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Nine Science Advocacy Groups Release White Paper on the Critical Role of Nonhuman Primates (NHPs) in Scientific and Medical Research

August 24, 2016

The paper highlights the essential role NHPs play in finding treatments for serious and life-altering conditions such as Alzheimer┬┐s disease, cancer, Zika virus, HIV/AIDS and Parkinson┬┐s disease

Media Contacts

Lisa Newbern or Matt Bailey, 404-727-7709 or 202-457-0654, lisa.newbern@emory.edu or info@fbresearch.org

9/7/16 Update: FBR Releases Infographic to supplement White Paper.

WASHINGTON — The Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) announced today the release of the white paper, The Critical Role of Nonhuman Primates in Medical Research. The white paper is a collaboration between FBR and eight premier scientific groups: the American Academy of Neurology, the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the American Physiological Society, the American Society for Microbiology, the American Transplant Foundation, the Endocrine Society, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology and the Society for Neuroscience. The white paper highlights the essential role NHPs historically have and continue to play in finding treatments for serious and life-altering conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, Zika virus, HIV/AIDS and Parkinson’s disease.

“95 percent of the lab animals in scientific and medical research are rats and mice. Just half of 1 percent of research is conducted with nonhuman primates. That’s a tiny number. But their impact on our health is enormous,” said FBR president Frankie Trull. “NHPs, mostly monkeys, are the link between smaller animals and people. Once a disease or drug is understood in smaller species - like rats, mice, birds, zebrafish and worms - it is often then studied in monkeys.”

“Monkeys have certain traits and characteristics that make them essential and irreplaceable in medical research. They’re the bridge to the clinic,” said Dr. Jeffrey Kordower, a neuroscientist who examines how diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s affect the brain.

Nonhuman primates (NHPs) are so similar to people genetically (up to 98 percent) that they show, unlike any other animal, how diseases work in the human body.Monkeys are more predictive than smaller species as to how a disease acts or how a treatment will work in people. Primate research has led to medical devices, treatments, advancements and cures that have saved and improved millions of lives. Research with NHPs has contributed to the following discoveries: polio vaccine, insulin for diabetes, coronary bypass surgery, hip replacements, kidney dialysis and transplants, organ transplants, organ rejection medications, medications for psychiatric illnesses, blood transfusions, chemotherapy, hepatitis B vaccine, HIV/AIDS medications, child lung transplants for cystic fibrosis, anthrax treatments, Parkinson’s disease treatments, and prostrate cancer treatments. To learn more about how research with NHPs is contributing to lifesaving cures for people, please download the white paper, The Critical Role of Nonhuman Primates in Medical Researchor visit fbresearch.org.

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Established in 1981, the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) is America’s most experienced, trusted and effective non-profit dedicated to improving human and animal health by promoting public understanding and support for biomedical research. For more information, visit fbresearch.org.


The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service. Its components include the Emory University School of Medicine, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, and Rollins School of Public Health; Yerkes National Primate Research Center; Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University; and Emory Healthcare, the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia. Emory Healthcare includes: The Emory Clinic, Emory-Children's Center, Emory University Hospital, Emory University Hospital Midtown, Wesley Woods Center, and Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital. The Woodruff Health Sciences Center has a $2.5 billion budget, 17,600 employees, 2,500 full-time and 1,500 affiliated faculty, 4,700 students and trainees, and a $5.7 billion economic impact on metro Atlanta.

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