Date: 5 Feb 2000 14:56:12 U
From: Laurel Hopwood email@example.com
John Stossel, Dennis Avery, CAST are examples of the pimps representing the takeover by Corporate America. There's a war going on and we're on the front lines.
Please keep in mind that their strategy is the 4 Ds:
Whatever we do, we must stay united. Even though all of us activists may be on different paths, we have the same goal.
I hope we can all keep in mind that we need to stay centered and not let them divide us, or we'll lose our power.
Date: 5 Feb 2000 18:16:50 U
From: Robert Mann firstname.lastname@example.org
At 3:47 PM -0500 00/2/5, Laurel Hopwood wrote:
Please keep in mind that their strategy is the 4 Ds:
- Divide the activists
- Discredit the scientists
- Deny there's a problem
- Delay and ask for more science
Whatever we do, we must stay united. Even though all of us activists may be on different paths, we have the same goal.
Right, as us Berkeley folks took to saying in the late 1960s, on.
To take a particular example of potential unnecessary internal conflict, Jon recently mentioned that USA media might take up the theme of opposing militant homosexuality.
The superficial immediate response is that such a scenario is highly implausible - tolerating if not promoting hx & lesbian causes is lately a rather obvious crusade by many media.
But much more important is that the mention of this other contentious issue could do no good to the cause for which this list exists. I refrained from commenting at the time, because I wished that this irrelevant topic be not a subject for argument here - it should simply be left aside.
But now I do want to reinforce Laurel's utterly correct principles by asking that listees not introduce controversies on which we are almost certainly divided. Unity against GEF can only be impeded by such gratuitous irrelevant topics.
Robt Mann, consultant ecologist
P O Box 28878 Remuera, Auckland 1005, New Zealand (9) 524 2949
Date: 5 Feb 2000 19:13:18 U
From: Laurel Hopwood email@example.com
by Dr. Michael W. Fox, Senior Scholar/Bioethics
The Humane Society of the United States
2100 L Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037
Postscript For Concerned Scientists
Potential Biohazards of GE Products
Monsanto's Roundup Ready genetically engineered (GE) soybeans have been found to produce lower yields than conventional beans, and farmers are using more Roundup herbicide to deal with weed resistance. (See: Benbrook, C. 1999. Evidence of the Magnitude and Consequences of the Roundup Ready Soybean Yield Drag from University-Based Varietal Trials in 1998. (RR yield drag 98.pdf.) Ag BioTech InfoNet website at:[ http://www.biotech-info.net].
The claim that the agribiotechnology life science industry makes stating that by making conventional "production" agriculture more efficient, biodiversity can be protected and endangered species saved, is questionable. There is increasing scientific evidence to the contrary, which is why Great Britain is leading the European Economic Community (EEC) to put agricultural biotechnology on hold until more is known about the risks and benefits of GE crops, foods, and food additives and supplements (enzymes, vitamins, etc.); to more carefully monitor and effectively regulate agribiotechnology; and to apply the precautionary principle to this new technology.
According to the US Grocery Manufacturers' Association, Aabout 25 percent of corn, 38 percent of soybeans (other informed sources estimate 50 percent), 35 percent of canola, and 45 percent of cotton crops are derived from biotechnology (San Francisco Examiner, July 11, 1999). At the 12th (1999) annual Scientific Conference of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), more than 600 delegates from over 60 countries voted unanimously for a declaration against the use of genetically modified organisms in food production and agriculture. The delegates called on governments and regulatory agencies throughout the world to immediately ban the use of genetic engineering in agriculture and food production since it involves:
To regard many genetically engineered (GE) crops and supplements, foods, food additives, beverages and certain cosmetics, as being adulterated or contaminated, and even potentially toxic, and therefore posing potential risks to human and other consumers (including insects, birds, and wild and domesticated mammals) and to the environment is not unreasonable considering the following scientifically documented findings:
Genetic alterations in crops like soybeans to make them resistant to herbicides may result in unpredictable, unnatural genetic recombinations and change the biochemistry and nutritive value. Higher levels of phyto estrogens are produced in beans grown in the presence of the herbicide glyphosate, which may be of particular risk to children (23). Food residues of this herbicide now widely used on transgenic crops, may increase the incidence of certain types of cancer. (24) Genetically modified herbicide tolerant soybeans have lower levels (12-14 percent) of beneficial phytoestrogens compared to conventional beans grown under similar conditions. (25)
Furthermore, xenobiotics, especially dioxins and various agrichemicals, can act as mutagens (33), altering the structure and sequence of DNA and also increasing the permeability of cells and the incorporation of foreign DNA into living organisms.
