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We'll Do It Ourselves

Scientists have long experimented on themselves — Jonas Salk gave his polio vaccine first to himself, lab researchers, and his family — and some are now seeking to report data from such experiments more widely or even begin a journal of self-experimentation, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Charles Cantor, a retired Boston University professor, tells the Journal that self-experimentation is becoming more common. In the genomics arena, Stanford University's Michael Snyder is known for studying his genomic, transcriptomic, metabolomic, and proteomic data over the course of two years to put together a detailed personal omics profile that revealed he was developing diabetes.

The Personal Genome Project is also a sort of self-experiment, the Journal adds. For that, Harvard Medical School's George Church tested everything he asked participants to do first on himself. That, the WSJ notes, led to him finding another way obtain skin biopsies.

"If you're someone who has the confidence to try this invention on yourself and you get the results you expected, it turns you into a true believer," adds Bob Hariri, a doctor and entrepreneur, who tried his skin-substitute product on himself after suffering a second-degree burn and after developing blisters from working out.