A further delay in the arrival of a universal drug creation machine

calvinThe new great attempt to make a machine that can conveniently make and deliver any —any — kind of drug has hit a snag. The previous great attempt, by two-time Ig Nobel Prize winner Jacques Benveniste, hit a snag two decades ago, and never got unsnagged.

The Retraction Watch blog sums up the new case:

Paper claiming a way to “print any drug instantly” gets unprinted

A recent paper proposing a way to “print any drug instantly” has been withdrawn by the author, following bewildered reactions from the blogosphere.

The paper made the rounds at various chemistry-focused blogs last month. Derek Lowe of In The Pipeline picked up on it too, calling the article “one of the oddest papers to appear in Drug Discovery Today, which is saying something.” …

Indeed, here’s the notice — a deeply uninformative one, we note — at Drug Discovery Today: “This article has been withdrawn at the request of the author. The Publisher apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause.”

The paper’s author is Prof. Calvin Yu-Chian Chen [pictured here, above], who does not lack for words.

Dr Chen’s work both follows and extends the work done long ago by Jacques Benveniste.

Dr. Benveniste was awarded the 1998 Ig Nobel Prize for chemistry, for his homeopathic discovery that not only does water have memory, but that the information can be transmitted over telephone lines and the Internet. [REFERENCE: "Transatlantic Transfer of Digitized Antigen Signal by Telephone Link," J. Benveniste, P. Jurgens, W. Hsueh and J. Aissa, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology - Program and abstracts of papers to be presented during scientific sessions AAAAI/AAI.CIS Joint Meeting February 21-26, 1997"]

The 1998 Ig Nobel Prize added to Dr. Benveniste’s collection of honors. In 1991 he was awarded the very first Ig Nobel Prize for chemistry, for his persistent discovery that water, H2O, is an intelligent liquid, and for demonstrating to his satisfaction that water is able to remember events long after all trace of those events has vanished.

Dr. Benveniste’s initial great discovery was published in the journal Nature, which then quickly retracted that paper. Years later, after Dr. Benveniste’s death, Nature published his obituary (and has not, at least not yet, retracted that).