Scientific Progress - Wireless Phones and Brain Cancer: Current State of the Science

George L. Carlo, PhD, MS, JD, and Rebecca Steffens Jenrow, MPH, Wireless Technology Research, LLCWashington, DC

Medscape General Medicine. 2000;2(2) 

In This Article

The Structure of the WTR Program

The 7-year WTR program, established to provide objective scientific information upon which to base public health decisions regarding wireless phones, encompassed independent peer review coordinated through the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health, strict adherence to both Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) and Good Epidemiology Practices (GEP), and the input of over 100 scientists and physicians worldwide. In its implementation, the WTR program rigorously adhered to a peer-reviewed research agenda that was 18 months in the making.[13]

Protocols for each study were peer reviewed prior to implementation, and progress in the field was regularly reviewed by the U.S. government's Interagency Working Group on RFR, which included representatives from the FDA, FCC, Environmental Protection Agency, National Cancer Institute, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. In addition to peer review, a requirement for all investigators was that their findings also be submitted for publication in the open scientific literature.

For decisions about health impact, the WTR program employed a public health paradigm, consistent with the regulatory framework for postmarket surveillance for medical devices and pharmaceuticals. Within that framework, each of the more than 50 studies conducted with WTR support were judged by the aforementioned groups in terms of whether or not the findings indicated a public health problem, ie, a positive finding, that warranted public health intervention[43] (see Figure 1). As a result, decisions about risk and intervention could be made with confidence prior to study findings appearing in the open scientific literature, a process that could take months if not years. With thousands more people being exposed to wireless phones every day, it was determined that time expediency in applying the findings of this important research was of critical importance. Further, this is the same paradigm that federal regulatory agencies would use to intervene if they were engaged, ie, decision making about public health impact after peer review but prior to publication.

Thus, each of the studies reported here has been peer reviewed both at the protocol stage and after the final report and conclusions were drawn. Each report is publicly available through the WTR, or published in or submitted to the peer-reviewed scientific literature.

WTR Program.