Washington Update

New National Academies Committee to Examine Need for Nonhuman Primates in Biomedical Research

By: Naomi Charalambakis
Thursday, October 28, 2021

Earlier this month, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Institute for Laboratory Animal Research (ILAR) announced the establishment of a new consensus study, “Nonhuman Primate Model Systems: State of the Science and Future Needs.” As directed by Congress in fiscal year 2021 appropriations, the ad hoc committee will examine the current and future need for nonhuman primates (NHPs) in biomedical research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

As part of the new committee’s announcement, ILAR issued a call for nominations of 12-14 experts with NHP and new approach methodology (NAM) experience to serve on the committee. The latter refers to nonanimal techniques employed in addition to animal models in scientific studies ranging from cell culture and organs on a chip to computer simulations. As part of its evaluation of the current role of NHPs, committee members are tasked with conducting a landscape analysis of scientific contributions to human health advancements and an analysis to supplement the 2018 NIH Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP) report, “Nonhuman Primate Evaluations and Analysis.” Part 1 of the report concluded that an increased demand for rhesus macaques and marmosets—two types of NHPs—is expected in the next five years.

To inform its assessment of the future need for NHPs in NIH-funded research, the committee is called to explore potential opportunities and challenges in biomedical research with this species. Areas of specific focus include emerging science that may require NHP models, opportunities to utilize NAMs to complement or reduce reliance of research with NHPs, and strategies to increase collaboration between animal researchers and those using NAMs.

Additional information about the NASEM ILAR committee, including its charge and contact information, is available on the study website. The deadline for submitting nominations is Friday, October 29.