One Man’s Quest to Hack His Own Genes

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A Repost by Antonio Regalado

When Brian Hanley set out to test a gene therapy, he started with himself

When Brian Hanley set out to test a new gene therapy, he needed a subject. So, he started with … himself.

In a plastic surgeon’s office in Davis, California, Hanley had genes, which he had designed himself, injected into his thigh. The hope: they would make his body produce more of a potent hormone that would hopefully increase his strength, stamina, and life span.

Hanley has a PhD in microbiology, but his experiment is independent, unapproved by the FDA, and funded by savings. He claims to be “informed consent personified,” while ethicists argue that “experimenting with yourself is a very, very deep conflict of interest.”

Our own Antonio Regalado met Hanley to find out why he did it, what he thinks his project could prove—and how he prepared for the possibility of something going wrong.

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