Albert Kligman

Last updated

Albert Montgomery Kligman (March 17, 1916 – February 9, 2010) [1] was an American dermatologist who co-invented Retin-A, the acne medication, with James Fulton in 1969. [2] Kligman performed human experiments on inmates at Holmesburg Prison in Philadelphia, which led to a well-documented scandal years later. The experiments intentionally exposed humans to pathogens and dioxin, and later became a textbook example of unethical experimenting on humans. He and others involved were sued for alleged injuries, but the lawsuit was dismissed due to the statute of limitations expiring. [1]

Contents

Biography

Albert Montgomery Kligman was born in Philadelphia on March 17, 1916, the son of Jewish immigrants. His father, born in Ukraine, was a newspaper distributor; his mother, born in England, was a sales clerk. As a child, he was a Boy Scout, developing a love of plants on scouting trips to the countryside. [3]

With financial support from Simon Greenberg, a major rabbi of the time, he attended Pennsylvania State University, earning a bachelor's degree in 1939. He was captain of the gymnastics team. [4]

He went on to receive a Ph.D. in botany from the University of Pennsylvania in 1942, specializing in the study of fungi. He continued at the University of Pennsylvania, enrolling in its medical school, earning his M.D. in 1947. He chose dermatology as his specialty in order to apply his expertise in fungi.

Upon graduation, he joined the dermatology faculty as an associate, also signing on at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. [4]

Scholarship and inventions

Kligman was a prolific scholar and was known for bringing scientific rigor to a field that, at the time, was lacking it. Kligman wrote numerous papers on run-of-the-mill dermatological conditions such as athlete's foot and dandruff. He also worked at the intersection of cosmetics and medicine. [ citation needed ]

The identification of the use of tretinoin along Dr. James E. Fulton and Dr. Gerd Plewig as a treatment for acne and wrinkles was perhaps their best-known contribution to dermatology. Sold as Retin-A, this innovation earned Kligman significant royalties. He was a generous supporter of the department of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania and donated over $4 million by 1998. [5]

Unethical dermatological experiments

Kligman is best known for having conducted human experiments on prisoners at Holmesburg Prison in Philadelphia. Stemming from early testing of treatments for ringworm, his work there started with an effort to control athlete's foot at the invitation of prison officials. He found the environment fraught with possibilities, and undertook dozens of experiments there for pharmaceutical companies and government agencies. Between 1951 and 1974, Kligman exposed approximately seventy-five prisoners at Holmesburg to high doses of dioxin,[ failed verification ] the contaminant responsible for Agent Orange's toxicity to humans. Dow Chemical paid Kligman $10,000[ failed verification ] to conduct these dioxin experiments. Prisoners were awarded for participation, their primary source of income, in 1959 acquiring in total $73,000 by volunteering to test pills and creams. Little effort was taken to assure the safety of the test subjects, some of whom were intentionally exposed to pathogens causing infections, including herpes, staphylococcus, and athlete's foot. Moreover, Kligman's payment of subjects had other unintended consequences: the economic power gained by subjects was used by some of them to "coerce sexual favors from other inmates". [6]

Kligman's prisoner testing for the government was not limited to dermatology, extending even to the testing of psychoactive drugs for the Department of Defense. [7]

While Kligman maintained that the testing was consistent with scientific and ethical norms of the era, nearly 300 subjects tested while in prison sued him, the University of Pennsylvania, and Johnson & Johnson. The lawsuit was brought because of violations of the Nuremberg Code. Though the suit was dismissed under the statute of limitations, the public reaction to the testing program contributed to the enactment of federal regulations restricting medical studies in prisons. [1] Later commentators, including Senator Ted Kennedy, remarked how, in spite of the sets of ethical principles laid out in the 1947 Nuremberg Code and (much later) the Declaration of Helsinki, the poorer members of society typically bore the brunt of unethical biomedical research; Kligman's research at Holmesburg prison has become a textbook example of such unethical experimenting, [6] [8] [9] [10] [11] and has been denounced as equivalent to "the barbarity and sadism of Auschwitz and Dachau." [12]

Beyond the controversies relating to the testing on prisoners, Kligman was found to have discrepancies in the data underlying his experiments. This led to his research being barred by the Food and Drug Administration for a period. [1]

Personal life

Kligman was married three times. He divorced from his first wife and became a widower from his second. He died of a heart attack in February, 2010, at age 93. He was survived by his third wife. [1]

See also

Related Research Articles

Polychlorinated dibenzodioxins (PCDDs), or simply dioxins, are a group of long-lived polyhalogenated organic compounds that are primarily anthropogenic, and contribute toxic, persistent organic pollution in the environment.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Acne</span> Skin condition characterized by pimples

