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Harvard ‘Winding Down’ Research Center Where Monkeys Died

Harvard is winding down operations at its controversial primate research center where four monkeys died, according to Harvard Medical School and this report in The Boston Globe:

The Harvard primate research center where four monkeys died because of animal care problems will be largely shut down by 2015, Harvard Medical School announced Tuesday afternoon. The university cited a tough economic climate for biomedical research funding and shifting long-term strategic plans.

(New England Primate Research Center/Harvard Medical School)

(New England Primate Research Center/Harvard Medical School)

The announcement stunned outside researchers, because it comes a year and a half after Harvard began investing significant time and resources into the New England Primate Research Center in Southborough, to correct animal care and oversight problems that had resulted in the deaths of four monkeys between June 2010 and Feb. 2012.

From the Harvard Medical School news release:

Boston, MA (April 23, 2013)—Harvard Medical School announced today that it would wind down operations of the New England Primate Research Center (NEPRC) over the next 12 to 24 months rather than seek to renew a five-year federal grant to continue operating the Center, and indicated its leadership had begun to work with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on a transition plan.

School leaders acknowledged that the decision to wind down operations of the NEPRC was extremely difficult in light of the groundbreaking research that has been conducted at the Center over the past 50 years. As they weighed whether to renew the base grant from the NIH, HMS leaders made a strategic decision based on a review of the long-term academic benefits and the financial cost of continuing to operate the NEPRC. Continue reading