Aging NHP Resource

The number of elderly in industrialized nations is projected to grow rapidly, doubling in size within the next 25 years.  In the U.S., the expansive baby-boom generation, with increased lifespan, will result in a record number of retirees.  However, it is anticipated that there will also be an escalation in the number of elderly who experience a significant period of fragility, encumbered by progressive illnesses.  This will be a challenge for the management of health care, social services, and benefits programs.

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) was created by Congress in 1974, to meet the emerging aging challenge, with a current focus on the extension of the "health-span". To aid aging research, the NIA helped create and maintain models of aging, such as rodents, and also the monkeys in the Primate Aging Study (PAS). The PAS program provides support for the formation and maintenance of colonies of aged nonhuman primates at ONPRC and other Primate Centers. The PAS colonies leverage the existing resources and infrastructure at the NPRCs to produce and maintain this vital research model.

To enhance aging research at ONPRC, the Aging NHP Resource was created in 1999, with the following programmatic goals:
  • Manage the enrollment of animals into the PAS program.
  • Provide technical and veterinary consultation to for research efforts.
  • Promote collaborative efforts in basic and clinical science.
  • Collect biomarker information using non-invasive techniques, such as in vivo scans.
  • Support project development and coordinate animal assignments to projects.
  • Maintain an aged tissue archive for scientific discovery.
  • Explore the ONPRC database for age-related information.
The Aging NHP Resource currently supports projects that span several disciplines and includes the examination of the effects of aging on central nervous system function (for example, cognition), reproductive senescence and immune function.  In addition, projects on models of neurodegeneration that are exacerbated are being pursued.  Interventions, like diet (restriction and modeling the Western style diet) and hormone-replacement therapy have also been utilized and variations of these and other experimental themes continue to evolve.

The Aging NHP Resource also provides the foundation for the Biology of Aging Program.  This research focus group was recently generated due to wide interest in aging by the researchers at ONPRC and OHSU, and will help create a multi-disciplinary approach in the study of senescence in the nonhuman primate.

Steven G. Kohama, Ph.D., Senior Staff Scientist, Head
Contact information for tissue or animal availability: kohamas@ohsu.edu