X-Message-Number: 7654
From: Brian Wowk <>
Date: Thu, 6 Feb 1997 01:13:29 -0600
Subject: Ethics

	The following response was prepared in consultation with 
Mike Darwin and Saul Kent.
Bob Ettinger writes:
>Certain people have stated on Cryonet that they know the identity of
>the CPA used by Olga Visser in her rat heart experiments, and other
>details of her procedure.  Siegfried Visser on Cryonet has said that
>there was no ethical or authorized way they could have obtained that
1)      Transmission of information entrusted in confidence is unethical.
	Reception of information is not unethical.  (Indeed, if it were 
	otherwise, every reader of CryoNet would now be "unethical".)  
	No one at 21st Century Medicine has violated any confidences 
	in this matter.  
>Lots of messages
>expressing concern about possible or alleged failure of the Vissers to
>conform to established practice, no concern about the apparent attempted
>theft of the Vissers intellectual property.
2)      This is a very serious allegation, and completely without
	foundation.  21st Century Medicine fully respects the 
	intellectual property of others.  We deliberately avoided
	disclosure of the apparent Visser agent until we were virtually 
	certain the Visser patents had been filed, lest the disclosure 
	endanger protection of any legitimate new process they may have 
3)      Having said the above, we do not acknowledge anyone's right to 
	patent DMF as a *generic* organ preservation agent.  Publications
	concerning its use as a organ preservative (and even potential  
	cryopatient preservative!) go back many years.  However
	we certainly do acknowledge the Vissers' right to patent DMF 
	(or any other organic molecule) in the context of a novel 
	cryopreservation process.  If the Vissers indeed have such a 
	process, and it has merit, then we acknowledge their moral and 
	legal right to it.  Indeed, *the law demands that we do* 
	regardless of any prior work we or others have done with DMF.
>In one case in a private exchange with one of the parties involved
>ADMITTED investigating the Visser CPA, after receiving (allegedly
>unsolicited) illicit information about it. 
4)      As Bob knows, this same party made clear that DMF was
	also investigated BEFORE any clues about the Visser method
	came to light.  There is nothing unethical about doing
	and disclosing research concerning putative cryoprotectants, 
	be they old cryoprotectants, new cryoprotectants, or
	rumored cryoprotectants.   
>This person claimed that the
>investigation was not encouraging as to the value of the Visser CPA, 
>and the investigation was dropped. Apparently we are to believe that, 
>if the work had proven encouraging, no attempt would have been made to 
>profit from the head start.
5)      It is not appropriate to impugn character on the basis of 
	speculated actions.   
Brian Wowk          CryoCare Foundation               1-800-TOP-CARE
President           Human Cryopreservation Services   

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