Chimpanzees as medical test subjects (source CNN.com)
The United States is one of two remaining countries--the other being Gabon--that legally allow chimps and other great apes to be used in invasive biomedical research, according to the Humane Society of the United States. However, other countries still contract the services of research centers that use chimps, according to Dr. Thomas Rowell Director of the New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana.
There are more than 930 chimpanzees at U.S. medical research facilities, most of them used for hepatitis testing, according to a report by the Institute of Medicine issued in December. The report stated that chimpanzees are not necessary for most biomedical research. The institute recognized two possible uses for chimps: one for cancerous tumors that are already part of ongoing investigations, and the other for a hepatitis C vaccine.
A panel of experts advising the National Institutes of Health on how to implement the the Institute of Medicine's report is expected to issue its recommendations by the end of the year.
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