Drug Trial Gone Haywire In London

Drug Trial Goes Haywire in London

Six volunteers who took an anti-inflammatory drug administered at a research unit in North-West London had to be hospitalized after they developed serious complications. The incident took place in Norwick Park Hospital, where the unfortunate six are now being treated. The trial on the drug was immediately stopped.

All the six men who took the drug were under the age 40 and were very healthy. After taking the drug, the men suffered multiple organ failure. Of these, two men are in critical condition. One of them, a young man of 28, may die any moment. His girlfriend Myfanwy Marshall says the man she knew, a very healthy and beautiful person, has been transformed beyond all recognition. The entire body is swollen. Near and dear ones are finding it unbearable to look at him.

The scariest thing is that doctors are here dealing with something they haven’t seen before. They don’t have any one sure method of getting rid of the disturbance. They have to try many things and see how the body responds before they can hopefully revive him. In other words, they are forced to experiment on a man whose life is already in serious danger. They are ready to admit that he needs a miracle.

The drug in question is called TGN1412, an antibody. It belongs to a group of antibodies used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and leukemia. In nature, antibodies are substances the body produces to fight infections of harmful germs. In recent years scientists have been trying to produce these antibodies in laboratories. TGN1412 is one such antibody produced in the lab, and not naturally in the body.

Some such antibodies are already available in the market. The use of these has not so far shown any harmful results.

The incident has sent a wave of shock across the world. Doctors, scientists and laymen are desperate to figure out what went wrong. The research unit Parexel that carried out the trial says that it has followed all the standard precautions and norms. Some, like Richard Ley of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, say that this was a totally unexpected and rare thing to happen.

Antibodies are powerful substances the body makes to combat germs. When the human body naturally produces antibodies, it must also be making many subtle changes in the internal system to help the body handle their presence. It might be another story when these substances enter the body all of a sudden. This is probably what has happened.

The human body and other living things around us are made of very complicated organic substances. What we see today is the result of millions of years of slow and steady adjustments and balancing acts called evolution. These millions of years must have given the body its own system of dealing with disturbances.

What many drugs do today is violate this system. Many of them, except antibiotics, are strong inorganic chemicals that cause sudden changes in the body. Man is part of nature. You can get an idea of the harm these chemicals do, when you compare it with the effect of environmental pollution. Some bring sudden destruction, like a nuclear explosion. Some others cause slow poisoning, like plastic.

The London drug trial incident has come into spotlight only because it has been dramatic and because it has happened in a laboratory. In fact, mishaps with drugs are not as rare as some scientists would have us believe. It is a well known fact that reactions to prescribed drugs is somewhere between the fourth and sixth leading cause of death in the U.S.

These experiences are very painful. They put a big question mark on the wisdom of tampering with the body’s natural balance. We have to admit that we haven’t come anywhere close to mastering nature’s subtle ways. Till such time that we know better, wouldn’t it be safer to look for natural and gentler healing methods?

Medical Professors' Opinions

Dr. David Klein
Seaside Chiropractic

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