The US agri-biotechnology food industry insists that between the FDA, EPA and USDA, a food safety regulatory system has been set up to protect consumers that is the best in the world. The death of 27 people and illness and chronic disability of several thousand more who consumed a genetically engineered form of L-tryptophan in 1989 (38) is countered by unsubstantiated claims of subsequent improved regulatory procedures.
Similarly the advocates of agri-biotechnology crops and foods point to the early identification, by scientists, of a brazil nut allergen, potentially lethal for some people, in transgenic soybeans that were never marketed because of these findings. (39) But this gives us no assurance that other novel, untested substances in GE foods are safe for all consumers. Dr. Suzanne Wuerthele, EPA risk assessor, states, AIt took us 60 years to realize that DDT might have oestrogenic activities and affect humans, but we are now being asked to believe that everything is ok with GM foods because we haven't seen any dead bodies yet. (40)
Foreign DNA and RNA in GE foods may cause not only new allergies, but also impair immune function and trigger or aggravate autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and glomerunephrosis (kidney disease). (41)
We fear radioactive plutonium, which has a half-life of forty thousand years, so we cannot ignore the risks of transgenic organisms and recombinant DNA that may have a half-life of forty million years. Biochemist and a father of molecular biology, Prof. Erwin Chargoff, writes, AScience has transgressed a barrier that should have remained inviolate...You cannot recall a new life form...It will survive you and your children and your children's children. An irreversible attack on the biosophere is something so unheard of, so unthinkable to previous generations, that I could only wish that mine had not been guilty of it. (42)
The new technology of genetic engineering that is being developed by the life science industry is cause for concern because it is taking us beyond evolution and natural law. The rates of genetic mutation/recombination, and exchange between widely different species (like plants and insects, fish and fruit, and pigs and people) are being rapidly accelerated for purely commercial purposes, as the reproductive boundaries that help preserve species' integrity, health and vitality, as well as ecological balance, are disregarded.
The end result could well be a chaotic genetic apocalypse, the only beneficiary of which will be its creator, called to heal and feed us all: the life science industry. The genetic integrity of individuals, species, communities and the future of all life on Earth now hang in the balance of our final choice and perception: And that is between reverence and exploitation.
A World Scientists' Statement launched in Cartegena, Columbia, during the UN Convention of Biological Diversity Conference on the International Biosafety Protocol, calls on all governments to: Impose an immediate moratorium on further environmental releases of transgenic crops, food and animal-feed products for at least 5 years.
Ban patents on living organisms, cell lines and genes.
Support a comprehensive, independent public enquiry into the future of agriculture and food security for all, taking account of the full range of scientific findings as well as socioeconomic and ethical implications. Sign on at website: [www.i-sis.dircon.co.uk]
Research by the Scottish Crop Research Institute reported at the Gene Flow in Agriculture: Relevance for Transgenic Crops Conference, Keele University, April 1999 (British Crop Protection Council Symposium Proceedings No. 72) reported oilseed rape pollen in beehives at 4.5 km (2.8 miles) from a field of oilseed rape.
Bacteria in the human mouth may be able to take up DNA from transgenic foods such as antibiotic resistance marker genes and novel DNA constructs involving viral enhancers/promoters. D. K. Mercer, et al. (1999) Fate of free DNA and transformation of the oral bacterium Streptococcus gordonii DL1 by plasmid DNA in human saliva. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 65:6-10.
