The Institute of Medicine has released a report saying that invasive medical experiments on chimpanzees should stop, reports Wired Science's Brandon Keim. IOM's report says that the experiments inflict both physical and mental harm on the chimps, and can only be justified when there are no possible alternatives for experimentation. A 12-member IOM committee concluded that while the chimp has been a valuable animal model in the past, the emergence of new models and technologies has rendered use of the chimp unnecessary in most cases, Keim says. And while only suggestions IOM's recommendations often influence policy.
Shortly after the report's release, NIH Director Francis Collins announced that he has decided to accept the recommendations, Keim says. "The report recommended the NIH establish an independent oversight committee to evaluate each study, limiting biomedical experiments only to what is absolutely necessary and ensuring that all research is ethically conducted. No new research funding will be granted until the recommendations are in place," he adds.