The Specific Pathogen Free Baboon Research Resource (SPFBRR) is the only national research resource of SPF baboons available to NIH grantees; intramural research programs of federal agencies, including the FDA, NSF and NIH; and other sponsors of biomedical research (private foundations, pharmaceutical companies, and contract research organizations). Absolutely unique in the entire world, the baboons in the SPFBRR have an extensive bioexclusion list of 19 pathogens normally found in other wild and captive nonhuman primate colonies. The SPFBRR was originally developed as an R24, and later as a P40, grant in a collaboration between the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC) and Oklahoma State University (OSU). However, a recent decision to end all nonhuman primate research at OUHSC has necessitated efforts to relocate the SPFBRR. An exhaustive effort by the leadership of OUHSC has resulted in the identification of a new home for this valuable and unique national research resource. The Michale E. Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research (Keeling Center) of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Bastrop, Texas has the facilities, expertise, experience, and infrastructure to meet the current and future needs of the SPFBRR. With this grant application, we propose to relocate the SPFBRR to the Keeling Center, accelerate growth of the SPF colony through re-derivation of infant baboons from a conventional (non-SPF) breeding colony, and maintain and expand partnerships with research programs using these invaluable SPF baboon resources. During the period of support requested in this application, the SPFBRR will be expanded to create a self-sustaining SPF breeding colony of behaviorally healthy and genetically robust breeding animals. This will eliminate the need for infants from conventional (non-SPF) dams, and it will significantly decrease the risk of introducing adventitious infectious agents into the SPFBRR. The overall goals of this P40 application are to relocate the SPFBRR to the Keeling Center so that this indispensable national research resource can be preserved; provide education and training to scientists, veterinarians, colony managers, and animal caregivers who work with baboons; conduct applied research to improve the resource; and, support investigators who need facilities and expertise for research projects involving SPF baboons. We will also perform mRNA sequencing of the major histocompatability complex (MHC) class I alleles for all of the foundation breeding baboons in the SPFBRR; and, we will perform whole genome sequencing (WGS) on 26 animals in the resource for genomic and pedigree analysis. This information will further refine and add value to the resources provided by the SPFBRR. Facilities originally designed for chimpanzees will be repurposed to meet the needs of the SPFBRR and other research facilities at the Keeling Center will provide space to conduct research with SPF baboons.
The Specific Pathogen Free Baboon Research Resource (SPFBRR) maintains the only national research resource of laboratory-born SPF baboons. Scientists studying human diseases can utilize SPF baboons to study xenotransplantation, septic shock, infectious childhood diseases such as whooping cough and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), and many other diseases that threaten human health. The goals of the SPFBRR include provision of highly defined baboons and biomaterials to scientists, continued improvement of this animal resource, support to researchers requiring facilities and expertise to perform their studies, and training of the next generation of scientists, laboratory animal veterinarians, colony managers, and animal caregivers.