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Feds Seize Smallpox Vaccine From Clinic Injecting It Into Cancer Patients

Remember how health officials used to say that smallpox vaccines were used only on a limited basis and then only with people who are at very high risk of getting smallpox? Well, U.S. marshals have seized five vials of smallpox vaccine from StemImmune Inc. in California after the Food and Drug Administration caught them injecting the vaccine into tumors of cancer patients, The Verge reports. The FDA isn’t sure how StemImmune obtained the vials; they also are warning that anyone coming in contact with one of these patients potentially could develop swelling of the heart.

While it’s not evident from this article whether the patients were aware that their cancer was being “treated” with a vaccine that technically no one was supposed to be able to obtain, the whole scenario is a tipping point for warnings I issued when the 21st Century Cures Act became law in December 2016.

Touted as a tool for furthering medical research and finding cures for chronic diseases like cancer, the law relaxes FDA standards and makes it easier for experimental drugs and vaccines to come to market without being adequately tested for safety — not unlike what was going on with these so-called smallpox vaccine cancer “treatments.” While the FDA stopped this particular experiment, I predict that it’s only a matter of time before something gets past the FDA, and goes seriously wrong.

Unfortunately, human experimentation-gone-wrong is a shameful part of U.S. history already, but with this law, sloppy science has a free pass to see what it can get past the FDA, all at the expense of consumer safety and public health. This is especially disconcerting in view of the fact that, right now, scientists not only are experimenting with altering food genes, but human genes as well. Add to that research that is combining days-old pig embryos with human pluripotent stem cells, and we have a recipe for disaster that goes far beyond smallpox vaccine being injected into cancer patients.
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