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The EUPRIM-Net Project

WP8: Development of New and Improved Tools to Measure Infection and Disease in Nonhuman Primates

The general aim of this work package is to develop and apply new technologies for the detection and validation
of diagnostic and prognostic markers of viral and bacterial diseases in nonhuman primates (NHP). The specific
objectives are:

• To develop multiplex assays for detection of pathogens, and for the determination of immune responses and cytokine levels.
• To develop transcript-analysis assays for the identification of diagnostic and prognostic RNA markers of disease progression
• To explore the use of non-invasive, or less-invasive sampling in these assays
• To standardise protocols and exchange data between partners

Current biomedical research using nonhuman primates is based on the principle of the 3R’s (Reduction,
Refinement, and Replacement). This requires that more data are obtained from minimal numbers of animals,
and from small samples that are preferably collected using non- or less-invasive sampling techniques. The
participants within this research activity represent the main breeding centres and research institutes for
nonhuman primates in Europe. They are committed to the use of new methodologies that will both

1) enhance the quality of life of the animals used in research, and in parallel
2) respond to the increasing demand of data by scientists.

Flow cytometric methods (e.g. Luminex platform), or the analysis of cellular transcripts using microarrays or
quantitative RT-PCR assays, enable researchers to analyse multiple parameters from a single small sample.
Particularly, New World monkeys (NWM), like marmosets and tamarins, are progressively used in biomedical
research. A serious drawback of using NWM is the limited blood sample volume that can be collected. In
this project specific emphasis will be laid on the application of the abovementioned technologies to monitor
biomarkers in NWM, in addition to macaques. The implementation of the new technologies in NHP research
will strongly contribute to the 3R principle. Use of archival tissue samples, or non-, or less-invasively obtained
samples further contributes to the 3R’s.

Importantly, all techniques established in course of this research project can easily be adapted and applied to
other pathogens or diseases of NHP. Each partner will therefore use specific viral or bacterial infection(s) to
establish a technique, and to explore its adaptability to other infections or diseases.

The techniques developed in this Research Activity will have considerable impact on future research in the EU
involving nonhuman primates. This will not be limited to the field of infectious diseases, as they can be widely
used in research on animal models for human diseases.