Tag: alternatives

Nikhil Kulkarni, MD

In 1966, Henry Beecher called attention to common ethical problems associated with human research at the time. His publication, “Ethics and Clinical Research,” in the New England Journal of Medicine, helped lead to major advancements in the area of human clinical research ethics and medicine. Like Beecher was, I am an anesthesiologist. I care deeply about my patients and their potential involvement in research. I’m grateful that we have acceptable moral standards to guide the conduct of human research today. I am also concerned about the suffering of animals. Nonhuman primates are autonomous and intelligent individuals. NIH needs to better examine the ethics of using these sentient beings in research, and problems with their use, as Beecher did for human research fifty years ago. An increasing number of physicians and scientists are calling attention to problems with translating nonhuman primate research to human clinical scenarios. This has major implications for patient care. Viable, more ethical, predictive alternatives exist. NIH should focus on supporting the implementation of these alternatives, and developing other more valid and reliable human-centered research models. For humane, scientific, and medical reasons, NIH needs to move away from using nonhuman primates as non-consenting vulnerable research subject.
Nik Kulkarni, MD
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Cindy Tait, EMT-P, RN, PHN, MPH

NIH’s workshop to consider current policies and practices related to oversight of research involving nonhuman primates is a step in the right direction. The published plan in which NIH pledged to “catalyze powerful innovations, including molecule cross-coupling methods … and human 3D organoid technologies that will be better than animal models” must become a reality in the very near future.

It is the recommendation of the staff, faculty, and medical board of directors of Center for Healthcare Education, Inc. that:

  1. All primate experimentation be eliminated and replaced with computer/stem cell or other models for non-living animal research 
  2. Researchers be vetted for their motivation for participation – the suffering imposed on any living creature should not be without impunity. This should also include vetting of veterinarians, many who are only looking to build their resumes and/or find gainful employment making the animal’s comfort and physiological needs secondary to their own.
  3. The FDA’s requirements for animal experiments be eliminated or significantly be culled back.

Any animals used in experimentation be given the same protection as humans, i.e., IRB evaluations and full disclosure to the public with 24/7 live cameras on each animal both in its cage during awake, sleep, feeding, and other physiological care. Additionally, video observation of the actual experimentation including the use of chemical and physical restraints, impairing the animal with alcohol/drugs via forced nasogastric tubes, injections, sample taking, and the euthanasia as well as during the necropsy of the animal. The clandestine “behind closed doors” must stop.

Cindy Tait, EMT-P, RN, PHN, MPH
Director, Center for Healthcare Education, Inc.