Welcome to

A Journal for Human Research Subjects


Information from the publisher....

Guinea Pig Zero is an occupational jobzine for people who are used as medical or pharmaceutical research subjects. Its various sections are devoted to bioethics, historical facts, current news and research, evaluations of particular research facilities by volunteers, true stories of guinea pig adventure, reviews, poetry and fiction relating to the disposability of plebeian life. The journal will be useful to human guinea pigs while being informative to a general readership. Ethical questions related to human research are the property of human research subjects. The zine's title is loosely derived from the term "patient zero," which named an early AIDS victim whose behavior became a wild card in the efforts by doctors to control the epidemic. More benevolently, this journal keeps in mind that we volunteers can and should maintain an awareness and a will, because if we do not, we will fall victim to the evil uses devised for us by scientists who forget that we and they are of the same species.

Sinclair Lewis summed it up well, in the voice of a fictional character, in 1925:
There isn't much I can do now --these doctor Johnnies have taken everything out of my hands -- but as far as possible I shall certainly prevent you Yankee vivisectionists from coming in and using us as a lot of ...sanguinary corpses.

Guinea Pig Zero: An Anthology of the Journal for Human Research Subjects
is available! You can order your copy of this 280 page book, featuring "the best of Guinea Pig Zero, the 'zine.
Fascinating reading -- GPZ, the book!

"This book provides an informative and fascinating exposure of an aspect of human research that has rarely been looked into: the experiences, thoughts, goals and motives of some of the human beings who serve as 'human guinea pigs' for the human research establishment. "
-- Dr. Richard M. Zaner, Ann Geddes Stahlman Professor of Medical Ethics and Philosophy of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

"GPZ is a great documentation of the present state of affairs, not only giving insight into a little known work world but also making the past come alive with well researched historical information."
-- Jeff Kelly, author of Temp Slave

Read Siduri's review of the Guinea Pig Zero Anthology

Featured Articles:

Teenager Jesse Gelsinger died in September, 1999 in a gene therapy experiment at the University of Pennsylvania. His father describes what happened, and why we all should be disturbed. Read all about it.

Guinea Pig Zero editor Bob Helms on The Medical Manslaughter of Jesse Gelsinger.

A Guinea Pig Zero web exclusive: Ever wonder what it's like to do a really looooong drug study? Subject #1J gives the 411 on the food, the boredom, the cash in 22 Nights and 23 Days!

A Guinea Pig Zero web exclusive: What really happens when you answer an ad for volunteer testing at a psych lab? Read Mikita Brottman's humorous and insightful "I Was a Brain Slave" for the inside scoop!

Is it practical for human guinea pigs to unionize their labor? There's much that stands in the way of this happening, but collective action is still possible! Read two views of a drug study in Philadelphia where this happened -- Robert Helms on "Human Guinea Pigs 'Band Together' and Win a Pay Hike" and Dave Onion on "Human Guinea Pigs Organize and Win."

What makes an experiment an experiment? Read editor Bob Helms' interesting take on the bombing of Guernica, the Allied raid on the French town of Dieppe, and the tragic death of 19-year old University of Rochester student Nicole Wan.

A Guinea Pig Zero web exclusive: Sabina Tigges on the first successful (?) hand transplant recepient -- read "Clint Hallam: Guinea Pig Takes the Reins" here.

Looking for Robert Helms' essay on "Anarchists in Medicine and Pharmacy"? It's moved to the Deadanarchists.org website!

From the Horse's Mouth:

Read Bob Helms on the dangers of antidepressant drugs! The Philadelphia Independent (Vol. 1, No. 16, Summer, 2004) published "MEDICINE MEN HUSTLE HAPPINESS: New Cures Demand New Diseases" as a warning to all!

How NOT to find a drug study to participate in -- advice from an expert. Don't be fooled -- click here!

Guinea Pig Zero always got lots of mail. One letter editor Bob Helms received was from a young man in prison who was thinking about a career as a human guinea pig. We thought Bob's reply might be useful for others. Read it here.

Interested in the researcher's point of view? Read Hobbin A. Smith's interview with a lab research coordinator here.

The Annals of History:

Alexis St. Martin (1794-1880): The Intrepid Guinea Pig of the Great Lakes Read it here.

What was the connection between one of our beloved founding fathers and medical experimentation? Read about "The Skeletons in Ben Franklin's Closet" here


Read Bildad the poetic tale of a dauntful cavy by Esther Greenleaf Mürer. From Guinea Pig Zero #3.

A Thin Man's Tale Guinea pig fiction by Robert P. Helms. From Guinea Pig Zero #3.

Strong Poison: An old ballad about an unwilling guinea pig.

Read a review of an interesting and disturbing play about Dr. Ignatz Semmelweis, the father of modern antiseptic theory here.


The Secret Lives of Guinea Pigs by Barbara Solow, from Indy, an independent news weekly from North Carolina's research triangle area. Feb. 9, 2000.

"Justice for the Professional Guinea Pig" by Trudo Lemmens and Carl Elliott, from The American Journal of Bioethics 2001; 1(2): 51-3 (downloadable .pdf file)

Additional Guinea Pig Related Articles of Interest

University of Minnesota philosopher and bio-ethicist Carl Elliott wrote a fine literary reminiscence on Guinea Pig Zero. It appeared in issue #35 of the groovey litarary magazine Tin House.

Carl Elliott also wrote an article for the January 7, 2008 issue of The New Yorker called "Guinea-Pigging." Elliott interviews GPZ editor Bob Helms and other professional guinea-pigs, and quotes from the journal. Read this insightful piece on the ethical quandries of the human guinea pig in medical research!

Carl Elliott's latest! A look at one of the dark sides of Big Pharma -- how they make billions from drugs they test on the mentally ill and homeless. See his latest essay, "The Best-Selling, Billion-Dollar Pills Tested on Homeless People: How the Destitute and the Mentally Ill are Being Used as Human Lab Rats" in Matter.

French human research subject Michelle Julien wrote a book, Le Monde Ignoré des Testeurs de Médicaments. That's "The Forgotten World of Drug Testing" to us Yanks. Read more about it in The 'Pharmacademy".


Don't go looking into conspiracy theories about abused and murdered human lab rats. Start by having a look at what's been hashed out in court by one law firm. Only the tip of the iceberg, but it'll make your hair stand up nicely.

Brain slut, know your politics! Here's what happened to a doctor who no one tells what to think. "I happen to believe that Prozac and other SSRIs can lead to suicide." The David Healy Affair: the reaction against his revealing lecture about psychopharmacology. And guess who didn't appreciate being revealed!

Interested in jobzines? Read Guinea Pig Zero Editor Bob Helms' article "Jobzines: Fanning the Flames..." which appeared in the March 1997 issue of Industrial Worker.

The website most strongly recommended by GPZ...
The Alliance for Human Research Protection (AHRP).
Best-known, most visible, proactive citizen's watchdog organization, uses daily infomails to bring to public attention issues affecting the safety of people in clinical trials.

Questions? editor@guineapigzero.com
Email: webmaster@guineapigzero.com

Website re-design by Tony DeAnnuntis
Last updated: 22 August 2014