In our early days, Biotics Research operated a clinical laboratory that analyzed blood and urine samples. In fact, Biotics was one of the first laboratories to provide mineral analysis via hair. Most healthcare professionals today recognize the benefit of mineral analysis from hair as a non-invasive test for signs of heavy metal toxicity.
In the late 1970s Biotics Research operated a licensed clinical testing laboratory for genetic toxicology assessment. From a blood sample, white blood cells were cultured and their chromosomes examined under a high-powered photo-microscope. From the examination of the chromosomes, DNA damage could be measured. While this is a very common procedure in clinical and research labs today, in 1979 very few laboratories in the world were engaged in such tests. Biotics Research Corporation was clearly ahead of its time.
Biotics was contracted by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to perform a preliminary study on the residents of Love Canal in upstate New York. The neighborhood was built on a toxic waste site and the residents were having unusually high rates of stillbirths, congenital abnormalities in newborns, as well as other health problems. The residents associated their problems with a toxic waste dump below the community, and we were requested to provide an estimate of genetic damage to the residents in order to determine if extensive studies were necessary.
Serious evidence of genetic damage was identified in a large percentage or residents tested (11 of 36). Unfortunately, this was not the news authorities wanted to hear. Although they tried to refute our findings, ultimately they had to accept the evidence and relocate the residents of Love Canal. Love Canal became a symbol of citizens taking action against toxic chemical pollution, and ultimately lead to the establishment of the EPA Superfund to clean up toxic waste sites.
From Genetic Testing to Interferon
An outgrowth of our genetic testing resulted in the development, production and sale by Biotics Research Corporation, of the first nutritional supplement to supply known, potent levels of interferon.
The ability to culture cells was derived from the genetic toxicology project, and was utilized to raise human fibroblasts (derived from established cell lines B not derived from fetuses). The scientists at Biotics Research believed the use of human cells was essential. In the early 1980s, interferon production was normally accomplished by adding viruses or viral extracts to cell cultures to induce interferon production. Not wanting to handle potentially pathogenic viruses, Biotics scientists devised a method to induce beta-interferon (now renamed interleukin-6) by adding nutrients that were unheard of at the time. Independent assays established the high level of beta-interferon produced by our cell culture methods.
The concept of oral administration of interferon, which was validated in animal experiments by leading veterinarian researchers, was diametrically opposed to the then-recent attempts by cancer researchers to treat human cancer patients with high doses of purified interferon. They were using doses that were over a million fold of what the body normally produces. It is important to note, interferons are produced in minute quantities by the body, yet still exert powerful effects. Interestingly, excessive doses of interferon may not stimulate the immune system significantly, and may actually cause severe side effects.
Oral administration of Biotics interferon has been documented to deliver physiological doses to the most common target tissues: epithelial (mucus) membranes. However, a leading interferon researcher of the time petitioned the FDA to make interferon, an Investigational New Drug. Though the FDA acknowledged that interferon was a normal bodily component (like proteolytic enzymes), we were forbidden by an injunction from continuing to produce or sell oral interferon.