Q. Have implanted microchips caused cancer in animals?

Yes. In a series of scientific studies published between 1996 and 2006, researchers found a  link between implanted microchip transponders and cancer in laboratory animals. Between 1% and 10% of mice and rats implanted with the chips for identification purposes were later afflicted with sarcomas, fibrosarcomas, and other invasive cancers surrounding or attached to the implants. The fast-growing, malignant tumors often metastasized (spread) to internal organs, lymph nodes, and musculature and frequently resulted in the death of the animals.

 In two confirmed cases—and possibly many more—dogs have also developed cancer surrounding or attached to microchip implants used for identification purposes.


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Photos of microchip-induced tumors

Left: A malignant tumor found surrounding a microchip implanted in a mouse (Le Calvez et al, 2006) Right: Cross-section of a malignant tumor found surrounding a microchip implant in a rat (Elcock et al, 2001)

Q. Did the microchip implants cause the tumors?

Yes. In nearly all cases, researchers concluded that the microchip implants induced (caused) the malignant tumors found in their studies. Here are some quotes from the scientists involved with the studies:

"The transponders were the cause of the tumors." 8

  • Retired toxicologic pathologist Dr. Keith Johnson, in a phone interview with the Associated Press on the findings of a 1996 study he led at the Dow Chemical Co. in Midland, Michigan.

"There was an unequivocal [unmistakable] association between the [microchip implant] and sarcoma." 9

  • Dr. Kerry Blanchard and colleagues from their 1999 study finding that 10.2% of mice studied developed cancer around the microchips (p. 526)

The tumors "are clearly due to the implanted microchips." 10

  • Dr. Thomas Tillmann and colleagues, from their 1997 study that found cancers around microchips in 0.8% percent of 4,279 chipped mice (p. 200)

Q. Where did the tumors form in the animals?

In all cases, the cancerous tumors were located at the site of the microchip. The tumors either encased the microchip or were immediately adjacent to it. When scientists examined the tumors microscopically, they found that the tumors originated in the capsule of tissue that formed around the microchips.

"All tumors were observed...at or near the implantation site...[the tumors] were attached to the implant or partially or totally encased the implant." 11

  • Palmer et al. on their 1998 study that found malignant fibrosarcomas in 2% of 800 mice studied (p. 170)

"The intact microchip was found completely embedded within the [malignant] mass. " 12

  • Vascellari et al, from their 2004 study that found cancer in a dog (p.188)

Numerous other studies reached the same conclusions. These studies, detailing the formation of cancer surrounding microchip implants, are described in detail in our comprehensive review of the research titled "Microchip-Induced Tumors in Laboratory Rodents and Dogs: A Review of the Literature 1990–2006." 13

Q. How does the microchip implant cause cancer?

Researchers have proposed several explanations for the cancerous tumors found around microchip implants in animals, as follows:

  1. Foreign-Body Tumorigenesis: The presence of a foreign body under the skin may cause cellular changes that lead to cancer.

  2. Post-Injection Sarcoma : Inflammation from the chip-injection procedure may give rise to cancer.

  3. Possible Genotoxic Properties of the Implant : The microchip may have carcinogenic properties or cause the body to produce carcinogenic byproducts.

  4. Radio-Frequency Energy Emissions from the Transponder or Reader : The radio-frequency energy involved with the device may contribute to tumor formation.

Each of these hypotheses is addressed in greater detail in our comprehensive report on  the research titled "Microchip-Induced Tumors in Laboratory Rodents and Dogs: A Review of the Literature 1990–2006."14  However, we currently don't know which, if any, of these hypotheses is correct.

Q. Are the microchips that caused tumors the same as the VeriChip human implant?

Yes, the microchips that caused cancer in animals are virtually identical to the implant being marketed for humans. Digital Angel, the parent company of the VeriChip Corporation, manufactures both the HomeAgain® animal implant and the VeriChip human implant. Both of these devices can be seen in the photograph below.

The microchip at the top is the VeriChip human implant, currently implanted in hundreds of human beings. The microchip below it is the HomeAgain® pet implant, the device that was found encased within a cancerous tumor (liposarcoma) in one dog, and adjacent to a cancerous tumor (fibrosarcoma) in another dog.


The only significant difference between the animal microchip and the VeriChip human implant is in the information coded onto their internal microchips. Animal implants generally transmit a 10-digit ID number, while the human implant is encoded to transmit a 16-digit ID number.

The microchips that induced cancer in laboratory animals were sold by BioMedic Data Systems, Inc., but are also nearly identical to the VeriChip human implant. Both contain a microchip and an antenna sealed in a 12 mm cylinder of medical-grade glass. Both are partially encased in a polypropylene anti-migration sheath. Both are injected into the flesh with a 12-gauge needle.

Human and Animal Implants Compared
Left: A VeriChip human implant manufactured by Digital Angel appears at the top of this photo. Directly below it is Digital Angel's animal chip, marketed under the HomeAgain® brand name in the U.S., and other brand names overseas. A grain of rice and a dime are shown for scale.

Q. I'd like to examine the evidence myself. Where can I find the original research studies?

 The studies were originally published in a variety of pathology, veterinary and toxicology journals between 1996 and 2006. The author of this FAQ, Katherine Albrecht, Ed.D., has authored a comprehensive, 52-page report on the studies that has been posted on the AntiChips.com website and is freely available for distribution.15 In addition, we have scanned the full text of the original research articles and made them available on our website.16

Q. Should humans be worried about developing cancer from microchip implants?

The fact that rodents and dogs have developed cancer around implanted microchips does not necessarily mean that humans will do the same. However, prior research indicates that humans are subject to malignant tumors in response to foreign-body implants. In a small number of cases, highly aggressive sarcomas and carcinomas have developed in humans around pacemakers and other implanted devices.

Most of the malignant, microchip-induced tumors found in rodents were classified as sarcomas – soft tissue cancers. Although soft tissue sarcomas are rare in humans, they are responsible for more deaths than testicular cancer, Hodgkin's disease, and thyroid cancer combined. They are also notorious for recurring and metastasizing—often with devastating results.

It should be noted that the same company that manufactures the VeriChip human implant also produced and sold the virtually identical microchips that were associated with cancer in dogs.

Since the microchip implant procedure has only been performed on humans since 2001, and only in a small number of individuals, very little is known about the long-term response to the implant in human beings. According to several people who have received implants, the VeriChip Corporation had no formal follow-up procedure in place to monitor patient response to the devices.


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