View From The Trenches

U58563 at uicvm.uic.edu U58563 at uicvm.uic.edu
Tue Jul 25 03:48:50 EST 1995


My apologies for being so late on this one.  It was 12 days before I had to
move and I hadn't found an apartment.  My lab is moving sometime last month as
soon as someone has the common decency to pay off the fire inspector so that
he will come.  Our new paper is in press in the journal we wanted to publish
it in --- submitted by somebody else!  Ei ei ei sometimes it's hard to fight
your way on to the net!!!

In article <95197.220352U27111 at uicvm.uic.edu>, <U27111 at uicvm.uic.edu> says:
>On Sun, 16 Jul 1995 00:53:15 CDT <U58563 at uicvm.uic.edu> wrote:
>Who needs an experiment...
   I've heard that one before... I've USED that one before!  8)  But you really
must admit that a clinical lab and a research lab are two entirely different
beasts --- to me, it seems as if you're telling Henry Ford that on today's
production line in Detroit he'd be fired within the hour.  Possibly true, but
not really relevant.

>And you honestly don't believe researchers 'Beef up' their data for
>these presentations and that in grant funding it's mostly a matter
>of who you know rather than what you know?
   My point was that the data should be irrelevant --- the IDEA should be what
counts.  As to the "who you know" syndrome, it is certainly a problem, but it
is not a source of fraud.

>Not only ban me... but close down the lab and take away funding if
>I am doing something outside of my field of certification.
   Well, so much for having creative ideas --- who needs them?  They can get
you closed down!  Are all statists insane, or is there a counterexample
somewhere?

>When I said that the government should force these changes... I
>mean that it will have to be the government which MAKES the
>research community standardize itself by making it a part of the
>grant system.
   If your reforms are so excellent, you should not need the government to
start them off with a sweeping crackdown from NSF to USDA.  Any private source
of grants, even a little local chapter of the ACS for example, could easily
choose to make this a requirement for their funding, and get some process
going.  Why don't they?  Why don't you spend your energy trying to convince a
few individuals from one such organization to give your ideas a fair test,
rather than moaning for a broad-based change that you admit:
>BECAUSE there is no way in HELL the research community would do
>this all on their own in any attempt to standardize the field!
would not be initiated by researchers but by government BUREAUCRATS.  You can
rant and rave about how the actual certification would be done by someone else,
but you make it clear who would be giving the orders.

>THINK about what you are saying... that we can continue to chug
>along as we have for the past two decades - slowly running out of
>monies with little to nothing to show for it?
   NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT???  TPA, chicken-pox vaccine, Huntington's diagnosis,
instant strept throat tests, cancer diagnosis and early-warning tests, human
insulin, a mechanical gizmo to make paralyzed people walk... you say that
cancer and AIDS are uncured, but a person has a better chance of surviving and
will surely survive longer, and I dare say that is worth something.  But those
are just the beads and trinkets.  If we start getting into serious
consideration of just what methods and knowledge people had in 1975 versus now,
of the dawn of Southern blotting and restriction enzymes versus the golden age
of PCR, in vitro transcription-translation, transgenic animals, in situ
hybridizations, computer databases... it was worth a tiny fraction of the
budget people spend to threaten to kill each other, yes?

>>>So how do we fix this?  What's your suggestions.
   I look forward to a time when everything is published electronically; when
the "paper" is no longer an important unit, but experiments are done and put
on-line the same day or the same week, summarized on occasion by labs, reviewed
by skeptics, and condensed for general consumption, all in a free and open
fashion.  The time CAN come when "collaboration" is no longer a delicate
political negotiation like a medieval marriage, but when a sort of scientific
Free Love reigns supreme, in which labs base their reputations on what they
DO and not what they say, or what structure it is in, so that people freely
join together in projects that skip from lab to lab as convenience and skill
allow.  The time could come when you read the on-line database for a few hours,
seeing the experiments that all your "competitors" --- now allies --- are doing
and then find a spot where the technique you know best is in need, and with an
E-mail you are part of their effort.  Rather than looking backward at all sorts
of cruel schemes for limiting the power of scientists to do their work, we
should trust the same complexity and yet unity of technology that got us INTO
this mess to get us OUT as well.

>The FDA is underfunded, understaffed and overworked - gee, now lets
>cut down on the time period a drug has to go through them.  REAL
>smart idea!
   Actually, I was suggesting "cutting" the time sort of like a headsman is a
barber.  I would love to see their overwork alleviated.  Yes, I know that some
people will go for snake oil --- FINE.  Better that a few gullibles select
themselves out, than that innocent and desperate people be denied the right to
make their own decision.  Besides which, I could hardly be consistent if I
advocated legalization of recreational drugs without advocating the free use
of medicinal drugs, including experimental drugs, subject only to the user's
own judgment.

>You never answered my quesiton...where is it written that unborn
>children and infants are committed to preform 'acts of bravery' so
>that Burroughs-Wellcome [now Galaxo] can attempt to stop the 24%
>drop in sells of AZT since the publication of the Concorde Study?
   No one should EVER trust a person selling a product to be impartial
concerning that product.  To me, that seems like yet another (there are so
many!) reason why "intellectual property" is a flawed and bankrupt doctrine,
since it not only censors ideas, but leads to their misrepresentation as well.
Nonetheless, you have not proved your point that the case is unreasonable ---
quite to the contrary, it has been shown that babies can upon occasion be
positive for the HIV *virus* at birth, yet lose that virus within a few months;
consequently, it only seems logical to use some drug (though AZT would seem
like a last choice, since if the parent had previously been treated with it
the virii would have been selected for resistance) to help that fight be
successful.
   You cannot convince me to convict someone for murder for the sole reason
that they stood to gain some insurance money.
   Meanwhile, you are indulging in the same rhetorical stunt that has been used
ever since Thalidomide, of equating EVERY person, even the most desperate
cancer patient who is thoroughly knowledgeable of his condition and has a
real commitment to try something that might help, with a pregnant mother who
would risk her baby for relief from morning sickness.  And even that was a
one-of-a-kind disaster.  "Fetal rights" are an entirely separate issue from
the question of whether *I* have the right to make my own decisions.

>How's that?  I am unfamiliar with what you are talking about.  How
>about a reference?
   The reference about the mouse I can't seem to find now.  But a new
reference that I plan to check is:
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 90: 4156-4160  (1993) [93248248]
Gene inoculation generates immune responses against human immunodeficiency
virus type 1.
B. Wang, K. E. Ugen, V. Srikantan, M. G. Agadjanyan, K. Dang, Y. Refaeli, A. I.
Sato, J. Boyer, W. V. Williams & D. B. Weiner

Judging by the abstract it should reference the reference I can't find.




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