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Tuskegee anniversary, bioethics then and now

| | July 31, 2014

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment was an infamous clinical study that began in 1932, conducted by the Public Health Service at the Tuskegee Institute. July 29, 1972, it was revealed to the world and it came to an end. Peter Buxton, U.S. Public Health Service worker had filed several reports about this unethical research. He blew the whistle on Tuskegee Project by leaking it to media.

The study is now famous and infamous because it changed the course of history and created regulations in science and biomedical research that had not formally existed before. July 29, 1972, is an important day in Black History, as well as science and bioethics history.

This is a perfect example of how we, as scientists, can become blinded by our own ambitions to pursue an answer, complete an experiment and be tempted to ignore every ethical and moral principle in order to get that data point. I am imagining how researchers are trained to be detached from their subject, in this case the researcher does whatever mental exercise needed that would allow his human subjects to suffer from Syphilis complications despite the availability of an effective and affordable cure because that subject is no longer his own individual. He is now a datum in a long, continuous a priori study that required the subject to ride this thing out.

Read the full, original story: You should know: July 29, 1972 important date in bioethics, science and Black History



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