Update: The following update relating to this announcement has been issued:
Release Date: December 21, 2011
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is informing the research community that it accepts the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in its report Chimpanzees in Biomedical and Behavioral Research: Assessing the Necessity. As a result, NIH announces that it will not fund any new projects for research involving chimpanzees while the Agency considers and issues policy implementing the IOM’s recommendations.
The use of animals in research has enabled scientists to identify new ways to treat illness, extend life, and improve health and well-being. Chimpanzees are our closest relatives in the animal kingdom, providing exceptional insights into human biology and the need for special consideration and respect. While used very selectively and in limited numbers for medical research, chimpanzees have served an important role in advancing human health in the past. However, new methods and technologies developed by the biomedical community have provided alternatives to the use of chimpanzees in several areas of research.
In December 2010, the National Institutes of Health commissioned a study by the Institute of Medicine to assess whether chimpanzees are or will be necessary for biomedical and behavioral research. The IOM now has issued its findings, with a primary recommendation that the use of chimpanzees in research be guided by a set of principles and criteria. The committee proposed three principles to analyze current and potential future research using chimpanzees.
Based on its deliberations, the IOM committee concluded that “while the chimpanzee has been a valuable animal model in past research, most current use of chimpanzees for biomedical research is unnecessary.” The committee also concluded, however, that the following areas may continue to require the use of chimpanzees: some ongoing research on monoclonal antibody therapies, research on comparative genomics, and non-invasive studies of social and behavioral factors that affect the development, prevention, or treatment of disease. The committee was unable to reach consensus on the necessity of the chimpanzee for the development of prophylactic hepatitis C virus vaccine. While the committee encouraged NIH to continue development of non-chimpanzee models and technologies, it acknowledged that new, emerging, or re-emerging diseases may present challenges that may require the use of chimpanzees.
NIH accepts the IOM recommendations contained in the report: Chimpanzees in Biomedical and Behavioral Research: Assessing the Necessity.
Effective immediately, NIH will not fund any new or other competing projects (renewal and revisions) for research involving chimpanzees and will not allow any new projects to go forward with NIH-owned or -supported chimpanzees. This policy will be in place until NIH issues further policy implementing the IOM’s recommendations. NIH will be assembling a working group of the NIH Council of Councils to provide advice on implementation of the IOM recommendations, and to consider the size and placement of the active and inactive populations of NIH-owned or -supported chimpanzees.
NIH is committed to conducting and supporting high-quality science in the interest of advancing public health, and to the humane care and use of animals used in NIH-supported research. Pending the implementation of the IOM recommendations and issuance of further policy:
For questions regarding a specific application please contact the NIH program officer associated with the application or proposal.
General inquires about this change may be directed to:
E-mail : GrantsInfo@od.nih.gov