Policy ForumResearch Agenda

Guiding Limited Use of Chimpanzees in Research

Science  06 Jan 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6064, pp. 41-42
DOI: 10.1126/science.1217521

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Summary

Research on chimpanzees is contentious, expensive, and of increasingly limited necessity. Over the past 10 years, there have been only 110 projects involving chimpanzees sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. Close to half of these projects were used for hepatitis research; the remaining studies were in fields including comparative genomics, neuroscience and behavioral research, and infectious diseases such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). NIH requested that the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and National Research Council convene an expert committee to assess the current and future scientific necessity of chimpanzee use as a research model in publicly funded biomedical and behavioral research. The committee developed a set of uniform principles around what constitutes necessary use of chimpanzees, because of the lack of existing criteria (1).

  • * Responsibility for the content of this article rests with the authors and does not necessarily represent the views of the Institute of Medicine, its committees, and its convening activities.

  • J. P. Kahn was chair of the IOM committee (1).