A 13-year old California girl could have a lasting impact on future medical breakthroughs. Her science fair project could help find a cure for canine cancer.
When 13-year-old Allison Reed was deciding on a topic for her science fair project, she was inspired by her Golden Retriever, Sassy, who died from bladder cancer at the young age of three.
Allison said, "I wanted to know why she died of cancer. So last year, I looked at her p53 gene and it's the stop gene, and then this year I looked at her gmcsf gene, which is her immune gene."
"Allison's the type of child that's always, why did this happen and how can we help our puppies and future puppies," said her mother Rebecca Reed.
For about a year, Allison worked on her project by first extracting the mutated cancer genes from her dog's tumor, and then isolating the cancer-fighting gene.
Finally, she was able to clone that gene with the hope it can be useful in creating a vaccine for dogs.
Allison's step-father, John Levy said "It's an opportunity I wish that all students had."
Levy is not only Allison's step-father, but also her science project sponsor.
Most of Allison's work was done at a biotech company where Allison's step-father and her mother are scientists, working on cancer treatments.
"We're expecting great things from Allison," said Levy.
Allison, you've made us all proud of you, but you've also set an awfully high bar for this year's science projects all across America and around the globe.
Now, I am a pretty smart person myself, but here was my elementary school science project:
Take three kernels of corn. Put one kernel in each of three baby food jars. Water them all. One corn kernel gets no soil. One kernel gets no light. One kernel gets no air (except what was in the jar -- I didn't have access to vacuum-packing machinery).
Wait a week or two, add a few explanatory labels, and take the pitiful results to school.
Granted, that was my second grade project, but they didn't get much better from there.
Clearly there is only one solution if our kids are to have a chance to shine in their science fairs this spring. We need to hire them out as lab assistants to research scientists.
The situation is becoming desperate in Zimbabwe, where President Mugabe's ignorance of the basic laws of economics led him to try to control inflation by outlawing high prices. The predictable result: Massive shortages.
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- Pets are being slaughtered for meat in shortage-stricken Zimbabwe and record numbers of animals have been surrendered to shelters or abandoned by owners no longer able to feed them, animal welfare activists say.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said it could not feed surrendered animals or find them new homes and was being forced to kill them and destroy the corpses.
Animals, like people, are being hard hit by Zimbabwe's economic meltdown, with official inflation of more than 7,600 percent, the highest in the world. Independent estimates put real inflation closer to 25,000 percent and the International Monetary Fund has forecast it will reach 100,000 percent by the end of the year.
Vets have run out of the drug used to put down the animals and are relying on intermittent donations from neighboring South Africa. One veterinary practice was waiting for supplies to destroy about 20 animals, and on Friday could neither feed them adequately nor fatally inject them.
A sugar substitute found in a variety of sugar-free and dietetic cookies, mints and chewing gum is proving highly toxic, even fatal, to snack-snatching dogs.
Xylitol, popular in Europe for decades but a relative newcomer to the U.S. alternative-sweeteners market, can be "very, very serious" to dogs when ingested, says Dana Farbman, spokeswoman for the Animal Poison Control Center of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
"It doesn't take a whole lot (of xylitol), and the effects are so rapid that the window of opportunity to treat the dog is extremely small," Farbman says. . . . .
Within 30 minutes of consuming a small amount of a xylitol-sweetened product, the ASPCA says, dogs can experience a dramatic drop in blood sugar, and they usually begin vomiting, become lethargic and can have difficulty standing or walking. Some have seizures, develop internal hemorrhaging and lesions and suffer liver failure. As few as two or three sticks of xylitol gum could be toxic to a 20-pound dog, the ASPCA says.
Immediate and aggressive veterinary treatment, which includes glucose drips and IV fluids, has proved effective in many cases.
Dog owners, lock up your sugar-free gum and cookies! If your pet get its paws on any product containing Xylitol, get to your vet immediately (every second counts) and be prepared to pay for some life-saving treatment.