Using GM crops as animal feed may pose risks since processing may not eliminate the risk of transmission of transgenes in the gut of farm animals (DNA was found to be completely stable in silage). J. M. Forbes, et al. (1998) Effect of feed processing conditions on DNA fragmentation. Section 5, Scientific Report. London: UK Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food.
Fragments of naked DNA even as small as 25bp can stimulate autoimmune reactions, which poses a serious risk for certain gene therapies, naked DNA vaccines, and GM foods. K. Suzuki, et al. (1999) Activation of target-tissue immune-recognition molecules by double-stranded polynucleotides. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 96:2285-90.
Genetic material can be exchanged between bacteria and viruses to create new pathogens, a phenomenon that may be accelerated by genetic engineering. M. W. Ho, et al. (1998) Gene technology and gene ecology of infectious diseases. Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease 10:33-59. See also: W. J. Martin (1999) Bacteria-related sequences in a simian cytomegalovirus-derived stealth virus culture. Experimental and Molecular Pathology 66:8-14.
The herbicide glufosinate may be linked with the development of human birth defects in fathers exposed to this and other agripoisons. A. Garcia, et al. (1998) Paternal exposure to pesticides and congenital malformations. Scand J Work Environ Health 24:473-80.
Genetically engineered microorganisms can persist in certain soils and cause changes in soil biota that may harm nutrient cycling process and plant growth. M. T. Holmes, et al. (1999) Effects of Klebsiella planticola SDF20 on soil biota and wheat growth in sandy soil. Applied Soil Ecology 11:67-78.
The possibility that a plant vector in common use in some GM plants can affect the mucosa of the gastrointestinal tract and exert powerful biological effects may also apply to GM plants containing similar constructs, particularly those containing lectins, such as soya beans or any plants expressing lectin genes or transgenes. S.W.B. Ewen and A. Pusztai (1999) Effect of diets containing genetically modified potatoes expressing Galanthus nivalis lectin on rat small intestine. Lancet 354:1353-54.
Lectins disrupt the immune system and cell development, and have been shown to bind to human white blood cells which play a vital role in immune system function. B. Fenton, et al. (1999) Differential binding of insecticidal lectin GNA to human blood cells. Lancet 354:1354-55.
Monsanto's GE soybeans have a 26.7 percent increase in a major allergen called trypsin inhibitor. This is a growth inhibitor, and rats fed Monsanto's soy had their growth rates inhibited. The 50 percent rise between 1998 and 1999 of the British public becoming allergic to soy products correlates with the import of GE soybeans from the US. Mark Varey, York Nutritional Laboratories, UK (personal communication to Mae-Wan Ho, ISIS news update, December 1999).
GE crops may be more vulnerable than conventional crop varieties to climatic extremes. B. Vencill, following up on GE soybean producers in Georgia having poor yields after a hot summer, found that Monsanto's Roundup Ready soybeans had lower heights, yields and weights, and that their stems split more easily, allowing for secondary fungal infection. B. Vencill. 1999. Splitting headache: Monsanto's modified soybeans are cracking up in the heat. New Scientist, Nov. 20. p.25.
Advocates of Bt corn say the corn is safer for consumers and livestock because there's less risk of aflatoxin poisoning that is more common in non GE corn because of greater corn borer infestation that encourages aflatoxin and other fungal invasions of pest-damaged corn. But the conservation practice of no-till farming, which leaves much crop residue on the soil surface, provides the ideal substrate for these fungi to proliferate and contaminate future crops. Corn, often rotated with soybeans the next season, are the main crops that consume most of industrial agriculture's acreage.
These vast monocrops from millions of identical acres, devoid of wildlife, biodiversity and viable human community, are still rationalized by government and some members of academia, because these publicly subsidized biomass commodity crops are so profitable to the livestock feed and processed human and pet food industries. (So consumers are advised to avoid processed foods and meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products from animals fed GE crops and by-products. Most of industrial agriculture's agribusiness acres do not feed people directly with whole foods and what whole foods that they do purchase are not even organic, but come from pesticide contaminated, nutrient-deficient soils and crops.
