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Lawsuit Claims HomeAgain® Pet Chip Causes Cancer

Updated on November 12, 2010

Bulkin, a mixed-breed cat, received a HomeAgain® microchip for identification. A veterinarian removed a lump found at the implant site two years later. According to the website Chip Me Not, lab tests identified the lump as moderate grade fibrosarcoma (cancerous tumor). The lab found the chip embedded within the tumor. Bulkin survived the cancer after undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.

Andrea Rutherford filed a lawsuit against the chip’s manufacturer, Merk Sharp & Dohme Corp., and Digital Angel, Inc., claiming the microchip caused the cancer. Schering-Plough Corporation, the chip’s developer merged with Merk in 2009. Rutherford filed the suit, Case Number 1052CV1147, in the Trial Court of Massachusetts District Court Department, Cambridge Division on October 4, 2010. Attorney Steven M. Wise of Coral Springs, Florida, represents Rutherford.

According to the suit, Dr. Michelle Silver of the New England Veterinary Oncology Group determined the microchip likely caused the cancer. Silver performed the cancer treatments.

"Given the preliminary animal data, it looks to me that there's definitely cause for concern." - Dr. Robert Benezra

In the suit, Rutherford claims she “expended veterinary expenses for diagnosing, excising and treating the cancer and will be required to spend more money to diagnose and treat any recurrence of the cancer.” The filing lists $10,000 in expenditures thus far. Rutherford asked for “reasonable compensatory damages and interest” and a trial by jury.

Dr. Katherine Albrecht, a consumer advocate and expert on implantable microchip reactions, says her group has seen “an alarming number of microchip-linked cancers.”

In a peer-reviewed academic paper entitled, “Microchip-Induced Tumors in Laboratory Rodents and Dogs: A Review of the Literature 1990-2006," Albrecht cited six studies published in toxicology and pathology journals between 1996 and 2006 in which “researchers found a casual link between implanted microchip transponders and cancer.”

According to the paper, “In almost all cases, the tumors arose at the site of the implants and grew to surround and fully encase the devices. In several cases the tumors also metastasized or spread to other parts of the animals.”

The paper entitled, “Subcutaneous Soft Tissue Tumours at the Site of Implanted Microchips in Mice” stated, “The neoplasms induced in the present investigation are clearly due to the implanted microchips.”

Concerns about the microchip-cancer link have extended into the human realm. Many Alzheimers patients have the chips implanted so they can be located if they wander off. Some corporations use the chips for security.

"There's no way in the world, having read this information, that I would have one of those chips implanted in my skin, or in one of my family members," said Dr. Robert Benezra, head of the Cancer Biology Genetics Program at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York told the Associated Press. He added, "Given the preliminary animal data, it looks to me that there's definitely cause for concern."

Albrecht presented her paper at a June conference of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers devoted to concerns about implantable microchips.

According to its website, Albrecht’s consumer group CASPIAN designed Chip Me Not to raise awareness of the plight of animals who have developed cancer and other adverse reactions from ID microchips.

Off-line Reference

Subcutaneous soft tissue tumours at the site of implanted microchips in mice; Experimental and Toxicologic Pathology, Volume 49, Pages 197-200, 1997; T. Tillmann, K. Kamino, C. Dasenbrock, H. ernst, M. Kohler, G. Moraweitz, E. Campo, A. Cardesa, L. Tomatis, and U. Mohr


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    • Brinafr3sh profile image

      Brinafr3sh 6 years ago from West Coast, United States

      I'm not shocked that the micro chip cause the pet to get cancer. After all it is a computer chip, last time I checked computers get viruses also, just as a computerized micro chip would. Furthermore, I'm glad the pet owner filed a law suit.