Reducing the Use of Chimpanzees as Research Subjects: Background information when reading Threatened

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by Eliot Schrefer

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  • First Published:
    Feb 2014, 288 pages
    Aug 2015, 288 pages

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Tamara Smith

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Reducing the Use of Chimpanzees as Research Subjects

Since the amount of shared genes between humans and non-human primates such as chimps is significant, the animals were once considered valuable test subjects in cutting-edge clinical studies. Essentially, because of this gene overlap, a trial medicine can be tested on a chimp and its subsequent effects used as a reliable signifier of that drug's effect on humans.

Since 2011, the United States and Gabon have been the only two countries in the world that use chimpanzees in medical research. There was a time when other countries did so as well. High-tech drugs, known as monoclonal antibodies, used to treat diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's and different kinds of cancers, were among the ones tested on chimps. The research involved infecting the primates with pathogens and then treating with these medicines. The animals also had blood drawn, tissue samples extracted and organ biopsies conducted. Chimpanzees were also considered critical in creating ...

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