Acne, also known as acne vulgaris, is a long-term skin condition that occurs when dead skin cells and oil from the skin clog hair follicles. Typical features of the condition include blackheads or whiteheads, pimples, oily skin, and possible scarring. It primarily affects skin with a relatively high number of oil glands, including the face, upper part of the chest, and back. The resulting appearance can lead to lack of confidence, anxiety, reduced self-esteem, and, in extreme cases, depression or thoughts of suicide.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Isotretinoin</span> Medication primarily used to treat severe acne

Isotretinoin, also known as 13-cis-retinoic acid and sold under the brand name Accutane among others, is a medication primarily used to treat severe acne. It is also used to prevent certain skin cancers, and in the treatment of other cancers. It is used to treat harlequin-type ichthyosis, a usually lethal skin disease, and lamellar ichthyosis. It is a retinoid, meaning it is related to vitamin A, and is found in small quantities naturally in the body. Its isomer, tretinoin, is also an acne drug.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tretinoin</span> Medication

Tretinoin, also known as all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA), is a medication used for the treatment of acne and acute promyelocytic leukemia. For acne, it is applied to the skin as a cream, gel or ointment. For leukemia, it is taken by mouth for up to three months. Topical tretinoin is also the most extensively investigated retinoid therapy for photoaging.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chloracne</span> Medical condition

Chloracne is an acne-like eruption of blackheads, cysts, and pustules associated with exposure to certain halogenated aromatic compounds, such as chlorinated dioxins and dibenzofurans. The lesions are most frequently found on the cheeks, behind the ears, in the armpits and groin region.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Benzoyl peroxide</span> Chemical compound with uses in industry and acne treatment

Benzoyl peroxide is a chemical compound (specifically, an organic peroxide) with structural formula (C6H5−C(=O)O−)2, often abbreviated as (BzO)2. In terms of its structure, the molecule can be described as two benzoyl (C6H5−C(=O)−, Bz) groups connected by a peroxide (−O−O−). It is a white granular solid with a faint odour of benzaldehyde, poorly soluble in water but soluble in acetone, ethanol, and many other organic solvents. Benzoyl peroxide is an oxidizer, which is principally used as in the production of polymers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Holmesburg, Philadelphia</span> Neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US

Holmesburg began as a Village within Lower Dublin Township, Pennsylvania. It is now a neighborhood in the Northeast section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Holmesburg was named in Honor of Surveyor General of Pennsylvania Thomas Holme, who was a cartographer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Comedo</span> Medical condition

A comedo is a clogged hair follicle (pore) in the skin. Keratin combines with oil to block the follicle. A comedo can be open (blackhead) or closed by skin (whitehead) and occur with or without acne. The word "comedo" comes from the Latin comedere, meaning "to eat up", and was historically used to describe parasitic worms; in modern medical terminology, it is used to suggest the worm-like appearance of the expressed material.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pimple</span> Type of comedo

A pimple or zit is a kind of comedo that results from excess sebum and dead skin cells getting trapped in the pores of the skin. In its aggravated state, it may evolve into a pustule or papule. Pimples can be treated by acne medications, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatories prescribed by a physician, or various over the counter remedies purchased at a pharmacy.

<i>Acres of Skin</i> 1998 nonfiction book by Allen Hornblum

Acres of Skin: Human Experiments at Holmesburg Prison is a 1998 book by Allen Hornblum. The book documents clinical non-therapeutic medical experiments on prison inmates at Holmesburg Prison in Philadelphia from 1951 to 1974, conducted under the direction of dermatologist Albert Kligman. The title of the book is a reference to Kligman's reaction on seeing hundreds of prisoners when he entered the prison: "All I saw before me were acres of skin" ... "It was like a farmer seeing a fertile field for the first time".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Holmesburg Prison</span> Former detention center in Pennsylvania, United States

Holmesburg Prison, given the nickname "The Terrordome," was a prison operated by the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Department of Prisons (PDP) from 1896 to 1995. The facility is located at 8215 Torresdale Ave in the Holmesburg section of Philadelphia. It was decommissioned in 1995 when it closed. As of today, the structure still stands and is occasionally used for prisoner overflow and work programs.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Unethical human experimentation in the United States</span>

Numerous experiments which are performed on human test subjects in the United States are considered unethical, because they are performed without the knowledge or informed consent of the test subjects. Such tests have been performed throughout American history, but some of them are ongoing. The experiments include the exposure of humans to many chemical and biological weapons, human radiation experiments, injections of toxic and radioactive chemicals, surgical experiments, interrogation and torture experiments, tests which involve mind-altering substances, and a wide variety of other experiments. Many of these tests are performed on children, the sick, and mentally disabled individuals, often under the guise of "medical treatment". In many of the studies, a large portion of the subjects were poor, racial minorities, or prisoners.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Prison healthcare</span> Medical treatment in prisons, jails, and other penal institutions

Prison healthcare is the medical specialty in which healthcare providers care for people in prisons and jails. Prison healthcare is a relatively new specialty that developed alongside the adaption of prisons into modern disciplinary institutions. Enclosed prison populations are particularly vulnerable to infectious diseases, including arthritis, asthma, hypertension, cervical cancer, hepatitis, tuberculosis, AIDS, and HIV, and mental health issues, such as Depression, mania, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. These conditions link prison healthcare to issues of public health, preventive healthcare, and hygiene. Prisoner dependency on provided healthcare raises unique problems in medical ethics.

