Restricted use of chimps in government research recommended
December 15th, 2011
12:47 PM ET

Restricted use of chimps in government research recommended

An Institute of Medicine committee has released a report recommending stringent limits on the use of chimpanzees in biomedical and behavioral lab work performed at the National Institutes of Health.  The report comes amid Congressional pressure to make sure such research is completed humanely.

The IOM’s recommendations focus on the scientific need for chimpanzees as research subjects, but they also took ethical issues into consideration. According to the IOM, chimpanzees' genetic closeness to humans and their similar biological and behavioral characteristics not only make these mammals a valuable species for certain types of research but these animals also demand “greater justification for conducting research with them,” the committee said.

"We worked with researchers, doctors, veterinarians and other experts to come up with the best recommendations possible,' said Harvey Fineberg, President of IOM. "And we had a lot of public input, taking public comments, as well as holding public hearings," Fineberg continued.

The IOM recommends that chimps should be used only if the research project cannot be ethically performed on people and that the use of these primates should be allowed only if their use will prevent humans from being treated to a life threatening or debilitating condition. According to the IOM, based on these criteria, chimpanzees are not necessary for most biomedical research.

The IOM also stated that NIH should also limit the use of chimps in behavioral research in studies that provide very few insights into normal and abnormal behavior, mental and emotional heath or cognitive skills. And if the chimps are used in these experiments, NIH should use techniques that do little harm to the animal both physically and mentally.

"The report's recommendations answer the need for a uniform set of criteria for assessing the scientific necessity of chimpanzees in biomedical, comparative genomics, and behavioral research," said committee chair Jeffrey Kahn, senior faculty member of Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, Baltimore. "The committee concluded that research use of animals that are so closely related to humans should not proceed unless it offers insights not possible with other animal models and unless it is of sufficient scientific or health value to offset the moral costs. We found very few cases that satisfy these criteria."

The IOM report stressed that animals used in either biomedical or behavioral studies must be properly cared for and held in appropriate “physical and social environments or in natural habitats,” the report adds.

According to the IOM, because of advances in research tools and methods, it’s no longer necessary to use chimpanzees as research subjects in many research projects. In a briefing on Thursday, the Institute did recognize two possible uses for chimps:  The development of a limited number of monoclonal antibody therapies for cancerous tumors that are already part of  ongoing investigations, and for the development of a vaccine that would prevent infection by hepatitis C virus.

Roughly 3.2 million Americans are chronically infected with hepatitis C and about 17,000 new infections occur each year just in the United States.  The infection can lead to liver disease and cancer  and it’s the most common cause of liver failure in the United States. Chimpanzees and humans are the only two species that can be infected with hepatitis C and no other animal model exists to test a vaccine. However, according to the IOM, a chimp’s immune system clears the virus from its body more effectively, and is less likely to develop liver damage. Because the vaccine testing would not be as dangerous to chimps, the IOM committee was evenly split on the necessity of testing various hepatitis C vaccines in chimpanzees before proceeding to human trials.

"NIH has always considered the care of chimps in their research and have been selective in their use," said NIH Director, Dr. Francis Collins. "I have considered the report carefully and have decided to accept the IOM committee recommendations, " continued Collins. "NIH is in the process of developing a complete plan for implementation of the IOM’s guiding principles and criteria. I will be assembling a working group within the NIH Council of Councils to provide advice on the implementation of the recommendations, and to consider the size and placement of the active and inactive populations of NIH-owned or supported chimpanzees. We will not issue any new awards for research involving chimpanzees until processes for implementing the recommendations are in place."

In response to the report, the organization known as PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) wrote in a statement: "The report is the first step toward ending all experimentation on these remarkable animals. PETA welcomes the Institute of Medicine committee's landmark report confirming that in the 21st century, the current use of chimpanzees—complex, intelligent, emotional individuals—in virtually every single area of testing, including HIV/AIDS, malaria, and the majority of hepatitis work, is scientifically and ethically indefensible."

The IOM group would not commit itself to declaring that chimpanzees should no longer be used in the development of treatments or preventive tools against unknown diseases or disorders. The IOM said it was “impossible” to know in advance whether the use of chimps would be effective tools for future medical discoveries.

soundoff (130 Responses)
  1. King Kong

    me likey bananas

    December 15, 2011 at 13:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dan, TX

      Chimps cost a huge amount of money to maintain. We have been told that government spending should be cut, that science and scientists are not to be trusted or listened to because they will just lie to get government grant money, and that research should be done by private business and not incompetent and wasteful government. So CONSERVATIVES, should applaud this decision. This is, after all, a direct result of the GOP deal to raise the debt ceiling. That agreement froze research spending for the next 10 years. This is part of cost-cutting, so any conservative here will applaud this decision.

