The Use of Non-Human Primates in Regulatory Toxicology: Comments Submitted by FRAME to the Home Office
Michelle Hudson, Nirmala Bhogal and Michael Balls
The Home Office have circulated a document that summarises the discussions of a Primate Stakeholders Forum. The Forum took place in January 2004, and was convened to address the issues raised and the recommendations made in the Animal Procedures Committee 2002 report on the use of primates under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. The report emphasises the need for more resources focused on alternatives to toxicological testing in primates, including harmonising worldwide regulatory requirements, investigating the relevance of primate models, and improving the retrospective analysis of procedures involving primates. The document called for reasoned comments about the report to be submitted to the Home Office. In response, FRAME submitted a comprehensive paper, which evaluated each of the Animal Procedures Committee’s recommendations, along with the Home Office Forum’s comments. FRAME believes that, in coming to a decision as to whether primates should be used for regulatory testing, there must be full consideration of all the information available, including whether the ethological needs of any given species can be met prior to, during and following experimental use. Where these needs cannot be met, there must be a concerted effort to develop alternative models for research and testing. However, this should not detract from the ultimate goal of phasing out primate research altogether.
The aim of research in the FRAME Alternatives Laboratory at the University of Nottingham Medical School is summarised, i.e. to use human cell culture-based projects and in vivo studies in human volunteers as alternatives to the use of rodent models in the study of human disease. This is especially important when the available animal models do not adequately represent the pathophysiological situation in humans. The approach is exemplified by summaries of studies on the effects of starvation on skeletal muscle in human volunteers, and on lipid metabolism in obese female volunteers.