Dr. James E. Fulton Jr., M.D., was an American dermatologist and medical researcher who co-invented Retin-A, a popular acne medication, in 1969.

Howard I Maibach is an American dermatologist, professor of Dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). His major contributions include seminal work in wound management, and extensive work in patient care, dermatophysiology, dermatophamacology, and dermatotoxicology. In 2013, he was awarded the "Master Dermatologist Award" by the American Academy of Dermatology for his outstanding contributions to the practice and teaching of Dermatology.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Allen M. Hornblum</span> American author

Allen M. Hornblum is an author, journalist and a former criminal justice official and political organizer based in Philadelphia, US. He has written eight non-fiction books running the gamut from organized crime and Soviet espionage to medical ethics and sports. His first book, Acres of Skin, published in 1998, detailed unethical human medical experiments at Holmesburg Prison. The publication of Acres of Skin attracted considerable international media interest. Subsequently, Hornblum wrote Sentenced to Science, a book about the experience of an African American inmate in Holmesburg prison.

Lajos Kemény is a Hungarian dermatologist, venereologist, allergologist, medical researcher, full professor and the Head of the Department of Dermatology and Allergology, the director of the Albert Szent-Györgyi Health Center, Faculty of Medicine, University of Szeged and the Vice-Rector for Science, Research Development and Innovation. He is a notable and respected scientist both in Hungary and around the world.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lucius Duncan Bulkley</span> American physician

Lucius Duncan Bulkley was an American dermatologist and alternative cancer treatment advocate.

Prison plastic surgery is plastic surgery or cosmetic surgery offered and performed to people who are incarcerated, as a means of social rehabilitation. These services were normally provided as part of a larger package of care that may include work training, psychological services, and more. Popular surgeries included rhinoplasties, blepharoplasty, facelifts, scar removal and tattoo removal. These programs began in the early 20th century and were commonplace up till the early 1990s. They took place across the US, the UK, Canada, and Mexico.

William Montagna was an Italian-American biologist, known for his anatomical work in dermatology.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Gellene, Denise (February 22, 2010). "Dr. Albert M. Kligman, Dermatologist, Dies at 93". The New York Times . Retrieved February 22, 2010.
  2. J., Elinor (July 8, 2013). "Dr. James Fulton, co-creator of Retin-A and acne researcher, dies". Miami Herald . Archived from the original on July 27, 2013. Retrieved July 27, 2013.
  3. Loviglio, Joann (February 22, 2010). "Albert M. Kligman, dermatologist who patented Retin-A, dies at 93". The Washington Post . Associated Press . Retrieved February 26, 2010.
  4. 1 2 Naedele, Walter F. (February 21, 2010). "Albert M. Kligman, 93, dermatology researcher". The Philadelphia Inquirer . Retrieved March 9, 2021.
  5. Martino, Joseph Paul (1992). Science funding: politics and porkbarrel . Transaction Publishers. pp.  309. ISBN   978-1-56000-033-4 . Retrieved February 26, 2010.
  6. 1 2 Loue, Sana (2000). Textbook of research ethics: theory and practice. Law and Philosophy Library. Springer. pp. 25–27. ISBN   978-0-306-46448-5 . Retrieved February 27, 2010.
  7. Maugh, Thomas H II (February 24, 2010). "Albert M. Kligman dies at 93; dermatologist developed acne, wrinkle treatments and experimented on prisoners". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved February 26, 2010.
  8. Weyers, Wolfgang (2003). The abuse of man: an illustrated history of dubious medical experimentation . Ardor Scribendi. pp.  450. ISBN   978-1-893357-21-1.
  9. Matulich, Serge; David M. Currie (2008). Handbook of Frauds, Scams, and Swindles: Failures of Ethics in Leadership. CRC Press. p. 144. ISBN   978-1-4200-7285-3 . Retrieved February 26, 2010.
  10. Holdstein, Deborah (2004). Challenging perspectives: reading critically about ethics and values. Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 295. ISBN   978-0-618-21503-4.
  11. Cherulnik, Paul D. (2001). Methods for behavioral research: a systematic approach. Sage Publications. ISBN   978-0-7619-2199-8.
  12. Hornblum, Allen M. (1998). Acres of skin: human experiments at Holmesburg Prison: a story of abuse and exploitation in the name of medical science . Routledge. pp.  38. ISBN   978-0-415-91990-6 . Retrieved February 27, 2010.

https://www.inquirer.com/politics/philadelphia/philadelphia-apology-holmesburg-prison-experiment-albert-kligman-20221006.html