      December 15, 2011 at 17:20 | Report abuse |
    • charlie harris

      Maybe Obama can get a job there after he loses the election, but probably not qualified for that either

      December 16, 2011 at 14:49 | Report abuse |
  2. USA Voter

    It's about time! People think that there are many benefits to conducting research on non human primates, but reliable correlations between humans and non human primates simply don't exist. We have better, more humane methods for medical research these days. Good job IOM and NIH!

    December 15, 2011 at 14:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • blah9999

      That's scientifically inaccurate. Of course there are correlations between chimps and humans.

      December 15, 2011 at 15:06 | Report abuse |
    • Geroge

      I also say that it scientifically not correct!

      December 15, 2011 at 15:19 | Report abuse |
    • Hear Ye

      "We have better, more humane methods for medical research these days"
      Care to elaborate so the rest of us are up to your speed regarding cutting edge research?
      Let me tell you this: If chimp use for human research allows me to live longer, the chimp dies first every time. If you hold the opposite view, go pet your cat. You have nothing to contribute intellectually here.

      December 15, 2011 at 15:31 | Report abuse |
    • DeeNYC

      Awful, more people will die because of this liberal BS. Chimps are VERY similar to us biologically. And there are NO better ways of testing than on Chimps. NONE! Why are we caving to hippy PETA losers??

      December 15, 2011 at 16:22 | Report abuse |
    • Poodles

      @DeeNYC, I hope you're one of them that dies. We have brought the illnesses so many humans suffer on ourselves. We deserve to die. We poison ourselves and then wonder why there are so many diseases. I bet you pray to the space ghost and his "son," right? We are a cancer on this planet. We need to stop all testing, not only for the inhumane procedures but hopefully we'll prescribe drugs that kill the large majority of us off. We need to go away.

      December 15, 2011 at 16:44 | Report abuse |
    • PETA People Eating Tasty Animals

      USA Voter, you are an IDIOT. You have no idea what you are talking about. However, thanks to the use of chimps in research, PETA members are able to protest by an average of 22 years more.

      December 15, 2011 at 16:52 | Report abuse |
    • NEnurse

      I agree, plus...I hate the thought of people OR animals being used as test subjects for corrupt pharmaceutical (and eventually insurance) companies. Get them functioning for more actual health benefits and less giant profit. Then we'll talk.

      December 15, 2011 at 17:04 | Report abuse |
    • PETA People Eating Tasty Animals

      Wow, as a nurse you are seriously misinformed.

      December 15, 2011 at 17:23 | Report abuse |
    • akork

      @NENurse There is no medicine on the market today that was tested on animals OR people, it is tested on animals and then in people. It is not an either/or, its both. Before it is tested on animals it is tested in cell culture and before it is tested in cell culture it is tested and developed in vitro. This is a multistep process taking place over usually a 20+ year period.

      Also exactly how do you think that conducting animal testing rather than not increases profits. Personally I believe that not conducting animal testing is in fact cheaper than doing so.

      December 15, 2011 at 18:05 | Report abuse |
    • NRGDrinks101

      @ Poodles: I bet you won't have that opinion when you're laying on your death bed 🙂

      December 16, 2011 at 20:49 | Report abuse |
  3. JDR

    Long overdue, but better late than never. What good news. Progress is slow, but at least we're moving in the right direction.

    December 15, 2011 at 14:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hear Ye

      You are so delusional that the strongest medication will never bring you around. Join the peta fanatics and die young and $tupid.

      December 15, 2011 at 15:33 | Report abuse |
    • DeeNYC

      When a close family member contracts some disease let's see how you feel, but OH you feel animals and your family members are on the same level right?

      December 15, 2011 at 16:23 | Report abuse |
  4. MS1234

    Finally! Wow I get really wound up about this, just to see a mention of the article, albeit now showing the elimination of this barbaric practice, even gets me riled. I STRONGLY hope and suggest use of animals AT ALL in experiments is banned. USA Voter is right-really what use is it, since they would STILL have to go thru human trials for any drugs. I think we know by now what is bad. Dont need to keep proving it by hurting other creatures. GRRRRRRRR.

    December 15, 2011 at 14:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • BleedingHearts-URGH!

      You whiney twits make me laugh. You want the government to regulate everything in your life to 'protect' you but you are willing to give up important research avenues that could ultimately result in medications that could save your life or someone you care about. There's much more to life than losing your sh!!t over research animals

      December 15, 2011 at 14:57 | Report abuse |
    • Adriana F

      I'm sorry, but there are strong correlations between non human primates and humans. That's the whole reason we do the research on the macaque, or chimp or whatever primate is used...to make sure a medication doesn't kill you. But, if you prefer that I just start doing all my pharmacological testing on humans, and I'm sure you'll be at the front of the line volunteering since you wanted us to do away with animal models, you won't mind the pain and loss of human life. Or, we'll stop creating medications and all go back to dying at 50. Anyway, NIH made a strong decision here, to limit research to what is necessary to preserve human life, while minimizing pain and suffering to one of our closest relatives. It would be nice to forego research on apes completely, but at this point, is impossible.

