"Studies using non-human primates are undertaken alongside other animal models and observational and intervational research using humans and in vitro approaches."
The Wetherall Report on the use of non-human primates in research was published in December 2006. The study was initiated by the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Royal Society, the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust.
The European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) put together a document in response to the publication of the report, which they released in January 2008.
"Studies using non-human primates are undertaken alongside other animal models and observational and intervational research using humans and in vitro approaches. However, in many cases, important findings could not have been obtained through other means.
For example, initial research into Alzheimer's disease involved investigation and discovery of genetic factors associated with Alzheimers in humans and focused on in vitro studies progressing toward use of transgenic mice. However, when advances were made toward development of therapies and treatments, it became clear that these methods did not provide sufficient information, and that results may actually have been misleading.
Researchers therefore need to conduct studies using non-human primates, which naturally show the same pathological hallmarks as humans, for assessment of the functional, cognitice and behavioural outcomes of potential treatments. Non-human primates are the only group of animals with brain circuits and networks that are similar to those of humans."
The document can be found here: