The genetic, physiological, biochemical, and immunological similarities of chimpanzees to humans make them unique models for biomedical research directed at many aspects of human health including, among others, developing preventions and treatments for infectious diseases (e.g., HBV, HCV, HIV), testing the effects of drugs specifically designed for use in humans, and testing the safety and efficacy of humanized monoclonal antibodies. The overall objective of this project is to maintain an NCRR-owned research resource consisting of 209 chimpanzees and to manage it to serve the national biomedical research needs. We will pursue the following specific aims: 1) To maintain a stable, healthy, well defined population of chimpanzees and to make them available for research;2) To maintain a cohort of well characterized chimpanzees persistently infected with HBV, HCV or HIV for research on hepatitis and AIDS and for testing the efficacy of new therapeutic approaches;3) To develop a unique resource of fully sequenced transcriptomes from liver samples of all 209 chimpanzees, including mRNAs and microRNAs, and from PBMC samples of a subset of 36 chimpanzees that are chronically infected with HCV or that have cleared the infection;4) To develop longitudinal quantitative measures of physiological characteristics that are of importance to biomedical research and to analyze them in relation to sequence data from Aim 3 and in relation to health status;5) To develop a data base that contains information about the chimpanzees and the data obtained under Aims 3 and 4, and to make it available to the national biomedical research community for research purposes and for selection of experimental subjects;6) To establish a program for educating the public as to the importance of chimpanzees in biomedical research. Via fulfilling these aims, we will establish a chimpanzee resource that is unique among all chimpanzee research resources in enabling investigators for the first time to exploit genome sequence data from individual chimpanzees in experimental design and in genomic analyses. In addition, the educational program will contribute to the public's understanding of the care and use of chimpanzees in biomedical research, and the need for resources such as the one proposed in this application.
Chimpanzees are man's closest relative and play a unique role in research aimed at understanding human physiology and cognition. The proposed project will complete the establishment of a research resource involving 209 chimpanzees owned by NIH. These chimpanzees, and data derived from them, will be made available to the biomedical research community, and a public education program about the importance of chimpanzees in biomedical research will be established.