no evidence for disease/genetech link

Jim Owens jow at helix.nih.gov
Mon Jun 21 16:49:53 EST 1993


In article <1993Jun18.111823.8004 at gserv1.dl.ac.uk> ,
suter at VAX.MPIZ-KOELN.mpg.d400.de writes:
>i have recieved one reply to my quest on the pasteur / genetech / cancer
>link: however, still no pointers toward a DIRECT link. therefore i get
>more and more the impression that this story is humbug, and therefore
>that there are no cases in which a direct link between genetech and
illness
>has been shown to be the case. 

Sorry, Clemens, it is *not* humbug, at least not completely humbug.  One
must take the time to search the literature and that was why I have not
replied before today.

A check with Medline came up with 3 news articles from Science and Nature:
Science 232:1597 (1986) - Cancer Deaths Probed at Pasteur Institute
(ironically on the facing page to Feynman Issues His Own Shuttle Report,
Attacking NASA's Risk Estimates)
Nature 338:607 (1989) - Inquiry into Pasteur Deaths
Nature 343:583 (1990) - Pasteur Inquiry: Cancer Risk Indicated

There also were newspaper stories about how, in the end, the Pasteur
Institute accepted responsibility for bone, pancreas and brain cancer
deaths in 1991 or 1992.  Our lab chief was so impressed that he hung up
copies of the articles from one regular newspaper (NY Times or Washington
Post) and one from a newspaper devoted to scientific interests, perhap,
The Scientist.  As I recall the Pasteur may not have been legally found
liable, but merely declared the deaths work related in order to settle
"out of court" with the next of kin so there would not be a lot of ugly
publicity and to maintain a humane face for the Insititute.

Jim Owens



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