Brian Hanley, 60, is the founder of a one-man company called Butterfly Sciences…After encountering little interest from investors for his ideas about using DNA injections to help strengthen AIDS patients, he determined that he should be the first to try it.
Most gene therapy involves high-tech, multimillion-dollar experiments carried out by large teams at top medical centers…But Hanley showed that gene therapy can be also carried out on the cheap in the same setting as liposuction or a nose job, and might one day be easily accessed by anyone.
In an attempt to live longer, some enthusiasts of anti-aging medicine already inject growth hormone, swallow fullerenes, or gulp megavitamins…Now unregulated gene therapy could be the next frontier. “I think it’s damn crazy,” says Bruce Smith, a professor at Auburn University who develops genetic treatments for dogs. “But that is human nature, and it’s colliding with technology.”
Hanley says he did not secure the approval of the FDA before carrying out his experiment either.
“They said ‘You need an IND’ and I said, ‘No, I don’t,’” recalls Hanley, who traded e-mails with officials at the federal agency. He argued that self-experiments should be exempt, in part because they don’t pose any risk to the public.
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