A news release on the Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments (FRAME) website highlights a recent study showing that cynomolgous monkeys – long valued in drug-testing because of their genetic similarities to humans – in fact respond very differently to overdoses of the painkiller paracetamol (acetaminophen).

Though paracetamol is a relatively safe and widely used over-the-counter painkiller, overdoses of the drug are the leading cause of liver failure in humans.  The new study finds that cynomolgous monkeys are poor stand-ins for paracetamol-induced hepatoxicity, because their livers are better able to detoxify large doses than human livers.

Dr. Gerry McKenna, FRAME’s new director of research, writes that the study “raises significant concerns about the scientific validity to humans of drug safety studies undertaken in primates,” and – like the HTPC – urges further development of cell-based and computational approaches to toxicity testing.


Photo credit: “Macaca fascicularis” by André Ueberbach – Eigene Aufnahme von André Ueberbach/Own production. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0-de via Wikimedia Commons