Further concerns over the adverse ecological impact of Bt corn have been raised by D. Saxena, et al. A surprising and unexpected finding was that the Bt toxin leaks from the corn plant roots into the soil, where it remains and is not easily broken down. This will disrupt nutrient cycling as soil microorganisms are harmed; impair microbial biocontrol of plant diseases and possibly affect the corn plant's immune system. D. Saxena, S. Flores, and G. Stotsky. 1999. Insecticidal toxin in root exudates from Bt corn. Nature 402:480.
An Iowa State University survey done in 1998 showed that farmers who planted GE soybeans, according to M. A. Edelman and B. L. Finchbaugh, had no significant yield difference from conventional soy producers. Higher yields but higher costs were found with Bt corn, with net returns to land and labor being virtually identical to non GE corn. Farm Journal, November 1999.
Mae-Wan Ho, et al., have raised the issue of the inherent risks of all transgenic crops containing the Cauliflower Mosaic Virus (CaMV35S) or similar promoters that are recombinogenic. The use of the Cauliflower Mosaic Viral promoter (CaMV) has the potential to reactivate dormant viruses or create new viruses in all species to which it is transferred. CaMV is known to be found in practically all current transgenic crops released commercially or undergoing field trials. This transgenic instability increases the possibility of promotion of an inappropriate over-expression
Date: 5 Feb 2000 19:32:35 U
From: Laurel Hopwood firstname.lastname@example.org
I received this info from a fellow activist:
Date: 5 Feb 2000 23:36:50 U
Perhaps we can't turn this list into a Natural Law Party sounding board, but there is something every member must know.
Maynard Clark is right. If we want life to continue on our planet, it is essential that the Natural Law Party succeeds in this next election. NLP has already made great strides in fighting the battle against all forms of genetic engineering, and they have united with scientists, anti-GM organizations, and environmental groups world-wide. They are now running for office in 80 countries. NLP's presidential candidate, Dr. John Hagelin, intends to enact a moratorium on all genetic engineering of crops. All of our campaigning against GM is important, but it is too slow. The Natural Law Party can educate the public about the GM catastrophe overnight.
What's more, we stand on the threshold of victory in the next election to bring a revolution in our government. The Natural Law Party has a good chance of winning the presidency and 2,000 seats in all levels of government.
Whatever your predilections for stopping this world slaughter let's face it it is an attempt to turn back the tide with a teacup. Time is running out. Genetic Engineering Must Be Made Illegal. All GM patents must be revoked.
Everyone on this list should consider running for office. The idea of voting always disgusted me. I have never voted in my life, and I swore that I never would. But when I found the Natural Law Party, I applied to run for Senator in Tennessee. I am presently running the campaign for four states in the South.
NLP accepts no PAC money and no soft money contributions. They owe industry nothing. Finally we can have clean government. And lest you think there is a Republicrat who wants to turn this industry around, I suggest you go to www.publicintegrity.org and see how much money the other candidates ALL of them are being paid by the GM industry. They are all corrupt. Corporations don't want a third party. The whole system must be changed, and it must start now with the campaigns. The Natural Law Party has made huge strides in their campaign even without corporate money. That's evidence of the fire blazing in this country for this new party.
I urge every member of Ban-GEF to get involved with NLP in some way, and even consider running for office. It's not that difficult, and you don't have to be a politician. NLP is made up of concerned citizens like you and me. If you want to have a voice and educate the public, there is no more powerful way to do that than to walk into a radio or tv station as a candidate for office and instantly speak to hundreds of thousands of people. That is far greater power than we will ever have on the internet, in letter writing campaigns, or petitions which, so far as I am concerned, have been almost insignificant in the face of the corporate monsters.
John Hagelin is a quantum physicist who has won awards for his humanitarian work and has written the most successful Grand Unified Field Theory. He intends to unite all the third parties into a coalition party and take the media by storm, already having defeated Pat Buchanan and Donald Trump in the straw poll in Iowa. He is now touring to appear in all 50 states. NLP has already met all the qualifications to allow John Hagelin in the next presidential debate as an NLP candidate.
