At just 28, [Aaron] Traywick was among the most infamous figures in the world of biohacking—the grandiose CEO of a tiny company called Ascendance Biomedical whose goal was to develop and test new gene therapies without the expense and rigor of clinical trials or the oversight of the FDA. Traywick wanted to cure cancer, herpes, HIV, and even aging, and he wanted to do it without having to deal with the rules and safety precautions of regulators and industry standards.
[On May 6] this dream of low-cost, open-access gene therapy came crashing down, when at the end of a session in a sensory deprivation tank at a D.C. spa, Traywick was found dead. The immediate reaction was disbelief. By Monday morning, my Facebook inbox was flooded with messages from biohackers wondering if this was perhaps yet another one of Traywick’s stunts. Rumors and conspiracy theories ran amok. His exact cause of death is still unknown; police say the autopsy results are not expected for several weeks.
While Traywick’s life tested the limits of DIY science, his death symbolizes a crossroads for the movement. Will it continue to push the limits of self-experimentation or will it take steps to ensure safety?
What is clear, is that in death, Traywick’s impact may loom even larger than it did in life.
Read full, original post: What Does an Infamous Biohacker’s Death Mean for the Future of DIY Science?