Research Facilities

Research Facilities With Chimpanzees

Michale E. Keeling Center (aka MD Anderson)

Affiliated with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; review inspection reports here.

Approximate number of chimpanzees: 131

Department of Veterinary Sciences
Michale E. Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research
650 Cool Water Drive
Bastrop, TX 78602

KCCMR Director: Christian Abee, DVM, MS

The Michale E. Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research (KCCMR) is a private facility that receives federal funding for research involving the use of chimpanzees. The center is situated on 381 acres near Bastrop, Texas and is “one of two MD Anderson research facilities in Central Texas.” In addition to chimpanzees, the center also has rhesus monkeys, owl monkeys, and squirrel monkeys. The KCCMR currently has federally and privately supported programs involving research on cancer, hepatitis, HIV, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, vaccine development, cellular immunology, aging and behavior.1


In 1975, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center established an animal research center “to provide a wide range of veterinary services and develop specialized animal species to support biomedical research.” Originally known as the Veterinary Sciences Division, the center was renamed in 2004 as a memorial to the center’s first director, Michale E. Keeling, and “to better reflect the expanding research and educational roles of the center.”2 The MD Anderson Cancer Center itself focuses exclusively on cancer care and research and “was created by the Texas Legislature in 1941, as a component of The University of Texas System.”3

In 2000, the Primate Foundation of Arizona (PFA) became part of MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Chimpanzee Biomedical Research Resource and served as a subcontractor to KCCMR. The PFA described itself as a behavioral research center that also housed and bred chimpanzees for use in research. In 2006, the PFA announced that it was closing its facility in 2010 and would transfer ownership of its chimpanzees to the federal government. The 71 chimpanzees housed at the PFA were sent to the KCCMR instead of to sanctuary.

In 2008, an 18-year-old research chimpanzee named Tony was shot and killed after he escaped from an enclosure at the KCCMR. A team that specializes in safe animal capture tried to catch Tony for 45 minutes after he escaped and used at least one tranquilizer dart before he was shot by a police officer. It was the second time in five months that a chimp had escaped from the facility. Previously, a 17-year-old chimpanzee named Jake escaped from his enclosure and, after several hours of searching, was found, sedated, and returned safely to his enclosed area.

Chimpanzee use

The Chimpanzee Biomedical Research Resource (CBRR) maintained at KCCMR was “one of only four [federally] supported centers with the capability to conduct biomedical research in this species.”


  • Studies to develop vaccines, targeted therapy, and combination drug therapy to treat hepatitis C virus infection (e.g., Cellular Immune Response Against Hepatitis C Virus)
  • Studies of potential heritable disorders: diabetes risk factors, uterine cancers, and comparative studies of cardiovascular disease in the aging chimpanzee
  • Multiple studies on culture and social behavior in the chimpanzee population (e.g., Influence of Psychosocial Variables on Immune Responses and Health)


In 2011, MD Anderson was awarded a $2,565,743 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support their chimpanzee colony at KCCMR. The grant, U42RR015090, “Chimpanzee Biomedical Research Resource,” was first awarded to MD Anderson in 2000. Over the past 11 years, they have received over $38 million for this grant alone.6


(1) MD Anderson Cancer Center. (n.d.). Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine. Available from

(2) Ibid.

(3) MD Anderson Cancer Center. (n.d.). Facts and History. Retrieved from

(4) MD Anderson Cancer Center. (n.d.). Chimpanzee Biomedical Research Resource. Available from

(5) Ibid.

(6) Tracking Accountability in Government Grants System. (n.d.). TAGGS. Available from

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