chimpanzee

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The Use of Live Apes in Research in the Twenty-first Century

Joakim Hagelin

A literature-based survey was conducted on the use of live apes in research between 2000 and 2003. The 599 studies identified and considered were grouped according to area of research, taxonomy and geographic location of the work. The results suggested that behaviour/cognition, conservation and various applications related to virology (most notably, hepatitis and HIV) were the most frequent areas of research. Of the studies, 73% were classified as non-invasive, whereas 27% were classified as invasive. Among the invasive studies, 39% were scored as of mild severity, and 61% were scored as of moderate/substantial severity. Pan species were involved in 65% of the studies, Gorilla species in 15%, Pongo species in 12%, and Hylobates species in 8%. Most of the invasive research was conducted in the USA (60%). The majority of the non-invasive research was conducted in the USA (31%), Japan (13%), or in the animals’ natural habitats in Africa (35%) and Asia (8%).
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An Assessment of the Role of Chimpanzees in AIDS Vaccine Research

Jarrod Bailey

Prior to Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV)-infected macaques becoming the ‘model of choice’ in the 1990s, chimpanzees were widely used in AIDS vaccine research and testing. Faced with the continued failure to develop an effective human vaccine, some scientists are calling for a return to their widespread use. To assess the past and potential future contribution of chimpanzees to AIDS vaccine development, databases and published literature were systematically searched to compare the results of AIDS vaccine trials in chimpanzees with those of human clinical trials, and to determine whether the chimpanzee trials were predictive of the human response. Protective and/or therapeutic responses have been elicited in chimpanzees, via: passive antibody transfer; CD4 analogues; attenuated virus; many types and combinations of recombinant HIV proteins; DNA vaccines; recombinant adenovirus and canarypox vaccines; and many multi-component vaccines using more than one of these approaches. Immunogenicity has also been shown in chimpanzees for vaccinia-based and peptide vaccines. Protection and/or significant therapeutic effects have not been demonstrated by any vaccine to date in humans. Vaccine responses in chimpanzees and humans are highly discordant. Claims of the importance of chimpanzees in AIDS vaccine development are without foundation, and a return to the use of chimpanzees in AIDS research/vaccine development is
scientifically unjustifiable.
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2017-01-09T06:37:34+00:00 Tags: , , , , |

An Examination of Chimpanzee Use in Human Cancer Research

Jarrod Bailey

Advocates of chimpanzee research claim the genetic similarity of humans and chimpanzees make them an indispensable research tool to combat human diseases. Given that cancer is a leading cause of human death worldwide, one might expect that if chimpanzees were needed for, or were productive in, cancer research, then they would have been widely used. This comprehensive literature analysis reveals that chimpanzees have scarcely been used in any form of cancer research, and that chimpanzee tumours are extremely rare and biologically different from human cancers. Often, chimpanzee citations described peripheral use of chimpanzee cells and genetic material in predominantly human genomic studies. Papers describing potential new cancer therapies noted significant concerns regarding the chimpanzee model. Other studies described interventions that have not been pursued clinically. Finally, available evidence indicates that chimpanzees are not essential in the development of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies. It would therefore be unscientific to claim that chimpanzees are vital to cancer research. On the contrary, it is reasonable to conclude that cancer research would not suffer, if the use of chimpanzees for this purpose were prohibited in the US. Genetic differences between humans and chimpanzees, make them an unsuitable model for cancer, as well as other human diseases.
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2017-01-09T06:37:47+00:00 Tags: , , , |

An Assessment of the Use of Chimpanzees in Hepatitis C Research Past, Present and Future: 1. Validity of the Chimpanzee Model

