Non-human primates (NHPs) continue to be a valuable resource for preclinical research because of similarities they share with humans. NHPs, especially rhesus macaques, are used in preclinical studies for evaluating new drugs or vaccines for safety and efficacy. Flow cytometry assays can be easily adapted to study cells from NHP. Consider these three factors if you are planning to adapt a flow cytometry assay for use with NHP samples.
- Staining panel prep: Just like human subjects, PBMCs can be collected from Non-human primates and evaluated by flow cytometry. Many immune cell subsets, especially B and T cells, share similar phenotypes with their human counterparts. In fact, human antibodies are most often used to stain NHP cells because of similarities shared between surface markers. Consider which cells of interest you may want to study and how existing antibodies used in flow cytometry may be used in your panel.
- Real-world variability: Many scientists are accustomed to working with an inbred mouse strain, which reduces background variability observed in experimental settings. In contrast, NHPs are outbred animals, and like humans, may display widely varying responses. As you develop your NHP protocols, consider how you will handle highly variable data, including flow cytometry data. These considerations will inform how many animals may be used in each group and how many cells are stained and evaluated in each sample.
- Metabolism and toxicity: NHPs share many physiological similarities to humans and are a valuable model for pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic measurements of experimental drugs and biologics. Toxicity testing can also be done in NHPs and together these data are critical to evaluating candidates in preclinical pipelines.
Developing NHP protocols from inception to sample analysis requires working with experts that have experience writing protocols that are compliant with appropriate oversight committees, such as institutional animal care and use committee offices. Working with experts, such as contract research organizations, also assures that any NHP flow cytometry studies will satisfy any necessary regulatory compliance determinations related to drug and biologic development.