Today's Research, Tomorrow's Treatments
Contributions of University of Utah animal research to human and animal health
Like other major research universities, the University of Utah (U) uses animals in research projects and specialized training applications aimed at furthering human and animal health. Animal research is conducted only when the project has a valuable scientific purpose and is aimed at combating disease and relieving human or animal suffering.
The University is proud of its ongoing contributions to improving human and animal health via research. Here are some examples of the treatments derived from animal research done at the U that directly benefit human and animal medicine today:
Helping Those with Epilepsy
For over 20 years, any new anticonvulsant (anti-epilepsy) drug that was to be introduced for clinical use in the U.S. first was evaluated by the U for safety and efficacy using epilepsy mouse models.
Every new anticonvulsant (anti-epilepsy) drug introduced for clinical use in the United States during the past 20 years has first been evaluated for safety and efficacy in mouse models of epilepsy at the U. Some of the commonly prescribed anticonvulsant drugs in which U research has played a key role include Topamax (topiramate, used for epilepsy and for migraine headaches), Felbatol (felbamate, used for severe epilepsy that does not respond to other drugs), Vimpat (lacosamide, used for epilepsy and for nerve pain in diabetes), and Banzel (rufinamide, used in childhood seizures, including Lennox-Gastaut syndrome).
Allowing Greater Mobility for Those With Paralysis
Developed in research on cats and monkeys at the U and widely used by scientists around the world, the Utah Electrode Array is now being successfully employed to improve the lives of paralyzed patients.
Healing Wounds in Animals More Rapidly
Novel biopolymers that promote faster and better healing of wounds were developed in animal studies at the U. These compounds are being marketed for use in veterinary medicine by Salt Lake-based Sentrx Animal Care Inc. and are also being developed for human use.
Providing Assistance to the Failing Heart
Decades of animal research at the U on implanted heart pumps has led to innovative treatments for patients with heart failure, including the recently released Levacor™ ventricular assist device (VAD) being commercialized by WorldHeart Corp., a Salt Lake City-based company.
Developing Treatments for Improved Vision
New drugs and treatments are being developed in labs at the U’s Moran Eye Center on many aspects of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), Glaucoma, and Inherited Retinal Degenerations, all leading causes of adult blindness with millions of afflicted Americans.