      December 15, 2011 at 15:20 | Report abuse |
    • Hear Ye

      So you'd see humans harmed before animals in the quest to enhance and extent human life?
      Beyond Stupid.

      December 15, 2011 at 15:36 | Report abuse |
    • PETA People Eating Tasty Animals

      I can't believe how uninformed some people are. If you have never dealt with research you do not have a clue what you are talking about. The animals in research are treated more humanely than you or I. Like I've said before, the use of animal research has allowed your idiotic life to be extended an average of 22 years longer.

      December 15, 2011 at 16:59 | Report abuse |
  5. Mike B.

    Why not do the testing on death row inmates? Finally make the inmate have a positive impact on society. Leave the chimps to flying test rockets for NASA!

    December 15, 2011 at 14:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Geroge

      To get more test subjects we could put more blacks on death row right???

      December 15, 2011 at 15:20 | Report abuse |
    • Hear Ye

      Now George: We can't just populate death row with blacks – they're mostly blacks now. For a reason, I suspect. Likely they did something Baaaaaaaaad. It's the culture!

      December 15, 2011 at 15:43 | Report abuse |
    • DaveB

      Because after WW2 the civilized world mandated that no medical experiments will be tested on humans before it is used in animal models. It is current US law that new drugs be tested using animal models BEFORE human trials. It's not an either or thing. First it's tested in an animal model and those drugs that show promise move on to human trials.

      December 15, 2011 at 16:30 | Report abuse |
  6. palintwit

    So now how are the Palins going to earn a living ?

    December 15, 2011 at 14:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hear Ye

      Now let's se ........ sell more fish? Sue your a$$?

      December 15, 2011 at 15:40 | Report abuse |
    • palintwit

      @ Hear Ye... sue me? Why?

      December 15, 2011 at 15:45 | Report abuse |
  7. Eric

    Why does the media always quote PETA – they're an extremist group. How about asking a more responsible organization, like the Humane Society?

    December 15, 2011 at 14:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Austin

      Good point. So many animal rights/welfare advocates are embarrassed by PETA's antics, but for some reason they seem to be what people associate with "animal lover."

      December 15, 2011 at 15:18 | Report abuse |
    • Hear Ye

      PETA? Those folks are plain whacko and out of touch with reality.

      We should inhstead consult role models such as Pamela Anderson, who obviously has an advanced brain.

      December 15, 2011 at 15:39 | Report abuse |
    • ATLDoogie

      Eric, most people who call PETA people crazy or hippies or losers or fanatics have never actually sat down and read their magazine. I bet you would agree with 95% of their programs.......I do and I'm a conservative old man.

      December 15, 2011 at 17:03 | Report abuse |
    • Montyhp

      American Human society, yes. HSUS, no better than PETA.

      December 15, 2011 at 19:42 | Report abuse |
  8. BleedingHearts-URGH!

    "Similiar biological and behaviorial characteristics" of chimps to humans is THE reason to keep doing research on them. Unless you're willing to have some of your family members have experiments conducted on them instead.

    December 15, 2011 at 14:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Justin

      Luckily we have a long list of inmates in prisons for the rest of their lives and people on death row.

      December 15, 2011 at 15:33 | Report abuse |
  9. Lydia

    Chimps are not humans. To find out the effects on humans you need to use humans. Pay people to volunteer for experiments and end useless suffering.

    December 15, 2011 at 14:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Geroge

      We already do that!

      December 15, 2011 at 15:22 | Report abuse |
    • Hear Ye

      Let us know when YOU sign up Lydia. Then I can thank your headstone for advancing my life – all the while stroking my pet chimp who is just too cute.

      December 15, 2011 at 15:46 | Report abuse |
    • Eeyore

      God, Georgie, you're so f# ckin dumb. If we already did that, we wouldn't be using chimps.


      December 15, 2011 at 21:46 | Report abuse |
  10. Wet Willy

    Chimps should have the right to vote. They are smarter than alot of the goons I see in the media and on the street.

    December 15, 2011 at 15:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hear Ye

      There. We just KNEW you were hanging with the improper genetic crowd. Have a banana willyboy, or billybob or whatever.

      December 15, 2011 at 15:48 | Report abuse |
  11. MissyLu

    I have a terminal disease that is uncurable at this time, however I do NOT WANT ANY EXPERIMENTS DONE ON ANY ANIMALS. I feel for these animals being locked up and not treated properly.

    December 15, 2011 at 15:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hear Ye

      I'm afraid they're just not feelin' you unfortunately. Best of luck. I am in the same situation.
      Perhaps your illenss will one day be curable thanks to Peter Rabbit, Bambi and Bonzo the chimp.

