Can Krebiozen Treat Cancer?

drugIn 1951 two brothers, Yugoslavian refugees, brought a drug called Krebiozen to the US and attempted to develop it privately as a cancer treatment. They kept the identity of drug secret, only saying that it had been prepared from the blood of Argentinean horses injected with a bacterium. They then initiated a questionable human testing program in which patients were charged $9.50, a lot of money back then, as a “contribution” per dose. In 1961 the brothers submitted a new drug application to the Food and Drug Administration, and with the backing of desperate cancer patients insisted that the National Cancer Institute conduct clinical studies. The Institute established a committee to study the 504 cases the Durovic brothers had compiled and concluded that Krebiozen did not demonstrate any antitumor activity. From a sample submitted, the FDA determined the drug to be a mix of mineral oil and creatine, a normal body chemical related to muscle contraction. Actually, this had already been previously tested before by the National Cancer Institute against animal tumors and was found to be lacking in effectiveness. The proponents were indicted for fraud, but by then they had transplanted their millions to Swiss banks. A jury acquitted them in 1966 because the prosecution was unable to convince the members that the brothers had knowingly defrauded people.

Dr. Bernard Siegel, in his fascinating book, “Love, Medicine and Miracles,” describes a Krebiozen episode. A patient was hospitalized with lymphoma, large tumors in the neck, armpits, groin, chest and abdomen. He heard about Krebiozen, and being on the verge of death, pleaded with his doctors to try it. They acquiesced. When the man’s physician returned after the week-end, he was shocked to see his patient walking around and joking with the nurses. His tumors had decreased in size. Two more weeks of injections seemed to cure him, and the patient was sent home. He was well until he read an article in a newspaper questioning the effectiveness of Krebiozen. Then he had a relapse and the tumors returned. His doctor now suspected that the placebo effect had been at play and told the patient to disregard what he had heard because early shipments were defective, but a new stronger version of Krebiozen had just become available. The doctor then administered a water injection. Recovery was dramatic, the patient went home in a couple of days and was symptom free for two months. Then the AMA issued its final verdict on Krebiozen and said it was worthless. The poor man fell ill and died two days later. A remarkable story. It may even be true. The power of the mind can indeed heal. But that does not mean that people making false claims and capitalizing on the placebo effect are not heels. They are. Their misleading ideas may prevent effective therapies from being instituted. Krebiozen is rarely used today although there are still the usual websites and books claiming that a miraculous drug has been mistreated. Creatine has no benefit in cancer but may provoke side effects such as irregular heartbeat, blood clots, and even death. Krebiozen is pure bunk.

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