In the early days of microbiology experiments, when researchers needed test subjects they frequently went to those closest nearby which included their family or themselves.
Now, we have animals to use for experimentation or humans, if the right permission is granted and protocols obtained.
That said, some modern biohackers, or people who take a do it yourself (DIY) mentality to science experiments, are going old school and using their own bodies as the first test subject. Recently, Aaron Traywick, CEO of Ascendance Biomedical, did just that. He injected himself on stage at the conference BodyHacking Con with a homemade herpes treatment.
This happened a few months ago, too, was a project that Traywick was also involved in when a gene therapy for HIV was injected into a single recipient. The spectacle can be seen in a video on you tube.
It sparked a reaction by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) who released a statement saying, "The sale of these products is against the law. FDA is concerned about the safety risks involved. Consumers are cautioned to make sure that any gene therapy they are considering has either been approved by FDA or is being studied under appropriate regulatory oversight."
But, with or without FDA approval, this is simply not right. Even some fellow self-injecting biohackers think that this is too far.
Traywick is 28 years old - an age when most scientists are still in the beginning of their training, working on the years of research that will culminate in a graduate degree. There is a reason why scientists have a longer training period than almost any other profession. It is because science is very complicated. And, even if Traywick may think that he knows what he is doing, it is clear that he is not a scientist when he speaks. Especially when he says that the drug has been through “insane levels” of testing... sigh.
Or, just in case that wasn't enough hubris, he also said “If we succeed with herpes in even the most minor ways, we can proceed with cancer.” Cancer? Anyone who thinks that they are going to single handedly cure the biggest and most complex health problem of the century lacks a basic understanding of what cancer is and why it is so challenging to make strides.
After Traywick completed the injection, stepped off of the stage and while he was putting his pants back on, he said, “I’ll let you know how it goes.” Oh yes, Aaron. We are waiting to see how it goes. And, tell us on FB live, because that's how meaningful scientific information is disseminated.