      December 15, 2011 at 15:51 | Report abuse |
    • BioHzrd420

      NEWSFLASH.... The medicines and treatments you receive now were tested on animals. Sorry to burst your bubble.

      December 15, 2011 at 16:07 | Report abuse |
    • DaveB

      Then die. That's your choice.

      December 15, 2011 at 16:32 | Report abuse |
    • akork

      I am fine with people taking a personal moral stand for themselves but not for making moral judgments on humanity as a whole. For instance you may decide that drinking alcohol is wrong and harmful and therefore abstain from doing so which is a personal choice or you might instead lobby for alcohol to be banned thereby taking your personal moral judgement and trying to force it onto others. By analogy if you do not like animal research simply abstain from products derived from that research, but to call for it to be banned is to pass moral judgement on the world in a way that I think is unfair to everyone else. What of the people who need treatment and do not have an issue with animal research, do you wish to prevent them from recieving those treatments?

      December 15, 2011 at 18:00 | Report abuse |
    • Frangible

      Natural selection at work.

      December 16, 2011 at 09:42 | Report abuse |
  12. us1776

    Could you limit some of the chimps that pose as doctors as well?


    December 15, 2011 at 15:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • palintwit

      You must mean those doctors from India and the Far East.

      December 15, 2011 at 15:09 | Report abuse |
    • us1776

      palintwit, no, we have our own crop of dimwit md's right here.

      December 15, 2011 at 15:48 | Report abuse |
  13. palintwit

    Instead of chimps, they should make the entire 2012 GOP presidential line-up available for experimentation.

    December 15, 2011 at 15:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MissyLu


      December 15, 2011 at 15:09 | Report abuse |
    • Poodles

      Wouldn't be any use... They're not human, or a close relative either.

      December 15, 2011 at 16:47 | Report abuse |
  14. smiles

    I of course welcome all developments that would help curb post apocalyptic scenarios.

    December 15, 2011 at 15:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. akork

    As someone who works in the drug development field let me state that the use of animals in research is necessary for the development of therapeutics not to mention there use in basic science research. Trust me, if there was away around using animals we wouldn't use them..not only for humane reasons but because honestly its a huge resource sink both in terms of money and time to care for respect animals used by the IACUC and OLAW. To run an animal facility is not cheap and not easy and if there was a way to conduct research by some other means scientists would flock to the alternative in droves. The truth is as it stands there is no alternative, one cannot predict the toxicity of new drugs before animal testing and the idea of using human volunteers instead is ridiculous as some would be guarenteed to die.

    I agree that animals should not be abused and that the existance of bueracracies to protect them is a good thing but to claim that animals have no use in research is just ignorant. The animals used in our facility are bred for the purpose of laboratory science and are treated as humanly as possible. Experimental protocols follow the IACUC guidelines and are rejected if they do not meet those stringent criteria.

    To those of you that claim that animal research isn't necessary why exactly is it do you think that scientists conduct animal research? It certainly isn't because it is cheap or easy I can guarentee you that.

    December 15, 2011 at 15:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ThePreacherTheTeacher

      The voice of knowledge, experience and reason speaks! Thanks!

      December 15, 2011 at 15:44 | Report abuse |
    • Is Your Research That Sloppy?

      I hope you're more accurate with scientific data than you are with spelling. As for the welfare of chimps at NIH, my friend worked there and had numerous horror stories of primates missing hands from self-inflicted injuries, being abused for fun by employees because the animals lashed out in pain, etc. Anything that reduces their torture is good.

      December 15, 2011 at 15:59 | Report abuse |
    • BioHzrd420

      As scientist who uses mice in research, I probably couldn't have put it better myself. If people think the hurdles and red tape to do animal research are big, wait till they find out what it takes to do research with humans.

      December 15, 2011 at 16:12 | Report abuse |
    • DaveB

      @ Is Your Research That Sloppy?: I would suggest you're friends are lying. There are strict regulations and inspections on the welfare of the animals used in research. The Animal Welfare Act, the Public Health Policy on the Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, and the Guide to the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals all clearly dictate how these animals are to be treated and provided for. If your friends witnessed any wrong doing they should have reported it. To not do so makes them complicit in the abuse.

      December 15, 2011 at 16:36 | Report abuse |
    • akork

      @IsYourResearchSoSloppy. Apologies if my spelling offended you however I don't really see the relevance in that aspect of your comment so I'm going to let it slide. As for the rest of what you said I cannot speak towards treatment of primates in our facilities because we do not conduct primate research. You see I for one try not to comment on things for which I have no knowledge or experience other than hearsay, you should try it sometime. My original comment was directed at previous comments calling for the abolishment of all animal research or the suggestion that animal research as a whole served no purpose.

      If pressed on what I believe to be true however I would have to side with DavidB and state that it seems very unlikely that such conduct would be happening at NIH and if it were that it wouldn't immediately be stomped out. Like DavidB I'd also be curious to know if the friends in your story reported the abuse, what the outcome was and if they did not report the abuse why not?

