World Premiere of "Herding For A Cure" at Houston Zoo on October 27th

Oct 12, 2011, 09:15 ET from Foundation for Biomedical Research

Documentary tells the incredible story of an unprecedented partnership that is saving Asian elephants from a deadly killer

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) and executive producer Frankie Trull announced today the world premiere of their made-for-television documentary SurvivorTales: Herding For A Cure at the Houston Zoo's Brown Education Center on Thursday, October 27th at 6:00 p.m.  With this distinguished documentary, FBR brings to life the story of how cutting-edge research at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) is helping juvenile Asian elephants -- at the Houston Zoo and beyond -- which are at risk of dying from a virus called elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV).  Young Asian elephants, both in the wild and in captivity, are very susceptible to dying from this deadly virus, which can kill an animal within 24 hours.

"The partnership between BCM and the Houston Zoo is not only helping baby elephants in zoos, but it could also have huge implications for the entire Asian elephant population, which is at risk for extinction," said Rick Barongi, Director of the Houston Zoo. "Because Asian elephants are an endangered species, any threat to their survival is important to understand, and this collaboration has the potential to save this endangered species from extinction."

"Collaboration is a key to the success of Baylor College of Medicine," said Dr. Paul Klotman, BCM president and CEO. "In this case, our scientists, working together with the expert team at the Houston Zoo, are making a significant impact on saving an endangered species. We are proud to be involved in this exciting research."

BCM and the Houston Zoo's commitment to EEHV research has led to the development of an ultra-sensitive diagnostic test that detects the earliest signs of elephant herpesvirus in baby elephants' blood.  Two baby elephants at the Houston Zoo are benefitting from the new EEHV screening test:  Baylor (named after BCM) and his sister Tupelo.  Both born within the past two years, Baylor and Tupelo are thriving because the new EEHV screening test helps the elephants remain healthy until there is an effective vaccine for EEHV. The ultimate goal is to develop a vaccine to protect both elephants in zoos and in the wild against the EEHV virus.  

"Herding For A Cure" tells the story of the fruitful partnership between BCM and the Houston Zoo and how it is not only helping baby elephants at the Houston Zoo, but also the entire endangered Asian elephant population. Credentialed press and the public are invited to attend the premiere event. Please email or call 202-457-0654 to RSVP.  

Established in 1981, FBR is the nation's oldest and largest organization devoted to educating the public about the essential role of biomedical research in the quest for medical advancements, treatments and cures for both humans and animals.  For more information, visit

SOURCE Foundation for Biomedical Research