Abstract # 2700 Event # 233:

Scheduled for Monday, September 21, 2009 02:45 PM-02:55 PM: Session 25 (Del Mar Room) Oral Presentation


J. VandeBerg
Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, Southwest National Primate Research Center, 7620 N.W. Loop 410, San Antonio, TX 78227, USA

The chimpanzee (Pan troglodyte) is the closest living relative to humans (Homo sapiens) and is susceptible to all human infectious diseases. There is a growing number of new therapies and vaccines in development that will require the use of chimpanzees to adequately assess their safety and efficacy before conducting clinical trials in humans. Many of these experimental therapies target receptors that modify immune responses. In some cases, the only nonhuman to have these receptors is the chimpanzee. The use of “humanized” mice, computer simulations, and other in vitro approaches does not provide the level of information that can be gained from the chimpanzee. For example, chimpanzees are the only nonhuman susceptible to hepatitis C, one of the most devastating infectious human diseases worldwide and a major risk factor in liver cancer. Just as chimpanzees were essential to the development of the hepatitis B vaccine, they are currently used to develop vaccines for hepatitis C. Another major contribution of chimpanzees is in the testing of humanized monoclonal antibody therapies against autoimmune diseases and cancer. Some of the receptors targeted by these antibodies are present only in chimpanzees and humans. Moreover, in other primates, humanized monoclonal antibodies elicit and immune response and are rapidly cleared from the bloodstream, so the safety and efficacy of repeated doses cannot be tested. Research with chimpanzees is essential for developing new therapeutics for human diseases.