Challenges Importance of Animals in Research
would be unscientific to claim that chimpanzees are vital to cancer research
and reasonable to conclude that cancer research would not suffer if the
use of chimpanzees were prohibited in the U.S."
Oct. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ - A recently released paper published in
the journal Alternatives to Laboratory Animals (ATLA 37, 399-416), presents
a serious challenge to long-standing claims that animals are an important
part of human cancer research. "An Examination of Chimpanzee Use in
Human Cancer Research" found that chimpanzees, our closest genetic
relatives, have contributed little to combating cancers and cost society
not only time but wasted research
dollars. The paper comes on the heels of a national ad campaign (ResearchSaves,
Sept.16, 2009) launched by the Foundation for Biomedical Research advocating
animal use. Geneticist Jarrod Bailey, Ph.D., Science Director for Project
R&R: Release and Restitution for Chimpanzees in U.S. Laboratories conducted
a comprehensive analysis of the use of chimpanzees in cancer research over
the past four decades as well as proposed future uses.
to Bailey, "There are significant biological differences between humans
and chimpanzees. Despite an overall - although superficial - genetic similarity
to humans, and despite claims by the research industry, chimpanzees have
proven to be a poor model for human cancer research." The study found
that chimpanzee tumors are extremely rare and biologically different from
human cancers. Literature describing potential new cancer therapies tested
in chimpanzees included significant caveats concerning species differences,
and described interventions that had not been pursued in humans, presumably
due to adverse reactions. Further, available evidence indicates that chimpanzees
are not essential in the development of monoclonal antibody therapies for
cancer treatment. The U.S. is the only remaining large-scale user of chimpanzees
in biomedical research in the world. Arguments regarding the inefficacy
of chimpanzee use in biomedical research for humans have been mounting.
H.R. 1326, the Great Ape Protection Act, was recently introduced to the
House of Representatives. The bill seeks to end invasive biomedical research
and testing on an estimated 1,000 chimpanzees remaining in U.S. laboratories.
The study concludes: "It would be unscientific to claim that
chimpanzees are vital to cancer research and reasonable to conclude that
cancer research would not suffer if the use of chimpanzees were prohibited
in the U.S." The cancer paper follows other studies investigating chimpanzee
use to study human health and disease, including HIV/AIDS vaccine development.
That study found chimpanzee use has not benefited but rather has hindered
our search for an effective human vaccine against HIV/AIDS.
Karen Smith of NEAVS, +1-617-523-6020, Alternate: