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The point here is that this drug hasn't been tested for its safety, much less its efficacy. It is still at an early testing stage. The researchers seem to have a reasonable theory for why they believe it will be effective. But molecular biology is complicated and the risk for harmful effects in humans is not trivial.

Ben Goldacre's book Bad Pharma details the serious personal and social costs that come with poor drug trials. Everyone urging the abandonment of caution here seems to assume this new drug already works or, at the very least, the effects of its usage could not be worse than the grim prognosis patients already confront. But that's what proper trials are meant to establish. Snake oil can come in pill form, too. And even with the current precautions, we've ended up with a number of ineffective, expensive, and sometimes deadly drugs on the market.




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