      December 15, 2011 at 17:06 | Report abuse |
    • PETA People Eating Tasty Animals

      @Is your research that sloppy – You are just a typical tree hugger who has not idea what you are talking about. But like I said earlier, the use of animal research has allowed pathetic idiots like you to be on this earth by an average of 22 years longer.

      December 15, 2011 at 17:17 | Report abuse |
  16. bart

    I have not yet seen the person that blames this on Obama and his need to take away our rights to test on chimps because he is weak and not from this country. This is a good start.

    December 15, 2011 at 15:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • palintwit

      These chimps probably are not from this country and may also be secret muslims.

      December 15, 2011 at 15:17 | Report abuse |
  17. Ape Al Sharpton

    Is Al Sharpton going to issue a statement?

    December 15, 2011 at 15:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. cyberCMDR

    There are some forms of research that would be very hard to complete without primates. For example, brain studies that look at how they process visual/auditory information or control muscles. This type of research is leading to prostheses directly controlled by the brain, synthetic vision for the blind, etc. For this you need an animal that can be trained to do simple tasks that mimic human behavior. While this type of research does not immediately impact human health, it certainly will within the next few decades.

    December 15, 2011 at 15:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Humane, or Not?

      How are those studies performed? Would it be impossible, or merely more difficult, to conduct them on humans?

      December 15, 2011 at 16:01 | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      I recommend using conservatives. They are a lower form of life that can be trained (sort of) to mimic human behavior, and they don't have as high a level of emotional or intellectual development as chimps, so we would be doing less harm. A just think of the parallel studies that could be done on the long-term effects of Dr. pepper and Little Debbie Snack Cakes. It should be cheaper to maintain them as well. Just put up a couple of trailer parks with cable and you won't need cages.

      December 15, 2011 at 16:17 | Report abuse |
    • Sporky08

      Humane or Not?- Research dealing with processing sensory data would be almost impossible to do on humans- it often involves (more or less) blindfolding an animal for extended periods of time and tracking the parts of the brain that deal with sight and how the brain/neurons change. The same principle goes with hearing.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:27 | Report abuse |
  19. Geroge

    If you don't like using animals .. stop eating meat and wearing cloths .... and never never take any medicine!

    December 15, 2011 at 15:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. pete

    So in other words..."we're going to keep doing what we've been doing, but will say flowery words to make you think we're doing something different." There are already stringent limits to the use of non-human primates in research. The amount of work and research that is done BEFORE these chimps are ever used is not trivial. And extensive protocols must be submitted and approved before any study including these animals can ever be started. This is such a non-story.

    December 15, 2011 at 15:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • akork

      Totally agreed.

      December 15, 2011 at 15:32 | Report abuse |
    • Hear Ye

      Bigfat DITTO

      December 15, 2011 at 15:54 | Report abuse |
    • joe

      These articles bring out the crazies so it is useless to even give you're opinion (or in this case factual statements), but pete is 100% correct. I work in biomedical research lab, with animals, so I know first hand.

      December 15, 2011 at 16:53 | Report abuse |
    • akork

      Heck, there are "stringent limits to the use of" mice as well and the "amount of work and research that is done BEFORE these" mice "are ever used is not trivial." I work in biomedical research as well and the amount of hoops you have to jump through to get experiments involving animals approved would scare away a tax accountant.

      That said I agree with the existance of those hoops...use of animals should never be trivial, however anyone suggesting that we conduct animal research because it is akin to laziness clearly has no idea what they are talking about.

      December 15, 2011 at 17:12 | Report abuse |
  21. Johnny 5

    As we are the fifth ape, using chimps ( our cousins) for experimentation should have long since been considered torture or even murder at times.

    December 15, 2011 at 16:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DeeNYC

      Only to dumb @sses like you.

      December 15, 2011 at 16:27 | Report abuse |
  22. DavidE7

    The IOM decision to limit the use of primates in biological and behavioral research is highly unethical. Ethics always involves the determination of the lesser of two or more evils. Sending men to their death in wartime is not unethical if the lives of many more people are likely to be saved. Similarly, no research with a limited number of large animals is unethical if it will lead to the prevention of suffering of untold millions of as yet unborn humans. By definition, the results of scientific research cannot be known in advance, including which studies will be ground breaking. By limiting the ability of scientists to gain knowledge about biological and behavioral pathways in disease, this committee is preventing the very kind of work that could someday make the work of some physicians unnecessary. In the final analysis, that is probably why they are doing it.

    December 15, 2011 at 16:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. agathokles

    It's just all about election-year politics. The administration is trying to woo the chimp vote.

    December 15, 2011 at 16:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DaveB

      It won't work. The Republicans aren't going to vote for him anyway.

