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Untested cancer drug suspected cause of three deaths at German alternative medicine centre

Published on 17/08/16 at 10:05am

The deaths of three patients at an alternative medicine clinic in Germany have prompted suspicion of a clinically untested cancer drug used by nonmedical practitioner Klauss Ross for treatment at the facility.

3-Bromopyruvate (3BP) has been hailed by some researchers as a potential breakthrough in cancer treatment, but there is no concrete clinical human trial data to support these claims beyond anecdotal evidence. Scientists have stated that the drug should not be administered to any patients except in carefully controlled experimental conditions.

German police took action on 4 August after two patients from the Netherlands and one from Belgium died following treatment at the Biological Cancer Centre in Brüggen, Germany. Police from each region have urged other patients treated at the centre to contact local health authorities, with at least 26 doing so.

The centre offered a 10-week ‘basic therapy’ treatment against cancer for €9900, which patients reportedly viewed as a last resort after running out of conventional options or to avoid aggressive chemotherapy. The centre’s website called 3BP “currently the best compound to treat tumors.” Ross himself is ‘in shock’ according to a statement he made on his website, and regrets the media’s assertion that alternative medicine may be responsible.

3BP is claimed to ‘starve’ tumour cells by inhibiting glycolysis, the breakdown of glucose molecules to provide cells with energy, specifically kills certain cancer cells while leaving normal cells alone. It was reported to reduce or even reverse tumour growth in rats and mice, but the same studies also showed a clear toxicity with certain administration regimes.

Eugen Brysch, head of the German Foundation for Patient Rights, has called for stricter regulation of alternative medicine practice: “Creativity in therapy must not negatively affect patent safety. It cannot be the case that plumbers or chip shops are supervised more strictly than medical service providers.”

The public prosecutor in Germany is now investigating whether the case constitutes involuntary manslaughter.

Matt Fellows

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