Why do we use macaques in research?

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Macaques are non-human primates. The MRC funds research in universities using macaques because many of their body systems — such as their immune and nervous systems — are similar to humans, making them good research 'models' in areas such as vaccines and neurodegenerative disease.

This film focuses on how a neuroscientist uses macaques to study how brain signals control movement, with the aim of helping paralysed people control external devices such as robotic arms or wheelchairs with their thoughts. The UK has some of the most stringent regulations in the world on the use of animals in research, particularly where non-human primates are used.

Researchers wishing to use these animals must show that the research is possible in no other way, comply with stringent regulations and be granted a specific licence by the Home Office. The Medical Research Council's Centre for Macaques breeds rhesus macaques for use in medical research in academic institutions in the UK.

You may be interested in another MRC film http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eoa7aq... which gives more information about the centre.