Only 39 percent of voters went to the polls in the last election, the smallest voter turnout in history. Most of America already wants a viable third party. That party is here now. This is by far the most effective means to eliminate the great threat to life on our planet.
And there is much, much more to the Natural Law Party than the fight against genetic engineering. To find out their scientifically proven, preventive methods, see their websites at
Date: 6 Feb 2000 07:11:51 U
From: Colleen Robison email@example.com
By Justin Gillis, Washington Post Staff Writer , Sunday, February 6, 2000; Page H01
Over the past year, as their counterparts in Europe have given in to consumer fears and pulled food products containing gene-altered ingredients off the shelves, major U.S. grocery chains and food producers have presented a united front. There is no evidence that such products are unsafe to eat, the companies said, and no sign that American consumers are worried. And, they argued, safeguards are in place to make sure genetically modified crops don't harm the environment. The only major U.S. companies to break ranks with this position were baby-food producers, a special case.
Until now, that is. Many in the industry were caught by surprise when Frito-Lay Inc. of Plano, Tex., asked farmers not to sell it genetically modified corn for use in Fritos corn chips or Doritos tortilla chips.
"If you're one of Frito's competitors, you're saying, 'What are [they] up to?'" said an executive at a company that competes with Frito-Lay, insisting on anonymity. "Are they getting ready to jump out from behind a bush and bash us with a label" boasting that Frito products are free of genetically modified ingredients?
No, Frito-Lay says, insisting it is merely being cautious. But the company's move in late January plainly rattled its competitors.
Industry insiders say there is pressure on executives to hold the pro-biotechnology line, in part because many companies see genetic engineering as a key to future products that lower cholesterol, boost immunity or offer other health gains. The companies get few direct benefits now from gene-altered crops the benefits go to farmers and seed producers -- but with an eye to future profits, the food companies seem to want to encourage the growth of agricultural biotechnology.
Frito-Lay, a unit of PepsiCo Inc. of Purchase, N.Y., was detecting "confusion" among consumers who called its help lines asking about gene-altered ingredients, spokeswoman Lynn Markley said. Moreover, she noted, the Food and Drug Administration, which has cleared genetically altered crops as safe to eat, is now studying the issue anew.
Mandatory labeling of foods containing gene-altered ingredients is one option on the table. If the FDA took that step, companies would be likely to rush to reformulate their products to avoid the label and Frito-Lay would have a head start.
"Because we're a consumer products company, we're stepping back, sitting on the sidelines and waiting and watching," Markley said. "It's a prudent step in which we are waiting to see where the FDA and the industry goes."
More companies are likely to have to deal with the question in coming months. Some shareholder groups are pushing large food companies to put the use of genetically altered ingredients to a vote in annual meetings beginning this spring. The way securities rules are written, most companies will probably succeed in keeping such measures off their meeting agendas, but the mere act of squelching dissident investors will force executives to grapple with the issue.
The environmental group Greenpeace, one of the key players in European protests over engineered food, recently staged a campy bit of street theater in downtown Battle Creek, Mich., across the street from the company that has supplied Frosted Flakes and Rice Krispies to generations of American children. A group of activists stood near the Kellogg Co. and unfurled banners decrying Kellogg's "monstrous experiment" on consumers. A costumed character based on Tony the Tiger but with pale green skin, beady eyes, Frankenstein features and an evil grin offered up nasty-looking green flakes dubbed "Frankenfood."
Kellogg, a prime target for the activists because of its status as one of the most trusted American brands, politely brushed off the November protest and hasn't budged since. Until Frito-Lay, baby-food makers were the only big U.S. food processors that had sworn off gene-altered ingredients, responding to the unique concerns that attend their products. It was no big leap for them as a rule, they already leave out the preservatives, emulsifiers, oils and other additives common in processed food. A host of smaller companies, notably those that sell organically grown food, have also pledged to avoid gene-altered crops.
