Picture: Biohackers implanting LED lights into their bodies
Netease Technologies News, October 13, according to foreign media reports, at last months annual Biohack the Planet, a biohacker who developed night vision eye drops, Gabriel Licina, advised biohackers not to experiment with themselves.
Every new technology has pioneers and rebels. Like the Home brew Computer Club, it launched its own computer assembly in the 1970s and 1980s, laying the foundation for the personal computer revolution. Since the scientific promise of genetic editing made it as easy to modify biological functions as rewriting a piece of computer code, DIY advocates have argued that this frontier medical science should enable itself to modify or enhance its biological functions. On social networks such as conferences and Facebook, these self-proclaimed biohackers have taken dramatic actions. One of them injected himself with gene editing technology Crispr at a conference on synthetic biology. Another man tried to cure herpes by injecting himself with an untested gene therapy at a conference called the Body Hacking Con. Another man treated AIDS by himself, resulting in adverse reactions in the abdomen of the needle.
Although brave people impress the audience deeply, they often frighten the audience. In July, California passed legislation to prevent self-editing of genes, and state regulators said they were investigating unlicensed medical biohackers. Some self-taught scientists say that the window to overthrow the current system has closed and it is time to join them. At last months annual Biohack the Planet conference, Lichner summed up this sentiment from the rostrum: I would like to suggest that we mature a little. He said, For Gods sake, please stop poking yourself.
Biohackers seeking to liberate scientific achievements from ivory towers have realized that they may have to learn from ivory Towersconventions, such as seeking peer review for their work. Instead of meeting in a dilapidated community in Oakland, California, Lichner spoke in a hotel room next to Las Vegas Avenue. He announced that he had developed a gene therapy for rare blood diseases, which cost only $7,000 and could replace a $1 million company drug. This years conference also added a poster link so that scientists, biohackers and companies can present their latest research results. About 150 people attended the opening ceremony, most of whom paid $199 for tickets, and a venture capital company was among the sponsors. Business plans were also discussed. According to SynBioBeta, biomanufacturing startups raised $1.9 billion in the first half of this year, which is expected to achieve record growth. I really want people to start doing responsible work, Lichner said. This means peer review and external testing, not just gimmicks.
So far, EmbediVet, the largest successful biohacker, is a health tracking system for livestock, originally a biometric implant for humans themselves. Livestock Labs, which developed the product, saw more market opportunities for animals and received $2 million in early financing from Australias Livestock Group Meat & Livestock Australia.
Most of the gene therapy experiments conducted by biohackers themselves have failed. Todd Kuiken, a researcher at the Community Science Laboratory at the Center for Genetic Engineering and Society at North Carolina State University, says that one measure of the success of biohackers is whether they can open up another path for professionalism in science, just as computer hackers open up a path for software engineers.
Source: Responsible Editor of Netease Science and Technology Report: Wang Fengzhi_NT2541