      December 15, 2011 at 16:38 | Report abuse |
  24. Don

    I don't know why we use chimps for anything when there's so many chumps out there. Why not take a chump who's in prison for life and use them instead? You can feed the chump ramen noodles which is tons cheaper than bananas and chances are the chump is trained to use the toilet, so you can omit the job of cleaning the cage.

    December 15, 2011 at 16:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. FU

    They now use real people, sorry "insurgents", kidnapped from all over the world and held indefinitely for experiments...

    December 15, 2011 at 16:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. DeeNYC

    This is a decision that will let many people die while waiting for helpful medicine. Chimps are 98% genetically similar to humans so testing on them gives real data pertaining to humans. Every tree hugger always says there are better ways to test but never specify an alternative. There are NO alternative except for human trials. And unless one of you hippies are willing to voluteer stop getting in the way of progress!! God forbid someone you love contracts an illness and dies because there isn't proper medicine available yet.

    December 15, 2011 at 16:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alpine8

      You'd work...you seem to be 98% genetically similar – going by your posts on the subject.

      December 15, 2011 at 17:30 | Report abuse |
  27. JimmmyNelson

    Matthew Broderick doesnt have anything to do with this, does he?

    December 15, 2011 at 16:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Patrish

    (1960) Thalidomide was one of the greatest cases in history of a drug disaster tragedy being caused by animal research. The nightmare drug was responsible for over 10,000 human birth defects. Animals testing didn't work out so well there . Does that make the 'test on animals' group feel more secure?? There are better ways to test drugs, and it's up to the scientific community to find them.

    December 15, 2011 at 16:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DaveB

      If PETA and the HSUS donated even a tenth of what they haul in for donations to searching for alternatives we'd have more of them..Instead they rake in the money from mindless idiots who think they are looking out for animal welfare. While there have been failures, you fail to mention the thousands of drugs that have been successful because of animal testing.

      December 15, 2011 at 16:40 | Report abuse |
    • akork

      The "test on animals group"? You mean the people who conduct research? Yes, conducting tox and efficacy studies on animals before moving on to human clinical trials DOES make us feel more secure. Your argument makes about as much sense as relating a story about a guy falling out of a plane without a parachute and surviving and then arguing that its fine to jump out of planes without parachutes. Clearly animal testing saves human lives, thats just a fact. If you want to argue that we should not value human life over animal life fine, but to claim that animals studies serve no purpose is easily refuted.

      December 15, 2011 at 16:52 | Report abuse |
    • PETA People Eating Tasty Animals

      You had to be one of those with the birth defect you twit.

      December 15, 2011 at 17:02 | Report abuse |
    • Dan, TX

      So .... your answer is not to test at all? Chimps are a much better model for humans than any other animal. But chimps are EXPENSIVE. It costs more to keep a chimp for experimentation for a year than the median US family income in the US. I think we should do the experiments on death row inmates and leave the innocent chimps alone so I completely support this.

      December 15, 2011 at 17:07 | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Thalidomide was never tested on pregnant animals before it was given to pregnant women, if it had been there is a strong probability that it would never have been approved for use by them. It causes birth defects or reduced litter sizes in animals.

      The Thalidomide disaster shows why animal studies are so important, even now no in vitro tests are available that would uncover the potential for thalidomide to cause birth defects.

      Typical misrepresentation by an animal rights supporeter, still spreading the same old lies.

      December 15, 2011 at 17:25 | Report abuse |
  29. Callie

    This is Great! I'm so glad to see such a thing happenning.

    December 15, 2011 at 16:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • PETA People Eating Tasty Animals

      Tree Hugger

      December 15, 2011 at 17:02 | Report abuse |
  30. kinglywarrior

    In a related story, "Rise of Planet of the Apes" came out on DVD on Tuesday.

    December 15, 2011 at 16:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. ripvanwillie

    In a related story, representatives of the chimpanzee zoo union said that if a testing ban is passed chimps in zoos will stop throwing their poo at human visitors.

    December 15, 2011 at 16:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. PETA People Eating Tasty Animals

    Thanks to the use of chimps in research, PETA members are able to protest by an average of 22 years more.

    December 15, 2011 at 16:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. C

    NIH may restrict the usage of chimps but i bet NIMH is all for using them

    December 15, 2011 at 17:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Marlin Perkins

    Ratherr than life setences and Death Penalties, do the research on the real animals we have in our prisons. More likely vailid answers and the human animals can see how they like it. Also, would be a good payback to the society these people have harmed and maybe right a few wrongs in the grand scale of things. True justice. If they die so what. They are on death row anyway. At least their deaths could have some result and cure someone elses death sentence

    December 15, 2011 at 17:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alpine8

      Ya beat me to it, but only by a few minutes! I like the way you think...

      December 15, 2011 at 17:25 | Report abuse |
  35. Alpine8

    What gives humans the right to test on any animal??? All creatures on this planet have the right to exist, and not be subject to this cr@p! Here's an idea... Since the prison system is so over-crowded with the 'lower' part of society, experiment on them. That should give the researchers solid data...

