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Aurora Langley believed her only hope for a cure back in 1994 was a radical treatment her insurance company didn’t want to cover. She had five children, a husband, and a life to live, so she enlisted friends, family and her community to raise money to pay for the brutal but hopefully life-saving treatment. Halfway around the world, one doctor was proving that this treatment was a cost that patients should be willing to endure.

Dr. Werner Bezwoda, after all, was a magician known for curing late-stage breast cancer. In the 1990s, chemotherapy was the hope for a cure, the more the better. At the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, Bezwoda put women into complete remission, first with a high-dose chemotherapy regimen, followed by bone marrow transplants. He presented his scientific studies at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s meetings and published in major journals — offering results that seemed too good to be true. Trouble was, they were. The results were fabricated, and Bezwoda breached the most basic points of medical ethics, using poor, barely literate black women in a newly apartheid-free South Africa as his guinea pigs.

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Image: By Samuella99 at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3114905

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