Support the IEET




The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States. Please give as you are able, and help support our work for a brighter future.



Search the IEET
Subscribe and Contribute to:


Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Quick overview of biopolitical points of view




whats new at ieet

For a Longer, Brighter and More Just Future

The small and surprisingly dangerous detail the police track about you

Alan Watts by South Park creators (All in one in HD)

Prototype

The Singularity - feat. Ray Kurzweil & Alex Jones

Self Absorption


ieet books

Virtually Human: The Promise—-and the Peril—-of Digital Immortality
Author
Martine Rothblatt


comments

ericscoles on 'The small and surprisingly dangerous detail the police track about you' (Dec 20, 2014)

instamatic on 'Wage Slavery and Sweatshops as Free Enterprise?' (Dec 19, 2014)

instamatic on 'Four questions for Social Futurists, and others' (Dec 18, 2014)

CygnusX1 on 'Four questions for Social Futurists, and others' (Dec 18, 2014)

instamatic on 'Four questions for Social Futurists, and others' (Dec 18, 2014)

CygnusX1 on 'Four questions for Social Futurists, and others' (Dec 17, 2014)

instamatic on 'Four questions for Social Futurists, and others' (Dec 17, 2014)







Subscribe to IEET News Lists

Daily News Feed

Longevity Dividend List

Catastrophic Risks List

Biopolitics of Popular Culture List

Technoprogressive List

Trans-Spirit List



JET

Enframing the Flesh: Heidegger, Transhumanism, and the Body as “Standing Reserve”

Moral Enhancement and Political Realism

Intelligent Technologies and Lost Life

Hottest Articles of the Last Month


Review of Michio Kaku’s, Visions: How Science Will Revolutionize the 21st Century
Dec 15, 2014
(9570) Hits
(0) Comments

What Will Life Be Like Inside A Computer?
Dec 7, 2014
(8353) Hits
(0) Comments

Bitcoin and Science: DNA is the Original Decentralized System
Nov 24, 2014
(7919) Hits
(0) Comments

Brain, Mind, and the Structure of Reality
Nov 21, 2014
(5448) Hits
(0) Comments



IEET > Rights > Personhood > Vision > Bioculture > Directors > George Dvorsky

Print Email permalink (0) Comments (4431) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


Report: Chimps ‘largely unessential as research subjects’


George Dvorsky
By George Dvorsky
Sentient Developments

Posted: Dec 31, 2011

A recently released report by the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council in the United States suggests that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) should dramatically curtail the use of chimpanzees as research subjects. According to the committee who put together the report, chimps should be used as subjects in biomedical research only under stringent conditions, including the absence of any other suitable model and inability to ethically perform the research on people.

While not perfect, this is a significant step forward in the struggle to protect the great apes from biomedical experimentation. As it stands, only two countries still use chimpanzees for research purposes, the United States and Gabon. The US maintains the largest colony in the world of more than 1,000 chimpanzees at six laboratories.

Most of the labs either conduct or make the chimps available for “invasive research”, which researchers define as “inoculation with an infectious agent, surgery or biopsy conducted for the sake of research and not for the sake of the chimpanzee, and/or drug testing.” Two federally funded US laboratories currently use chimps: Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and the Southwest National Primate Center in San Antonio, Texas. Five hundred chimps have been retired from laboratory use in the U.S. and live in sanctuaries in the U.S. or Canada.

In their report, the IMO goes on to state that use of chimps should be permissible only if forgoing their use will prevent or significantly hinder advances necessary to prevent or treat life-threatening or debilitating conditions.

They’re also recommending that the NIH limit the use of chimpanzees in behavioral research to studies that provide otherwise unattainable insights into normal and abnormal behavior, mental health, emotion, or cognition. The NIH should require such studies to be performed only on acquiescent animals using techniques that are minimally invasive and are applied in a manner that minimizes pain and distress. The report states that animals used in either biomedical or behavioral studies must be maintained in appropriate physical and social environments or in natural habitats.

“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,” said committee chair Jeffrey Kahn, senior faculty member, Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, Baltimore.

Essentially, the committee is suggesting that chimpanzees are not necessary for most biomedical research.

The committee acknowledged that advances in the development of other research tools and methods, including cell-based tests and other animal models, have rendered chimpanzees largely nonessential as research subjects. But it did acknowledge two possible ongoing uses: (1) the development of a limited number of monoclonal antibody therapies already in the pipeline, and (2) development of a vaccine that would prevent infection by hepatitis C virus (HCV).

According to the IMO:

New methods such as recombinant technologies can replace the chimpanzee in efforts to develop monoclonal antibodies.  While industry and academic laboratories are in the process of adopting these alternate approaches, there may be a few therapies in development that require continued use of chimpanzees to keep progress from stalling and slowing patients’ access to needed new treatments.  These cases should be assessed to ensure that they meet the criteria outlined in this report, and NIH should continue to support the development of and access to alternatives to make future use of chimpanzees unnecessary.

That said, the committee did not reach a consensus decision on whether chimpanzees are essential to the development of a prophylactic HCV vaccine and if or how much the use of chimpanzees would accelerate or improve this work.

The report admitted the possibility that chimpanzees may be needed in future research to develop treatments or preventive tools against as yet unknown diseases or disorders. It is difficult to say in advance whether other animal models or research tools will always serve effectively and quickly enough in the face of a novel health threat.

The committee focused on the scientific necessity of the chimpanzee as a research subject, but also take ethical issues into account. According to them, chimpanzees’ genetic closeness to humans and their similar biological and behavioral characteristics not only make chimpanzees a uniquely valuable species for certain types of research but also demand greater justification for conducting research with them. 


George P. Dvorsky serves as Chair of the IEET Board of Directors and also heads our Rights of Non-Human Persons program. He is a Canadian futurist, science writer, and bioethicist. He is a contributing editor at io9 — where he writes about science, culture, and futurism — and producer of the Sentient Developments blog and podcast. He served for two terms at Humanity+ (formerly the World Transhumanist Association). George produces Sentient Developments blog and podcast.
Print Email permalink (0) Comments (4432) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


COMMENTS


YOUR COMMENT (IEET's comment policy)

Login or Register to post a comment.

Next entry: Lab Chimps see daylight for first time in 30 years

Previous entry: #1: Increase Your Intelligence: Five ways to maximize your cognitive potential

HOME | ABOUT | FELLOWS | STAFF | EVENTS | SUPPORT  | CONTACT US
SECURING THE FUTURE | LONGER HEALTHIER LIFE | RIGHTS OF THE PERSON | ENVISIONING THE FUTURE
CYBORG BUDDHA PROJECT | AFRICAN FUTURES PROJECT | JOURNAL OF EVOLUTION AND TECHNOLOGY

RSSIEET Blog | email list | newsletter |
The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States.

Contact: Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
56 Daleville School Rd., Willington CT 06279 USA 
Email: director @ ieet.org     phone: 860-297-2376