Almost every major medical advance during the last century
has been made possible through research in animals. Because
of their close anatomical, physiological and behavioral similarity
to humans, nonhuman primates provide an indispensable bridge
between basic laboratory studies and human clinical use. Society
is currently facing enormous medical challenges that include
AIDS, cancer, drug addiction, neuropsychiatric illnesses,
neurodegenerative disorders, and cardiovascular diseases for
which nonhuman primates provide the best models and the best
hope for improved treatment. Here are some examples of important
medical accomplishments made possible by research with nonhuman
primates at NEPRC.
- First unambiguous evidence that AIDS is caused by a virus.
- Discovery of Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) and
development of first animal model of AIDS.
- Original demonstration that vaccine protection against
AIDS is theoretically possible.
- Discovery that a gene product of the AIDS virus activates
lymphocytes necessary for disease progression.
- Identification of therapeutic genes that can prevent infection
of cells by the AIDS virus.
- First demonstration that protective genes introduced into
blood stem cells can block HIV or SIV infection.
- Discovery of primitive blood stem cells lacking CD34
and their implications for bone marrow transplantation
- Isolation of type-D retroviruses as major causes of illness
and death in macaques.
- Discovery of the oncogenic herpesvirus, Herpesvirus saimiri.
- Discovery of a nonhuman primate virus closely related
to the human Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus.
- First nonhuman primate models of colon cancer and inflammatory
- Evidence leading to the use of hydroxyurea to treat sickle
- Discovery of stunned myocardium and its role in myocardial
- Discovery of cellular organization and critical period
for development of the visual cortex.
- First unambiguous evidence for the addictive properties
- Identification of major risk factors in self-injurious
- First animal model for progressive neurodegeneration
in Parkinson's disease.
- Development of improved brain imaging techniques for
early diagnosis of Parkinson's disease.
- Development of novel cellular and pharmacological strategies
for treatment of Parkinson's disease.
- First survey of distribution of cocaine binding sites
in primate brain.
- Identification of the dopamine transporter as a principal
target for cocaine in the brain.
- First nonhuman primate model of drug relapse.
- Development of novel drug classes to treat cocaine addiction
and other brain dopamine disorders.