planet burns – after all, humans have been doing it for years, as though it were a dream.

Veganism in an age of Climate Emergency

“If cows were a country”, says Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, “they would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases”. Like slaughterhouses, greenhouse gases are invisible. This makes it easy for us to pretend that they don’t exist.