Research Facilities

Closed Laboratories

Primate Foundation of Arizona

Affiliated with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center


The Primate Foundation of Arizona (PFA) described itself as a chimpanzee breeding colony and behavioral research center (1). Established in 1970, PFA became part of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Chimpanzee Biomedical Research Resource (CBRR) in 2000. The CBRR included chimpanzees housed at both the Michale E. Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research (KCCMR) and the PFA. PFA acted as a subcontractor to KCCMR. Prior to 2000, PFA was supported by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) in a separate agreement. (2) In 2006, PFA announced that it would be transferring ownership of its chimpanzees to the federal government and all of its chimpanzees were sent to the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas by 2010.

Chimpanzee use

According to the Primate Info Net, the University of Wisconsin at Madison’s Library and Information Service, PFA’s research programs consisted of, “Applied behavioral research with the goal of improving captive management. Includes: behavior and social skill development, environmental enrichment and well-being, reproduction: cycling, receptivity and behavior, physical growth and development.” (3) PFA was also known for having “the only experimentally naïve colony of chimpanzees available for biomedical research” in the U.S. (4)

PFA claimed that at their facility, chimpanzees were used only for observational studies and research into the care and management of captive chimpanzee populations. However, through their cooperative agreement with M.D. Anderson, chimpanzees from PFA are transferred to MD Anderson and used for biomedical research at the TX facility when requested. (5)


Although PFA claimed to be a private facility, it still received federal support and funding for its chimpanzees. For example, an NIH grant awarded to MD Anderson in 2000 (Grant 5U42RR015090, Chimpanzee Biomedical Research Resource), provided $19.5 million for a five-year period for a collaborative agreement between PFA and MD Anderson. (6) MD Anderson has received almost $30 million for this specific grant over 10 years (7).


(1) Excerpted from article by S. Howell, E. Mittra, J. Fritz, J. Baron, “The Provision of Cage Furnishings as Environmental Enrichment at the Primate Foundation of Arizona” on a project supported by NIH, NCRR Grant No. 2U42 RRO 3602-11.

(2) MD Anderson-related FOIA documents; received from NIH on February, 17, 2009


(4) MD Anderson-related FOIA documents; received from NIH on February, 17, 2009

(5) MD Anderson-related FOIA documents; received from NIH on February, 17, 2009

(6) NIH Renews Grant for Bastrop Chimpanzee Facility


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