April 10, 2007 • Posted in Science Papers
Bailey, J. (2007). Project R&R.
Their Negative Impact on Research into Human Conditions, and Scientific Methods for Better and More Humane Research
In addition to the important ethical concerns surrounding the use of chimpanzees in biomedical research, there is a scientific concern that is just as critical: does medical research and testing involving chimpanzees contribute to human health and medical progress? This question is paramount: if it doesn’t, then we shouldn’t be doing it, whether it is morally acceptable or not.
Two of the main ways captive chimpanzees have been used are (i) in research, to model human diseases as ‘surrogate humans’ to help us learn about out the basis of those diseases; and (ii) in tests for new drugs and chemicals to assess their efficacy (drugs) and potential toxicity (chemicals) before humans encounter them. But is the biological similarity between humans and chimpanzees enough for chimpanzees to be used in these ways? Or do the small differences matter?