The nascent American activism over genetic engineering remains a pale shadow of its European counterpart. In large parts of Europe, activists have pushed through labeling laws, brought grocery chains and food producers to their knees, and forced products known to contain gene-altered ingredients off the market.
Still, American companies many of which operate in Europe and have already had to respond to the concern there are watching closely to see if the issue takes hold on this side of the Atlantic. Unbeknownst to most consumers, the majority of prepared foods on American grocery shelves today contain ingredients from genetically modified crops, including lecithin from soybeans and sweetener from corn.
Activist groups are betting that as awareness spreads, more Americans will become concerned. The nation's major food-products companies say, on the other hand, that they are seeing little evidence of a consumer revolt just a smattering of phone calls among the millions they answer every year. They decry the "Frankenfood" protests as baseless.
Betty Crocker, her keepers insist, is not serving up poison in her cake mixes.
"If we thought the products were unsafe, we wouldn't sell them," said Austin Sullivan, a spokesman for General Mills Inc. of Minneapolis, owner of the venerable Betty Crocker trademark. "We are not in the business of injuring our customers."
Markley noted it was easier for Frito-Lay to impose restrictions than it would be for many other companies. Most of the company's corn which represents just one-quarter of 1 percent of all corn grown in the United States is produced under contract by farmers who have established relationships with Frito-Lay. Many other companies, by contrast, buy their grains on the open market.
Despite this advantage, Frito-Lay does buy some ingredients in bulk, including oils, that could derive from genetically modified crops. Despite its best efforts, Markley said, the company won't be able to guarantee that no modified ingredients have made their way into its products. That is one reason Frito has no plans to base a marketing campaign on its new policy.
At least 10 food crops containing genetic alterations, from papayas to potatoes to squash, have been approved for sale in the United States. But most of the fighting to date has focused on two. A third of the American corn group is now grown with seeds that have been genetically modified; one common alteration causes the plants to produce a protein poisonous to crop-destroying worms (but not to mammals). And more than half the soybean crop has genetic alterations, including one that allows farmers to douse it with a weed killer called Roundup.
The modified crops obviously find their way into products containing whole corn or soybeans, but ingredients refined from the crops get a far wider distribution than that. Corn is the source of a sweetener, high-fructose corn syrup, that is used in colas, candies and thousands of other products. Ingredients from soybeans notably lecithin, used to improve texture make their way into a majority of the packaged foods sold in this country.
Environmental activists, despite the "Frankenfood" banners, concede that there is no evidence that gene-altered food could cause health problems, while insisting that such evidence could emerge years or decades from now.
Their immediate concern is the effects of planting millions of acres of altered crops. They fear the ecology will be disturbed in unpredictable ways, and they want long-range testing to guard against the possibility before the crops are released.
Pressure on food companies is simply a tactic, some activists acknowledge, to try to cut down on the planting of altered crops.
Charles Margulis, genetic-engineering specialist for Greenpeace USA in Washington, believes the Frito-Lay decision is an important crack in the wall of industry resistance. Greenpeace played no direct role in persuading Frito-Lay, but it was gratified by the announcement.
"I think it's absolutely the beginning of a trend," Margulis said.
© 2000 The Washington Post Company
Date: 7 Feb 2000 07:02:03 U
From: Colleen Robison firstname.lastname@example.org
By Guy Gugliotta, Washington Post Staff Writer, Monday, February 7, 2000; Page A07
Biochemist Donald W. Landry took up the cocaine challenge at the height of the crack epidemic, after he heard then-President George Bush ask in a speech whether science might be able to devise a vaccine that could somehow render addictive drugs harmless.
A decade later, he may have done it. Using methods seldom applied in drug abuse research, he built a "catalytic antibody" that eats cocaine in a lab rat's bloodstream the way Pac-Man gobbles bad guys in a computer maze.
And this spring, the Gaithersburg biotech company MedImmune Inc. will join forces with him to refine his technique to make an antibody strong enough to treat cocaine abuse in humans.
