Monday, February 11, 2008

Dangerous Genetic Technologies

Dangerous and unregulated laboratory practices in the United States are being performed at an alarming rate and unbeknownst to you, right in your own back yard. The risk is great especially in laboratories where genetically engineered viruses are being developed, for example, to create disease-state embryonic stem cells for biomedical research, drug discovery, gene therapy and bioweapons defense. This type of work is unregistered, unregulated and occurs in every major private and academic institute in the U.S. Accidental, negligent or intentional release of dangerous infectious genetic agents undeniably can contribute to new emerging disease in both humans and animals. As a professional who has worked extensively in this field and has witnessed unsafe laboratory practices, I truly believe that these advanced genetic biotechnologies may more than likely have already caused “mystery” illnesses in the human population. This is a public health threat that is being ignored.

Our current network of scientific communities have become so encrusted with big money from big Pharma that they have become handcuffed and blinded, unable to act at a level of integrity to advocate and protect the public health. Academics (even tenured full professors) are afraid to stand up against these powerful influences with the threat of loss of research money or threat of termination or blacklisting. In addition, our government has passed laws to financially link itself, like Siamese twins, to big Pharma in order to speed technology to market; and in doing so, has become part of the problem, not part of a solution.

As scientific advances are touted for their potential benefits and pushed upon the unsuspecting public, I hope this website will bring to the forefront the factors surrounding why the public threats and risks that being ignored. I hope eventually this will bring about change to increase public awareness, to invoke rights to biotech workers and to demand responsibility from the biomedical and academic communities who have left their post of guardian for public health and safety. In so being, this website will focus on the bioethical and safety issues and the political and economic influences related to biotechnology in hopes that it will contribute to educating at least a few more people to become “watchdogs on science”.

I encourage any input to this site, especially since I have little experience with blogs, but most importantly because you are a powerful and important part of the solution to this serious and troubling problem.

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