    December 15, 2011 at 17:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • PETA People Eating Tasty Animals

      Be quiet misinformed Tree Hugger

      December 15, 2011 at 17:28 | Report abuse |
  36. Ellie_m

    My 8 year old is treated at NIH for serious illnesses. I love animals, and would love to not have research tested on them, but since there are not human volunteers, I pray for ethical treatment of animals and positive research outcomes for humans. Thanks, NIH, for keeping my daughter alive.

    December 15, 2011 at 17:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. UKSci

    The apparent lack of education on this comment feed is disturbing. As a trained scientist, I know first hand the need to test on animals. Yes, it's sad that a living creature has to die, but consider the alternative – a loved one dies because we have not developed a therapy to treat them. To all of you PETA / animal rights people, I hope you realize that the scientific and medical community regards you as an uneducated and ungrateful group of individuals. You have absolutely no idea how the animals are treated, and what we do every day to bring life saving medicines to YOU. Do I wish we could do it without hurting anything? Of course. And in many cases, rodents instead of chimps/primates are used. But eliminating animal testing altogether is not a possibility right now. So while the hardworking scientists of this world toil away to save you or your family, you are screaming at them on the street holding signs as they walk to work. If you do not like how the drugs are developed, do not take them when you are dying of cancer or losing your memory due to Alzheimer's disease. However, you have NO right to give authority and disrespect the scientists and physicians who are trying to make the world a better place.

    December 15, 2011 at 17:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Bravo

    I don't see why testing isn't conducted on prison inmates. The government is already putting up money for the maintenance and care of inmates, why not put them to good use.

    December 15, 2011 at 18:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • akork

      Probably because it would be hard to get an F1.

      December 15, 2011 at 19:26 | Report abuse |
    • Easy E

      Exactly. Sitting around in prison is not a repaying of a debt to society, it is really just damage prevention. If they really are to pay us back, the least they could do is help with the research process. We could offer to reduce their sentence in exchange for successful participation in one or more studies.

      December 16, 2011 at 11:52 | Report abuse |
    • akork

      Human studies are already conducted with volunteers. That doesn't eliminate the need for animal studies. The initial in vivo studies are done with animals for more reason that just because that is currently allowed. Even if you could test on humans freely it would be impractical to do so when you are trying to determine pharmacokinetics and tox on a large number of trial compounds. Mice are used because they are immunologically similar to humans, they breed fast allowing you to use an F1 population with similar traits for comparison, and they are small so the amount of compound required to test is 500x times less than for a human. Initial trials usually require that the animal be sacraficed at the end so basically 100% mortality which I don't think any human would "volunteer" for.

      December 16, 2011 at 15:27 | Report abuse |
  39. akork

    I think clearly there is a lot of misunderstanding or ignorance about how drug development is done so I am going to try to give a brief description here for people to comment on or say what part exactly they think is unneccesary. These general sketch is refered to as the drug development pipeline. There are variations of how the i screens are done (im using target based screening as an example) but the rest is pretty standard.

    Step 1 Target Identification: Basic research carried out to identify potentially druggable targets. This can take a very long time.

    Step 2 Hit Generation: Once a target is picked vast libraries of chemical compounds (in the millions) are screened and measured for activity against the target. Compounds that show activity move to the next step. This process can take years.

    Step 3 Lead Generation: Thousands of active compounds are then put through a bevy of tests in vitro (not in animals) to determine properties such as solubility, ability to permeate cells, pharmokinetic properties and toxicity against cell lines. Promising compounds are given to chemists who make entire series of similar compounds which are then tested again and again until a few compounds are made that have the ideal properties.

    Step 4 Preclinical studies: Now animal trials are done. This includes efficacy studies to look for the desired effect in which case animals are challenged with the disease and given the treatement as well as toxicity studies to see how much drug is tolerated. There is no in vitro method that can predict the outcome of these tests. Often a drug that showed no toxicity in cell lines will show toxicity in an animal model for example. This process takes years and often eliminates most of the lead compounds down to 1 or 2.

    Step 5 Phase 1 Clinical Trials: 20-80 healthy individuals are given the drug. This is just to test for any toxicity issues that were not caught by the animal models. 1-2 years. Drugs shown to be safe move on.

    Step 6 Phase 3 Clinical Trials: This involves 100-300 individuals and tests for efficacy of the drug against disease. Drugs shown to be efficacious move on. 1-2 years

    Step 7 Phase 3 Clinical trials: Involves thousands of individuals, is basically a ramp up in scale of the phase II trial to generate more data. Takes 2-3 years. Only drugs deemed safe and efficacious move on.

    Step 8 FDA review: The FDA review everything from Step 1 to Step 7 and decides to approve or deny based on the quality of the studies. 1-2 years

    Step 9 Product development: Even after FDA approval much work has to be done to set up the facilities necessary to produce the drug in large enough scale for effective distribution. This can also take years.