Landry may not have found the "magic bullet" in the war on drugs, but he appears to be as close as anyone. "If he is successful," said Frank Vocci, director of treatment research and development at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, "he would actually have an antibody able to reduce cocaine to an inactive substance as fast as people put it into their bodies."
Success is by no means assured. Scott Koenig, MedImmune's senior vice president for research, said that while Landry "has shown conceptually that it can work," the antibody does not yet function rapidly or efficiently enough to be used in humans.
Koenig said that MedImmune, by engineering and testing thousands of variants of Landry's antibody, as well as new candidates, expects to show whether the technique can be commercially viable.
"We have no way of knowing," Koenig said. "But we'll have an answer in 2000." Once proven, however, the treatment would still require some years of clinical evaluation before it could reach the market, he said.
The potential is enormous. The President's Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), which has given Landry $2.8 million in research grants since 1994, estimates that there are 5.2 million users of cocaine and its derivatives in the United States, and 3.3 million addicts.
Americans spend $39 billion per year on cocaine, and cocaine's "social cost" in law enforcement, prisons, rehabilitation, lost wages, medical care and family violence is another $66 billion, ONDCP estimates.
Landry's and MedImmune's goal is to create an antibody that will mop up any cocaine that might be in a person's bloodstream for about a month. Add boosters so the person goes four or five months without a reinforcing high, and the craving goes away.
"And when that happens, rates of abstinence go way up," Landry said, citing studies he said showed that heroin treatment with both methadone and counseling produced abstinence rates of 60 percent to 80 percent, compared with 10 percent to 30 percent for programs relying on counseling alone.
Still, he cautioned, while the antibody effectively "vaccinates" a person against cocaine for a month, it is not a "vaccine" that causes a person's body to become permanently immune.
Also, "a vaccine is different for something you want than for something you don't want," said Alan I. Leshner, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. "People want cocaine," and they can always wait for the vaccine to wear off.
When Landry, a biochemist at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, began his research, the development of catalytic antibodies was in its infancy.
Unlike natural antibodies, which are formed within the human body and neutralize foreign substances by binding to them, a catalytic antibody is created artificially in the lab and injected into the bloodstream.
Outside the host, scientists are able to engineer the antibody so that it will not only bind to a foreign substance, but will encourage, or "catalyze," a chemical reaction that will cause the substance to break up.
Cocaine is a particularly good target for such a technique, Landry explained, because its molecules could be cleaved easily to produce two harmless chemicals. A catalytic antibody that encouraged this cleavage reaction would, in effect, kill cocaine.
First, Landry's team built a synthetic "analogue" that mimicked the molecular structure of cocaine as it breaks apart. They injected it as a foreign substance into lab mice, which created natural antibodies to counter it.
Then they removed the mice's spleens, isolated the cells that produced the antibodies and cultured them individually. Some of the cells produced catalytic antibodies that would, in theory, search out cocaine molecules, induce them to change chemically and break apart, then move on in search of a new binding partner the Pac-Man effect.
This suggested that unlike conventional vaccines, which could be overwhelmed by an abuser who exhausts the supply of antibodies by taking more and more cocaine, the catalytic antibody binds and kills again and again. "It is not one-to-one," Landry said.
For this reason, although some conventional cocaine vaccines have reached clinical trials, they can all be surmounted, Vocci said. These will likely be used to blunt the initial "rush" when an abstainer falls off the wagon.
Landry's initial report on his research in 1993 suggested that the antibodies would not only repeatedly bind and neutralize cocaine, but theoretically could do it so fast that the cocaine would be broken up before it reached the brain.
This was a marked difference from the battle plan embodied in methadone and other "blockers" that screen a drug's effects by cementing themselves to the same pleasure receptors in the brain that the drug stimulates. Instead, Landry's antibodies would intercept the cocaine before it could get into these neurological pathways.
In 1998, he showed that this was possible. In the first "overdose" experiment, Landry's team injected rats with lab-created catalytic antibodies, then gave them enough cocaine to kill them. The rats didn't die.
In the second "addiction" experiment, the team trained rats to push a lever to receive a dose of cocaine. When salt water was substituted, the rats pushed the lever a few times, but soon lost interest.
