The Critical Role of Nonhuman Primates in Medical Research - White Paper

Henry Friedman, Nancy Haigwood, Nancy Ator, William Newsome, James S. Allan, Thaddeus G. Golos, Jeffrey H. Kordower, Robert E. Shade, Michael E. Goldberg, Matthew R. Bailey, Paul Bianchi


Research with nonhuman primates (NHPs) – monkeys for the most part – has led to critical health advances that have saved or improved millions of human lives. While NHPs account for just one-half of one percent of animals in current medical research, it is no exaggeration to say they are essential to our ability to find cures for cancer, AIDS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, obesity/diabetes, and dozens of other diseases that cause human suffering and death.


Nonhuman primates; HIV; cancer; brain function; ethics; research

Full Text:



1. Greene M, Covinsky KE, Valcour V, Miao Y, Madamba J, Lampiris H, Cenzer IS, Martin J, Deeks SG. Geriatric Syndromes in Older HIV-Infected Adults. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2015;69(2):161-7. PubMed PMID: 26009828. Pubmed Central PMCID: 4445476. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000000556

2. Deeks SG, Lewin SR, Havlir DV. The end of AIDS: HIV infection as a chronic disease. Lancet. 2013;382(9903):1525-33. PubMed PMID: 24152939. Pubmed Central PMCID: 4058441. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)61809-7

3. Gross AM, Jaeger PA, Kreisberg JF, Licon K, Jepsen KL, Khosroheidari M, Morsey BM, Swindells S, Shen H, Ng CT, Flagg K, Chen D, Zhang K, Fox HS, Ideker T. Methylome-wide Analysis of Chronic HIV Infection Reveals Five-Year Increase in Biological Age and Epigenetic Targeting of HLA. Mol Cell. 2016;62(2):157-68. PubMed PMID: 27105112. Pubmed Central PMCID: 4995115. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2016.03.019

4. Rickabaugh TM, Baxter RM, Sehl M, Sinsheimer JS, Hultin PM, Hultin LE, Quach A, Martinez-Maza O, Horvath S, Vilain E, Jamieson BD. Acceleration of age-associated methylation patterns in HIV-1-infected adults. PLoS One. 2015;10(3):e0119201. PubMed PMID: 25807146. Pubmed Central PMCID: 4373843. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0119201

5. Hessell AJ, Jaworski JP, Epson E, Matsuda K, Pandey S, Kahl C, Reed J, Sutton WF, Hammond KB, Cheever TA, Barnette PT, Legasse AW, Planer S, Stanton JJ, Pegu A, Chen X, Wang K, Siess D, Burke D, Park BS, Axthelm MK, Lewis A, Hirsch VM, Graham BS, Mascola JR, Sacha JB, Haigwood NL. Early short-term treatment with neutralizing human monoclonal antibodies halts SHIV infection in infant macaques. Nat Med. 2016;22(4):362-8. PubMed PMID: 26998834. Pubmed Central PMCID: 4983100. doi: 10.1038/nm.4063

6. Gilead Sciences, Inc. Gilead announces data from new preclinical study evaluating an investigational TLR7 agonist in SIV-infected monkeys. [News Release] 2016. At

7. Lanford RE, Guerra B, Chavez D, Giavedoni L, Hodara VL, Brasky KM, Fosdick A, Frey CR, Zheng J, Wolfgang G, Halcomb RL, Tumas DB. GS-9620, an oral agonist of Toll-like receptor-7, induces prolonged suppression o hepatitis B virus in chronically infected chimpanzees. Gastroenterology. 2013;144(7):1508-17, 17 e1-10. PubMed PMID: 23415804. Pubmed Central PMCID: 3691056. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2013.02.003

8. Robertson J. Ethical issues related to the inclusion of pregnant women in clinical trials (I). In Institute of Medicine. Woman and Health Research. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. 1999.

9. American Transplant Association. Facts and myths. Available from:

10. National Institutes of Health. What is the BRAIN initiative? Available from:

11. Alzheimer’s Association. Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures. Available from:

12. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Respiratory syncytial virus infection (RSV). Trends and Surveillance. At

13. American Lung Association. Diagnosing and Treating RSV. At

14. Hall CB, Weinberg GA, Iwane MK, Blumkin AK, Edwards KM, Staat MA, Auinger P, Griffin MR, Poehling KA, Erdman D, Grijalva CG, Zhu Y, Szilagyi P. The burden of respiratory syncytial virus infection in young children. N Engl J Med. 2009;360(6):588-98. PubMed PMID: 19196675. Pubmed Central PMCID: 4829966. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa0804877

15. American Heart Association. Heart disease and stroke statistics—at-a-glance. At

16. Mayo Clinic. High blood pressure (hypertension). At

17. American Diabetes Association. Statistics about diabetes. At

18. Hansen BC, Tigno XT. The rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) manifests all features of human type 2 diabetes. In Animal Models of Diabetes, ed. E. Shafrir, 251-270. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

19. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Overweight and Obesity Statistics. At:

20. National Institutes of Health Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare. Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Revised, 2015. At

21. Committee for the Update of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals; Institute for Laboratory Animal Research. Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. 8th ed. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2011.

22. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Animal welfare act inspections. At

23. American Association for the Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care. The AAALAC international accreditation program. At

24. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Research Integrity. How to work with your Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). At

25. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Good Laboratory Practice for Nonclinical Laboratory Studies. At

Article Level Metrics


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 Matthew R. Bailey

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

© Pathogens and Immunity 2017

Case Western Reserve University; Division of Infectious Diseases

10900 Euclid Ave.; Mailstop 4984; Cleveland, OH 44106

(216) 368-6317; ISSN: 2469-2964;