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Rants, Raves, Interesting Science & Awful Puns
January 3, 2005

Peter Duesberg Biography

Honesty & Integrity in Science, And Its Reception In The Modern Scientific World

The section on AIDS in Kicking the Sacred Cow relates how I became interested in the issue after meeting molecular cell biologist Peter Duesberg of the University of California at Berkeley, when I was living in California in the early 1980s. Duesberg's fellow biochemist and long-time personal friend Harvey Bialy, also founding scientific editor of the journal Nature Biotechnology, has written an account of cancer and AIDS research centered around Duesberg's story, which provides a comprehensive and entertaining scientific mini-education in itself. Duesberg became known for his pioneering work showing viruses not to be the cause of cancer, earning him California's Outstanding Investigator award, membership to the National Academy of Sciences, and short-listing for a Nobel Prize. Then in the 80s, he published a series of insightful papers questioning the conventional theory of AIDS, which was greeted not by professional respect or objective appraisal of his proposals, but by ridicule, misrepresentation, and attacks by defensive egos and threatened political and commercial interests. When his career had been all but ended by defunding and professional ostracization, intervention by a private philanthropist enabled Duesberg to rebuild a research program in conjunction with partners in Germany. Never to be deterred, his latest work challenges the theory of mutant genes at the cause of cancer that for decades has formed the unquestioned basis of mainstream cancer research. But it is attracting attention, and seems to have begun his restoration to professional respectability. Let's hope to see the process completed rapidly.

Oncogenes, Aneuploidy and AIDS: A Scientific Life and Times of Peter H. Duesberg, by Harvey Bialy, The Institute of Biotechnology of the Autonomous National University of Mexico, 328 pp., ISBN 1-55643-531-2

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