    As you can see this is a very long, very complicated process that animal testing is just a small but very important part of. The suggestion that human testing could somehow replace animal testing is a gross misunderstanding of the purpose of animal testing in the first place and the amound of work that is involved.

    December 15, 2011 at 18:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Easy E

      I disagree that any of those steps REQUIRE years. Perhaps they did in 1950, they don't now. A library can be screened for hits in a matter of days. The lengthy cycle to market has a lot more to do with regulatory hoops and corporate monolith do-nothing/don't'-make-decisions-because-the-wrong-one-gets-you-fired bureaucracy than anything else.

      If our society would stop suing the pants off of each other and learn to live with a little bit of calculated risk, we could develop drugs even more rapidly than they did in WWII (and even then, they did it in a matter of months, not years).

      December 16, 2011 at 11:46 | Report abuse |
  40. Montyhp

    I am sure IOM is cringing at the thought of being praised by PETA.

    December 15, 2011 at 19:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Frangible

    This is only for research performed at the NIH where the use of chimps was already more limited due to politics in the first place. The vast majority of research using chimps will not be affected. Even at the NIH, most of the current research will still be permitted, and can be expanded when they deem it scientifically beneficial, which was already the criteria for getting funding in the first place. In other words it is a token political gesture of appeasement that changes little, but is effective because anti-science zealots weren't exactly biomedical researchers to begin with, and thus are easily manipulated.

    December 16, 2011 at 09:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Macmaven

    You want to cure a human disease or ailment, then you have to test on humans. What's the problem? Pay them well and you'll have plenty of subjects walking through the door.

    December 16, 2011 at 10:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • akork

      The "problem" is that to develop a treatment you have to first go through the process of testing on animals before moving the tests to humans. The reason is initial tests cause the death of the individuals. I don't think you will get many human volunteers for that. How exactly do you carry out an efficacy and tox study without causing death?

      December 16, 2011 at 15:51 | Report abuse |
  43. hical

    protect the primates because they are similar to humans, feel pain too. but abortion of human babies is ok ......

    December 16, 2011 at 11:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Easy E

      Two wrongs don't make a right. You shouldn't abuse animals, and you shouldn't kill a fetus unless there is no other option to save the mother's life. Respecting life is universal.

      December 16, 2011 at 11:40 | Report abuse |
  44. USA #1

    People you should visit this site for more information about this article:

    December 16, 2011 at 11:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Easy E

    I'm not sure why chimps are used for anything other than neuroscience research where their close phylogenetic ties actually count for something. It is SO much cheaper to use rats, mice, pigs, etc. There are very few drugs or toxicological studies that really require chimps to accurately evaluate cytotoxicity, pharmacokinetics, or therapeutic dosage level -especially now that we have made such prides in human stem cell research.

    Frankly, we as a society also ought to consider allowing human testing in early stage research...we have LOTS of worthless criminals sitting aorund jails or thugging around society, give them the option (reduced sentencing) to do something useful with their otherwise nonproductive lives.

    December 16, 2011 at 11:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • akork

      Yeah I'll admit I don't know much about the use of primates in research, I've only worked on projects or in labs that used mice or guienu pigs and pretty much for the reasons you said. Still, it is hard for me to believe that researchers that DO do work with primates do that work without good cause. I tend to want to give them the benefit of the doubt and I am pretty sure that it was already required to justify the need to use primates (or any animal for that matter) in your research by OLAW and IACUC. Actually I'm not sure how this regulation they are discussing is "new" at all, seems to me like its decades old.

      December 16, 2011 at 15:42 | Report abuse |
  46. Tex71

    The IOM’s recommendations followed an office party which featured a showing of "Rise of the Planet of the Apes".

    December 16, 2011 at 11:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. myaka

    A step in the right direction, but... " a valuable species for certain types of research "...we have no right to experiment on any species simple because they have no voice to object. There will always be people willing to participate in trials, whether it is because they have run out of options, or will be compensated, but either way it is their choice.
    And, please spare me the "...but what if it was you, or your kids..." I am against animal testing. Period.

    December 16, 2011 at 12:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • akork

      Many trials require the death of the animal involved. I doubt there will be many human volunteers for that. What is your solution?

      December 16, 2011 at 15:45 | Report abuse |
  48. AnneHSUS

    All of us at the HSUS are very encouraged by the IOM's conclusions. Those who are interested in doing more to help chimps in labs can take action at https://secure.humanesociety.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=5023 to urge your representatives to support the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act.

    December 16, 2011 at 13:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Winston5

    Why stop now guys, you've almost wiped them off the planet? Stay classy!

    December 17, 2011 at 11:46 | Report abuse | Reply


    December 17, 2011 at 23:39 | Report abuse | Reply
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