Then the team injected the rats with antibodies and tried to dose them with cocaine again. The rats tried the mixture, then ignored it, as if it were salt water.
Nevertheless, Landry said, "everything we've accomplished so far is merely proof of principle." Indeed, both Landry and MedImmune agree that Landry's best-performing antibody binds to individual molecules much too sluggishly and doesn't change targets fast enough.
The antibody also probably needs to be "humanized," so a patient's body will not attack it by making an antibody for the antibody. MedImmune will try to do all this by testing many sample antibodies both Landry's and others made by MedImmune and "tweaking" them to enhance performance.
"I don't want to say it's a no-brainer," said MedImmune's Koenig. "It's challenging, but we have the experience to give it a good shot. If it can be done, we'll do it."
© Copyright 2000 The Washington Post Company
Date: 7 Feb 2000 14:25:06 U
From: Robert Mann email@example.com
Our excellent Jim posted (next article)
GM watch Source: The Herald
GM foods will be a reality on the shelves by 2010, says Clive Beddall, editor of the Grocer magazine. David Aaron, US under- secretary for commerce, thinks likewise. Speaking at a conference (Biotechnology: the Science and the Impact) in the Hague he suggested that last century the new food was the tomato, "this century it is biotech food".
Just in case anyone hasn't noticed, this is a particularly simple, blatant example of a propaganda method which should be denounced at every opportunity.
Beddall and Aaron know full well that GM foods are already a 'reality on the shelves'. Indeed, it is commonly claimed that a large fraction of supermarket foods already on the shelves contain (not the same as ARE) GM. And some whole foods, such as Monsanto NuLeaf(r) potatoes, are well known to be in commerce now.
To talk about such things as if they were no more than future reality is deliberate deceit by these operatives. It is, indeed, so obvious that we might wonder why they bother. The answer is presumably that they are counting on the ignorance in which the general public still labour owing to the failure of the media to inform them on the present extent of GMF.
Mulgoon Professor emeritus of Environmental Studies, U of Auckland consultant stirrer & motorcyclist
P O Box 28878, Remuera, Auckland 1005, New Zealand (9) 524 2949
Date: 7 Feb 2000 02:26:48 U
Source: The Herald
GM foods will be a reality on the shelves by 2010, says Clive Beddall, editor of the Grocer magazine. David Aaron, US under- secretary for commerce, thinks likewise. Speaking at a conference (Biotechnology: the Science and the Impact) in the Hague he suggested that last century the new food was the tomato, "this century it is biotech food". Let's get real, they argue. We do not have time to indulge in misconceptions and scares. A billion people are starving.
The UN has pledged to halve this number by 2015 and there is only one way to do it: with GM foods. A rice enhanced with vitamin A (known as "golden rice"), which has been in the GM development pipeline for around 12 years, is on offer at the moment. Other ideas include improving the quality of crops so that the stems which are eaten by animals are more nutritious, thus boosting livestock quality.
Chris Somerville of Stanford University told delegates: "If we want to make a breakthrough we are going to have to develop a lot more products like golden rice and do it a lot more quickly than we are at present." Those who disagree with this argument include some from the starving areas of the world such as Tewolde Egiziabher, who was a member of the Ethiopian delegation: "There are still hungry people in Ethiopia, but they are hungry because they have no money, no longer because there is no food to buy. We strongly resent the abuse of our poverty to sway the interests of the European public."
Another argument against the adoption of GM crops in Third World countries is biodiversity. There are more than 17,000 different varieties of rice, each suited to its area of cultivation. Abandoning the range of existing varieties for uniform GM crops with special features, such as drought-resistance or improved food value, would mean risking devastation if GM crops failed. It would also make the farmers dependent on imported seeds.
And as Malcolm Walker, chairman of Iceland - the first multiple to take a stand on GMOs - points out: "The biotec companies promote GM foods as a way of saving the world . . . All that, to me, is the most disgraceful and cynical marketing . . . Biotec companies are simply manufacturing companies with a new product they're trying to flog."