Why primate models matter
Published Web Locationhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24723482
Research involving nonhuman primates (NHPs) has played a vital role in many of the medical and scientific advances of the past century. NHPs are used because of their similarity to humans in physiology, neuroanatomy, reproduction, development, cognition, and social complexity-yet it is these very similarities that make the use of NHPs in biomedical research a considered decision. As primate researchers, we feel an obligation and responsibility to present the facts concerning why primates are used in various areas of biomedical research. Recent decisions in the United States, including the phasing out of chimpanzees in research by the National Institutes of Health and the pending closure of the New England Primate Research Center, illustrate to us the critical importance of conveying why continued research with primates is needed. Here, we review key areas in biomedicine where primate models have been, and continue to be, essential for advancing fundamental knowledge in biomedical and biological research.