"We stand by our implantable products which have been approved by the FDA and/or other U.S. regulatory authorities," said Scott Silverman, chairman and chief executive officer of the Delray Beach, Fla. company.was "not aware of any studies that have resulted in malignant tumors" in laboratory animals, but he added that millions of pets have been implanted with microchips, without reports of significant problems.FDA also stands by its approval of the technology, but declined repeated AP requests to specify what studies it reviewed before approving the implants.agency is overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services, which, at the time of VeriChip's approval, was headed by Tommy Thompson. Two weeks after the device's approval took effect on Jan. 10, 2005, Thompson left his Cabinet post, and by July was a board member of VeriChip Corp. and its parent company, Applied Digital Solutions. He was compensated in cash and stock options., until recently a candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, says he had no personal relationship with the company as the VeriChip was being evaluated, and played no role in FDA's approval.making no mention of the findings on animal tumors was a June report by the ethics committee of the American Medical Association, which touted the benefits of implantable RFID devices.committee members reviewed, or even been aware of, the literature on cancer in chipped animals?, said Dr. Steven Stack, an AMA board member.results Published in veterinary and toxicology journals between 1996 and 2006, the studies found that lab mice and rats injected with microchips sometimes developed subcutaneous "sarcomas" - malignant tumors, most of them encasing the implants.
A 1998 study in Ridgefield, Conn., of 177 mice reported cancer incidence to be slightly higher than 10 percent - a result the researchers described as "surprising."
A 2006 study in France detected tumors in 4.1 percent of 1,260 microchipped mice. This was one of six studies in which the scientists did not set out to find microchip-induced cancer but noticed the growths incidentally. They were testing compounds on behalf of chemical and pharmaceutical companies; but they ruled out the compounds as the tumors' cause.
In 1997, a study in Germany found cancers in 1 percent of 4,279 chipped mice. The tumors "are clearly due to the implanted microchips," the authors wrote.accompanied the findings. "Blind leaps from the detection of tumors to the prediction of human health risk should be avoided," one study cautioned. Also, because none of the studies had a control group of animals that did not get chips, the normal rate of tumors cannot be determined and compared to the rate with chips implanted., specialists at some pre-eminent cancer institutions said the findings raised red flags.
"There's no way in the world, having read this information, that I would have one of those chips implanted in my skin, or in one of my family members," said Dr. Robert Benezra, head of the Cancer Biology Genetics Program at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.humans are implanted on a large scale, he said, testing should be done on larger animals, such as dogs or monkeys. Sarcomas are life-threatening, he said, "and given the preliminary animal data, it looks to me that there's definitely cause for concern.". George Demetri, director of the Center for Sarcoma and Bone Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, said even though the tumor incidences were "reasonably small," the research underscored "certainly real risks" in RFID implants.humans, sarcomas, which strike connective tissues, can range from the highly curable to "tumors that are incredibly aggressive and can kill people in three to six months," he said.the Jackson Laboratory in Maine, a leader in mouse genetics research and the initiation of cancer, Dr. Oded Foreman, a forensic pathologist, also reviewed the studies at the AP's request. Noting that control mice, which had received no test chemicals, also developed the cancers, he said: "That might be a little hint that something real is happening here.". Cheryl London, a veterinarian oncologist at Ohio State University, noted it's easier to cause cancer in mice than people. "So it may be that what you're seeing in mice represents an exaggerated phenomenon of what may occur in people."of thousands of dogs have been chipped, she said, and veterinary pathologists haven't reported outbreaks of related sarcomas. (Published reports detailing malignant tumors in two chipped dogs turned up in AP's four-month examination of research on chips and health. In one dog, the researchers said cancer appeared linked to the presence of the embedded chip; in the other, the cancer's cause was uncertain.), London saw a need for a 20-year study of chipped canines. Dr. Chand Khanna, a veterinary oncologist at the National Cancer Institute, also backed such a study, saying current evidence "does suggest some reason to be concerned about tumor formations.", the animal study findings should be disclosed to anyone considering a chip implant, the cancer specialists agreed.
product that VeriChip Corp. won approval for use in humans is an electronic capsule the size of two grains of rice. Generally, it is implanted with a syringe into the anesthetized upper arm. When scanned, it transmits a code that allows medics to access a patient's medical records. VeriChip Corp. sees an initial market of diabetics and people with heart conditions or Alzheimer's disease.the FDA review literature on microchip implants and animal cancer before approving the VeriChip?. Katherine Albrecht, a privacy advocate and RFID expert, asked shortly after VeriChip's approval what evidence the agency had reviewed. When FDA declined to provide information, she filed a Freedom of Information Act request, and eventually received a letter stating there were no documents matching her request.
"The public relies on the FDA to evaluate all the data and make sure the devices it approves are safe," she says, "but if they're not doing that, who's covering our backs?"last year, Albrecht unearthed three studies noting cancerous tumors in some chipped mice and rats, plus a reference in another study to a chipped dog with a tumor. She forwarded them to the AP, which subsequently found three additional mice studies with similar findings, plus another report of a chipped dog with a tumor.if it had taken these studies into account, the FDA said VeriChip documents were being kept confidential to protect trade secrets. After AP filed a FOIA request, the FDA made available for a phone interview Anthony Watson, who was in charge of the VeriChip approval process.
"At the time we reviewed this, I don't remember seeing anything like that," he said of animal studies linking microchips to cancer.added: "The few articles from the literature that did discuss adverse tissue reactions similar to those in the articles you provided, describe the responses as foreign body reactions that are typical of other implantable devices. The balance of the data provided in the submission supported approval of the device.". Neil Lipman, director of the Research Animal Resource Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, said microchips aren't like pacemakers, which are vital to keeping someone alive, "so at this stage, the payoff doesn't justify the risks."
what of former HHS secretary Thompson?asked what role, if any, he played in VeriChip's approval, Thompson replied: "I had nothing to do with it. And if you look back at my record, you will find that there has never been any improprieties whatsoever."vigorously campaigned for electronic medical records and health-care technology both as governor of Wisconsin and at HHS. While in President Bush's Cabinet, he formed a "medical innovation" task force, partnering FDA with companies developing information technologies.a "Medical Innovation Summit" on Oct. 20, 2004, Lester Crawford, the FDA's acting commissioner, thanked the secretary for getting the agency "deeply involved in the use of new information technology to help prevent medication error." One notable example: "the implantable chips and scanners of the VeriChip system our agency approved last week."joining the company, Thompson received options on 166,667 shares of VeriChip Corp. stock, and options on an additional 100,000 shares of stock from its parent company, according to SEC records. He also received $40,000 in cash in 2005 and again in 2006, the filings show.Project on Government Oversight called Thompson's actions "unacceptable" even though they did not violate what the independent watchdog group calls weak conflict-of-interest laws., who left VeriChip Corp. in March, is a partner at a Washington law firm that was paid $1.2 million for legal services it provided the chip maker in 2005 and 2006, according to SEC filings
Microchip Implants, Mind Control, and Cybernetics
1948 Norbert Weiner published a book, Cybernetics, defined as a neurological communication and control theory alrea