Jarrod Bailey

The USA is the only significant user of chimpanzees in biomedical research in the world, since many countries have banned or limited the practice due to substantial ethical, economic and scientific concerns. Advocates of chimpanzee use cite hepatitis C research as a major reason for its necessity and continuation, in spite of supporting evidence that is scant and often anecdotal. This paper examines the scientific and ethical issues surrounding chimpanzee hepatitis C research, and concludes that claims of the necessity of chimpanzees in historical and future hepatitis C research are exaggerated and unjustifiable, respectively. The chimpanzee model has several major scientific, ethical, economic and practical caveats. It has made a relatively negligible contribution to knowledge of, and tangible progress against, the hepatitis C virus compared to non-chimpanzee research, and must be considered scientifically redundant, given the array of alternative methods of inquiry now available. The continuation of chimpanzee use in hepatitis C research adversely affects scientific progress, as well as chimpanzees and humans in need of treatment. Unfounded claims of its necessity should not discourage changes in public policy regarding the use of chimpanzees in US laboratories.
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An Assessment of the Use of Chimpanzees in Hepatitis C Research Past, Present and Future: 2. Alternative Replacement Methods

Jarrod Bailey

The use of chimpanzees in hepatitis C virus (HCV) research was examined in the report associated with this paper (1: Validity of the Chimpanzee Model), in which it was concluded that claims of past necessity of chimpanzee use were exaggerated, and that claims of current and future indispensability were unjustifiable. Furthermore, given the serious scientific and ethical issues surrounding chimpanzee experimentation,
it was proposed that it must now be considered redundant — particularly in light of the demonstrable contribution to past and current scientific progress of alternative methods, and the future promise that these methods hold. This paper builds on this evidence, by examining the development of alternative approaches to the investigation of HCV, and by reviewing examples of how these methods have contributed, and are continuing to contribute substantially, to progress in this field. It augments the argument against chimpanzee use by demonstrating the comprehensive nature of these methods and the valuable data they deliver. The entire life-cycle of HCV can now be investigated in a human (and much more relevant) context, without recourse to chimpanzee use. This also includes the testing of new therapies and vaccines. Consequently, there is no sound argument against the changes in public policy that propose a move away from chimpanzee use in US laboratories.
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Lessons from Chimpanzee-based Research on Human Disease: The Implications of Genetic Differences

Jarrod Bailey

Assertions that the use of chimpanzees to investigate human diseases is valid scientifically are frequently based on a reported 98–99% genetic similarity between the species. Critical analyses of the relevance of chimpanzee studies to human biology, however, indicate that this genetic similarity does not result in sufficient physiological similarity for the chimpanzee to constitute a good model for research, and furthermore, that chimpanzee data do not translate well to progress in clinical practice for humans. Leading examples include the minimal citations of chimpanzee research that is relevant to human medicine, the highly different pathology of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C virus infection in the two species, the lack of correlation in the efficacy of vaccines and treatments between chimpanzees and humans, and the fact that chimpanzees are not useful for research on human cancer. The major molecular differences underlying these inter-species phenotypic disparities have been revealed by comparative genomics and molecular biology — there are key differences in all aspects of gene expression and protein function, from chromosome and chromatin structure to post-translational modification. The collective effects of these differences are striking, extensive and widespread, and they show that the superficial similarity between human and chimpanzee genetic sequences is of little consequence for biomedical research. The extrapolation of biomedical data from the chimpanzee to the human is therefore highly unreliable, and the use of the chimpanzee must be considered of little value, particularly given the breadth and potential of alternative methods of enquiry that are currently available to science.
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A Review of Autopsy Reports on Chimpanzees In or From US Laboratories

Theodora Capaldo and Marge Peppercorn

Approximately 1000 chimpanzees are currently held in five federally owned, or supported, US laboratories. This study reviews 110 autopsy reports on chimpanzees who died from 2001–2011 in laboratories or in sanctuaries (but who were from laboratories), in order to glean information about their premorbid health and causes of death. The findings raise questions about the health status of the chimpanzees remaining in laboratories. Most of the chimpanzees currently held are not involved in active protocols. The Chimpanzee Health Improvement, Maintenance, and Protection (CHIMP) Act 2000 states that chimpanzees “not needed” for research “shall” be accepted into the federal sanctuary system, but criteria for when a chimpanzee is deemed “not needed” are not given. The assessment of “not needed” lies with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, who has left the decision to the discretion of the laboratories. This autopsy review revealed that the majority of the chimpanzees who died in laboratories had been suffering from significant chronic or incurable illnesses, and most often had multi-system diseases that should have made them ineligible for future research, on scientific, as well as ethical, grounds. The study’s findings are significant in establishing the need for defined criteria for chimpanzee retirement to sanctuary.
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