Chimpanzee Biomedical Research Resource

The CBRR is maintained at the Michale E. Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Bastrop, Texas. The Keeling Center maintains a colony of 175 chimpanzees. Within this colony, the CBRR maintains a large number of research-naïve chimpanzees, which are of special importance as most chimpanzees available for research have been used in multiple studies.

With recent scientific advances such as the publication of the initial sequence of the chimpanzee genome, it has been determined with certainty that chimpanzees share more than 98% of our DNA and almost all of our genes. The CBRR is one of only four NCRR-supported centers with the capability to conduct biomedical research in this species. Over the past 30 years, the CBRR has developed the highly specialized housing facilities, laboratories, management techniques and staff essential for conducting research with chimpanzees.

Historically, the CBRR's efforts were focused on colony care and maintenance. Although this remains a primary objective, plans are under way to expand activities to include the development of a website with information to help scientists determine whether the chimpanzee is a relevant model for their studies. We will also make available chimpanzee-derived cell lines, antibodies and other biological materials, and we will create a registry of biologic reagents that are known to work in the chimpanzee. Resource-related research will focus on characterization of the immune system of the chimpanzee, expansion of our understanding of chimpanzee cardiomyopathy as a potential human disease model and comparisons of the physiologic and immunological consequences of research manipulations on chimpanzees trained to voluntarily cooperate with research procedures. By expanding the resources available, conducting resource-related research and containing costs, the CBRR will continue to provide a critically important, highly specialized research resource to address important human health issues.

The overall objectives of this resource are to improve the resources available at the CBRR and to conduct resource-relevant research that improves both the health of the chimpanzee colony and its usefulness for studies of human disease. The Resource and Management Core is responsible for providing animal resources, tissues/biological fluids, cell lines, expert advice and research support to NIH extramural and intramural programs, other federal agencies and private sponsors. The Resource-Related Research Core conducts research to improve the health of the animals maintained, with special emphasis on studies that will enhance the usefulness of the chimpanzee as a model for studies of human disease.