A controversial experiment proposed by a McLean Hospital researcher to measure the effects of radiation on squirrel monkeys has been "removed from consideration for experimental time," according to Brookhaven National Laboratory.
For months, activists that oppose animal research have been protesting the experiment, which entailed exposing squirrel monkeys to radiation at Brookhaven. Follow-up studies on the monkeys would have occurred under the oversight of Jack Bergman, an associate professor of psychobiology at McLean. The experiment was intended to better understand the effects of radiation exposure on astronauts during missions. NASA informed Brookhaven on Dec. 8 that it planned to review research initiatives to see if they fit with the current goals for human spaceflight.
"In light of this review, NASA has informed Brookhaven that a proposal involving primate research at the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory on the Brookhaven Lab site should be removed from consideration for experimental time at the facility," a note posted on the Brookhaven's website stated.
McLean Hospital spokeswoman Adriana Bobinchock referred questions about the matter to NASA.
"NASA is going to undertake a comprehensive review of the agency's current research and technology development plans..." the NASA statement said. "We look forward to the findings of that review, which will inform our decision making moving forward."
Activists who opposed the research applauded the decision.
"Bombarding live monkeys with radiation is cruel and scientifically useless," said Dr. John J. Pippin, senior medical and research adviser to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a nonprofit that has sought to halt the experiments.
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