Friday, September 20, 2013



Advancing Honest and Ethical Medical Research

Open Meeting for the public-- Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.

Penn State Abington, Lares Building
  1600 Woodland Road, Abington, PA 19001


Against Their Will by Allen Hornblum,  Judith Newman and Gregory Dober, chronicles the history of abusive medical experiments conducted by American physicians from elite academic centers on institutionalized children—after World War II, and beyond the Cold War years.  Some of the experiments will be familiar—others not.  

In his earlier, highly acclaimed book, Acres of Skin, Mr. Hornblum chronicled the unethical experiments conducted by Dr. Albert Kligman, a highly esteemed, charismatic chairman of the department of dermatology, University of Pennsylvania, whose extensive research on behalf of more than 30 pharmaceutical companies and US government agencies was conducted on inmates at Philadelphia's Holmesburg Prison between 1951 and 1974.

On Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 7:00 p.m., a public discussion at Penn State in Abington will address the ethical issues raised by the book, Against Their Will:

“Sci­entif­ic pro­gress and the med­ic­al ad­vances it fosters is a pro­cess we can all cel­eb­rate, but the at­tain­ment of such tri­umphs on the backs of chil­dren and oth­er power­less groups makes their real­iz­a­tion all the less im­press­ive and praise­worthy…Regardless of whether clinical trials during the Cold War were designed to learn more about radiation or the nature of disease, institutions holding impaired and orphaned children often became the epicenter for the investigational studies."

* The ethics of using children as non-consensual subjects of medical experiments;

* the ethics of selecting institutionalized children—society’s least fortunate members—and subjecting them to painful, invasive, medical experiments that study the pathophysiology of disease, involving  risk of serious harm.

Dr. Kligman also conducted extensive experiments on children at the New Jersey State Colonies for the Feeblemended in Vineland and Woodbine which he considered ideal locations for his infectious experiments:  “Large numbers living under confined circumstances could be inoculated at will and the course of the disease minutely studied from its onset…biopsy material was freely available.”  The experiments yielded him many millions of dollars which he shared with the University of Pennsylvania.

 Shortly after the atomic bomb blasts at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, two premier research institutions--Harvard and MIT—conducted radioactive "nutrition" experiments on state institutionalized children at the Walter Fernald School.  The research from Dr. Constantine Maletskos' [radioactive] nutrition studies at Fernald would eventually be published in four scientific journal articles...If anyone reading the articles at the time thought there was something objectionable about using institutionalized, mentally challenged children as test subjects in experiments incorporating radioactive material, there is no record of it." 

*Physicians attempt to rationalize the use of institutionalized children, arguing that those institutions provide the necessary isolated, controlled environment for their scientific protocols. However, children at elite Prep schools also live in controlled, isolated environments; yet, physicians have never sought to use those privileged children in potentially harmful experiments.

*The unbroken thread of Eugenics permeates the culture of physicians engaged in designing and conducting government-supported experiments; they appear to have known which human beings they could risk harming without penalties—and those they could not expose to risk.   

*Babies injected with radioactive iodine:  At the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Dr. Van Middlesworth experimented on seven newborn boys--'six Negroes' and 'one Caucasian'....Realizing that 'the use of radiation in the very young organism is open to some question,' he decided to consult a local group of advisors.” 

“The group—a radiologist, a radiation physicist, two internists, two pediatricians, a physiologist, and a pathologist--decided that injecting I-131 into newborns was acceptable and 'not expected to be harmful.'"

The history of medicine is littered with physicians who believed that ethical standards—including the Hippocratic Oath, “First, do no harm,” the Nuremburg Code, the Declaration of Helsinki,  and federal rules and regulations do not apply to them.  The parameters of what constitutes acceptable, ethical research, clearly needs to be determined by a broader public base.

Join us for an eye-opening discussion.

Vera Sharav



Allen Hornblum,  co-author of Against Their Will and author of Acres of Skin, and Sentenced to Science
who will moderate the discussion

Gordon Shattuck, a former child test subject

Dr. Judith Newman, Penn State Abington associate professor of Human Development and Family Studies
and co-author of Against Their Will

Karen Alves, the sister of a former child test subject

Vera Sharav, President for Alliance for Human Research Protection

Free Admission

Books will be available for purchase and authors will autograph upon request.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.

Penn State Abington, Lares Building

1600 Woodland Road, Abington, PA 19001

For more information, please call
Regina Broscius at 215-881-7800.

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