Ascending to Arrogance

Don’t drink raw water. Don’t eat Tide Pods. Also: Don’t inject yourself with untested drugs.

The biotech company Ascendance “aims to cure cancer, herpes, HIV and aging,” relying on volunteers injecting themselves with untested, experimental drugs. Why? Because the startup is antsy for innovation and regulators just, like, take too long—so Ascendance is circumventing them to speed up scientific innovation in the US. In a David Blaine-esque demonstration (of his own recklessness), CEO Aaron Traywick shot up an experimental herpes treatment before an audience at Body Hacking Con (BDYHAX) in Austin last week.

Self-experimentation is not new (see: Werner Forssmann) but also ill-advised. “If you have access to it,” warned DARPA director and BDYHAX speaker Justin Sanchez, “that doesn’t mean you should use it.”


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