Cancer Horror Stories
JESSE GELSINGER: SACRIFICED TO GREED?
Twenty hours after being injected with a modified adenovirus, the same one that causes the common cold, eighteen year-old Jesse Gelsinger developed jaundice, and sank into a coma. As his organs began to fail at an accelerating rate, he was placed on life support. Three days later, the vibrant young man was brain dead. As members of his family watched, he was removed from life support and died.
His death never should have occurred. That it did stands as silent testimony to the way the influence of money and lust for power has corrupted the conduct of medical research in America. It also is a warning of what the future may hold if this corruption is allowed to continue unabated.
HE JUST WANTED TO HELP
An altruistic young man, Jesse had agreed to participate in a gene experiment that promised to lead to a cure for a rare disorder he had called ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency, or (OTC). About one infant in 40,000 is diagnosed with the genetic disorder, which prevents the liver from metabolizing ammonia. It is fatal for infants born with the most severe form of the condition.
Jesse knew that the clinical trial he was enrolled in would not cure him, but he was anxious to participate in the hope that it might help others. What he did not know was that finding a cure for OTC was merely an excuse to run experiments with other, far-reaching financial implications. It is not too much to say that Jesse was sacrificed on an altar of greed. It also illustrates the amorality that permeates many of our nation's most respected academic institutions and the failure of either the government or the media to call them to task for that amorality -- even where it costs human lives.
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Kathleen Deoul, Media Matters
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