View Full Version : Note to Self: Do not become human guinea pig

Ultra Peanut
03-16-2006, 07:55 AM

Drug trial hell: 'He was like the elephant man'
by MICHAEL SEAMARK, Daily Mail 08:02am 16th March 2006

Horrific stories have emerged of the drugs trial on human guinea pigs which went disastrously wrong.

The girlfriend of one victim emerged from an intensive care unit where he is fighting for his life saying he had been transformed from a handsome young man into Elephant Man.

Myfanwy Marshall said: "He was a young, fit, healthy, gorgeous-looking guy. Now his face is bloated, just like Elephant Man. He needs a miracle, those were their words, he needs a miracle."

Another victim's head has apparently swollen to three times its normal size. The names of the volunteers have not been officially released but the second victim has emerged as Ryan Wilson, a 21-year-old student.

A volunteer taking part in the trial who was given a placebo and therefore escaped the effects described the appalling scene on the ward.

Raste Khan, 23, a television technician, said: "The test ward turned into hell minutes after we were injected. The men went down like dominoes.

"First they began tearing their shirts off complaining of fever, then some screamed out that their heads felt like they were going to explode.

"After that they started fainting, vomiting and writhing around in their beds.

"It was terrifying because I kept expecting it to happen to me at any moment. But I felt fine and I didn't know why."

Six volunteers suffered catastrophic reactions to trials of the new drug, TGN1412, at Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow, North-West London.

They were the first people in the world to test the drug, being developed by the German pharmaceutical firm, TeGenero, and designed to treat chronic inflammatory conditions and leukaemia. They were paid 2,000 each.

Four are in a serious condition but showing signs of improvement. Two remain critical.

The full test group was made up of four British Asians, two Australians, a South African and one Englishman, Mr Wilson.

The trial began on Monday in a unit on the hospital campus run by the private American research company, Parexel.

All the men signed a consent form, but the tragedy could lead to compensation claims running into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

It could also deal a hammer blow to the drug-testing industry, which often relies on hard-up students volunteering as guinea pigs.

The Department of Health and Scotland Yard are investigating.

Miss Marshall, 35, a TV producer, said doctors were in the dark about how to treat the men.

"They haven't got a cure," she said. "This is a drug they have never tested on humans before so they don't know what they are dealing with."

Describing the moment she walked into the intensive care unit to see her partner, a 28-year-old bar manager from London, she said: "I nearly fainted. He is dark and gorgeous. Twenty-eight, almost twenty-nine, a muscley, hunky guy but here he looked like a 45-year-old man who had had a cardiac arrest.

"His blood is being pumped in and out. His lungs, his heart and his kidneys are being supported. They have basically killed him within a day with a lethal injection.

"He had a tube in his nose, a tube going into his mouth and a hole in his neck. There were tubes in his hands and something in his groin.

'It's like some nightmare movie'

"The doctors have said he could die at any moment. It's like some nightmare movie. My beautiful, lovely, gorgeous boyfriend is going to be dead without these machines.

"We've been told by doctors that they are just keeping the men alive, just keeping them ticking."

Ann Alexander, solicitor for the 28-year-old victim, explained what happened.

The men arrived at Parexel's 36-bed unit on Monday. They underwent tests to ensure they were fit and were given the drug at 8am, by injection, she believes.

They began suffering from headaches and nausea within 90 minutes. The headaches became severe and within 12 hours all the men had collapsed.

"The four men who are seriously ill I am told are sitting up and talking. My client is sedated, critically ill and on a life support machine," she said.

"The family are very scared about it and the prognosis is unclear. They are concerned about the lack of consistency in answers they are receiving from the drug company."

She said they had had two meetings with the drug company. "In the first they were told the drug had been tested previously on monkeys and dogs and that one dog had died.

"The next time they asked the same question they were told the drug had been tested on monkeys and rabbits. We need to get to the bottom of it."

The researchers are thought to have taken the unusual step of adjusting the dosage according to each volunteer's weight. This may explain why some of the participants are now more ill than others.

Miss Marshall said: "One of the mothers and I think that our two boys have had an overdose. They are big bulky guys and I think the drugs company gave them more than they gave to anyone else."

She said her boyfriend joined the trial on impulse for financial reasons after his wallet had been stolen and he had bills to pay.

When she protested about him joining the programme he replied: "I am helping mankind."

She said: "He is so full of life, he is this buoyant, bubbly, charismatic star, oozing charisma. Everyone adores him.

"In there is a man completely lifeless. You know, I can't even get anything, an eyelid movement, a squeeze of his hand. He is like a shell." She said he was 'athletic, healthy and full of life,' adding: "That's why they picked him or people like him."

He had no idea he was putting his life at risk by volunteering. "There was nothing on the form saying, "this could kill you, sign here"."

Thomas Hanke, chief scientific officer of TeGenero, said last night that the company had apologised to the families. "They were shocked, devastated. We deeply understand that they are. We are devastated at these shocking developments."

Dr Hanke, speaking at the hospital, was unable to say whether the men had suffered permanent damage but said there had been no adverse side effects previously in testing of the drug, which began in 1997.

When asked whether animals had died during testing, he said: "There has been no issue on the safety of the drug on animals. This is not relevant. The drug has not been tested on dogs or rats. It was tested on other mammals."

In a statement from Parexel's Boston headquarters, the company said: "These events were completely unexpected and do not reflect the results we obtained from initial laboratory studies."

One man told how he escaped the catastrophe because of nagging doubts.

Tom Edwards, 21, from Oxford, said: "It is not really like me to turn down big money for lying on my back but I was not comfortable with doing it.

"Something told me to be suspicious about it even though I did not know why. It seemed a bit haphazard."

03-16-2006, 08:19 AM
my stupid little no account cousin is/was gonna do this.

stupid bastards. get a ****in real job.

03-16-2006, 09:10 AM
2000 #s ~ $3000 wow.

The price that high you have to wonder....