Lab Research on Monkeys 'Yields Few Real Benefits'
Byline: Fiona MacRae Science Correspondent
RESEARCH on monkeys should carry on despite few recent projects producing any real medical benefits, a panel of experts has ruled.
A review of a decade of experiments carried out on 3,000 monkeys and other 'non-human primates' found work was mainly of good quality and some was judged 'outstanding'.
But much of the science produced little benefit to medicine.
And in around one in ten cases the experiments produced no benefit to science, medicine or society.
In addition, half of the studies into Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other brain conditions involved considerable animal suffering.
Animal rights groups said the report provided a 'chilling insight into animal research'.
But the charities that fund animal research pointed out many advances in modern medicine have their roots in primate research, including lifesupport machines for babies, surgery for the leading cause of blindness in the elderly, kidney dialysis, asthma drugs and polio vaccines.
Research on great apes, such as chimps and gorillas, is banned in the UK and most of the experiments were carried out on macaques, marmosets and other monkeys.
Their intelligence and close biological links to humans make them popular for studying brain, fertility and immune diseases.
The group, chaired by Professor Sir Patrick Bateson, who is president of the Zoological Society of London and a Cambridge University expert on animal behaviour, scrutinised almost all the research projects carried out by the 70 or so academics between 1996 and 2006. …