[DIYbio] Re: Biohacker snake-oil fraudster Aaron Traywick

I agree it's irresponsible to encourage people who don't understand something to do anything with it, but there is no such thing as a coincidence so assuming his concoction didn't kill him someone did.

On Wednesday, May 2, 2018 at 3:48:37 PM UTC-4, Jonathan Cline wrote:
Due to a recent very naive reply in this group questioning the fraud which occurs in biotech and synbio on a regular and broad basis, fraud in biotech also including vaporware products which dupes investors and more importantly raises the possibility of harm to others, I will post a couple obvious news stories related to the need for more ethics in biotech.  RTFM.  Neither amateur nor professional scientists should tolerate this type of behavior especially in the community areas of synbio.  Fraud also includes faulty, improper, biased journalism, for those reporters who are reading this.

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Biohacker Aaron Traywick found dead in a spa

A biohacker who became infamous after apparently injecting himself with an untested herpes drug in front of an audience has been found dead.  

Aaron Traywick's body had been discovered in a spa room in Washington DC on Sunday, local police said.
Vice News reported that Traywick had been using a flotation therapy tank.  The 28-year-old was chief executive of Ascendance Biomedical. He had skirted the law by self-medicating as well as encouraging others to do likewise. A police spokeswoman has said no evidence has been found to suggest foul play.

Traywick had claimed his biohacking company had developed a DIY "research compound" that could cure HIV, Aids and herpes, but had no independent proof to back this up. Biohacking refers to people's efforts to alter their own biology by a variety of means including lifestyle and diet changes, surgery and the use of unlicensed therapies.  The BBC challenged Traywick over his behaviour when it interviewed him at the BodyHacking Con in Austin, Texas, in February.  Traywick, who had herpes, had performed a stunt at the event, apparently injecting his company's unregulated product into his leg.  On stage, he had referred to the product as a "research compound".  But in conversation with the BBC he described it as a "treatment" - a claim that had the potential to attract the attention of the US Food and Drug Administration.

Traywick told the BBC he had plans to take his work to Venezuela. When questioned whether it was ethical to encourage sick people to effectively act as guinea pigs, Traywick responded: "The best we can do is we can say to these people, 'We know you don't have access to this medication.'  "They don't have any other options. "All we know is that if it works they don't die."  Traywick's work had also caused concern among other members of the body-hacking community.  An autopsy was scheduled to be carried out on Traywick's body, but the results have yet to be disclosed.

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Bodyhackers: Bold, inspiring and terrifying
8 February 2018



Aaron Traywick's Ascendance Biomedical is a more controversial example.

Mr Traywick claims - and there is no independent proof of this whatsoever - that his drugs can cure HIV, Aids and herpes. He says he suffers from the latter.  Indeed, at the event he performed a stunt on stage whereby he injected his own product into his leg - or at least tried to. There was some confusion about what exactly had transpired.  Mr Traywick skirts the law by self-medicating, and encourages others to do the same.  Officially he calls his product a "research compound", but in conversation often slips up and refers to it as "treatment" - a claim that could see him in choppy waters with the US Food and Drug Administration, the notoriously strict regulator.  The FDA calls companies like his "dangerous". But when asked by the BBC, it would not say whether it was monitoring Mr Traywick's activities.  In November, Ascendance Biomedical made headlines when a 28-year-old man injected himself with its HIV "research compound".  Mr Traywick told me he now plans to take that work to Venezuela.  "The best we can do, is we can say to these people 'we know you don't have access to this medication'," he says.  "They don't have any other options," he added, as if that was acceptable rationale for using an unregulated drug that was tested on only one person.


At least one prominent bodyhacker has publicly taken issue with Mr Traywick's work.  "The idea that any scientist, biohacker or not, has created a cure for a disease with no testing and no data is more ridiculous than believing jet fuel melts steel beams," wrote Josiah Zayner, a man who also works with so-called "do-it-yourself" drugs.

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## Jonathan Cline
## Mobile: +1-805-617-0223

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