(Léon's photograph has been reproduced with the permission of the owner)
Could a microchip implant like the VeriChip cause cancer? A French Bulldog named Léon was the catalyst for new questions about the safety of RFID implants.
One year ago, Léon's owner contacted me with startling news. She believed that her dog's cancerous tumor and his untimely death might have been caused by a microchip implant.
This was not just idle talk by a grieving dog owner grasping at straws to figure out why she had been robbed of her constant companion. This was a gutsy lady who refused to allow the vet to simply cremate the evidence.
This lady prefers to be known only by her first name of "Jeanne," so the Associated Press couldn't credit her properly as the original source for some of the explosive information in its article "Chip Implants Linked to Animal Tumors," but I have the leeway in this forum to share the behind-the-scenes story.
Jeanne spent a small fortune trying to cure her ailing French bulldog, Léon, after he was diagnosed with cancer in 2004. When medical interventions failed and Léon passed away, she decided to hunt for the reason the fatal tumor in his body was attached to the glass-encapsulated microchip that had been injected into his neck for identification purposes.
Jeanne located a team of researchers in Italy who agreed to test tissue samples from a biopsy of Léon's tumor to determine if the microchip was implicated in his aggressive cancer. They documented their findings in a 2006 paper entitled, “Fibrosarcoma with Typical Features of Postinjection Sarcoma at Site of Microchip Implant in a Dog: Histologic and Immunohistochemical Study.” The full text is available online at: http://www.vetpathology.org/cgi/content/full/43/4/545.
Since Léon's suspicious cancer was not enough evidence to prove microchip implants were a threat, Jeanne decided to search for other proof of a link. She unearthed scholarly animal studies documenting a possible chip-cancer link and posted several of these at the website that she formed as a tribute to Léon:
Jeanne informed us of this research and even faxed us copies of these studies as they were difficult to obtain. Fortunately, my Spychips co-author Dr. Katherine Albrecht had access to the Harvard library and was able to take Jeanne's work further, analyzing additional studies that seemed to support a cancer-microchip link in animals.
Sometime later, AP Reporter Todd Lewan entered the picture, eager for an exclusive. He used his press credentials to gain further information, tie up the story with a perfect, documented bow, and broadcast it to media outlets around the world. He and Katherine tirelessly pursued the truth that you can now find published in the explosive AP story.
I promised Jeanne that Katherine and I would share the whole story, and that Léon would be remembered for his contribution. Here's to you, Jeanne and Léon! I'm so sorry it took tragedy for this information to be brought to light. I applaud your tenacity, bravery, and amazing research skills.
- Liz McIntyre