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Fanciful Claims for 714X

Stephen Barrett, M.D.

714X -- also called "trimethylbicyclonitramineoheptane chloride" -- was developed by Gaston Naessens, a native Frenchman who has lived and worked in Quebec, Canada, since the early 1970s. The numbers "7" and "14" represent the 7th and 14th letters in the alphabet (Naessens' initials), and "X," the 24th letter in the alphabet, represents his year of birth (1924). Naessens claims that 714X can cure cancer, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, and other "degenerative diseases" by improving the body's immune function. However, his theories clash with what is known, and no evidence exists that 714X is effective. An FDA analysis of a sample found that it was 94% water; about 5% nitrate; 1.4% ammonium; less than 1% each ethanol, sodium, and chloride; and less than .01% of camphor [1]. Product literature from the manufacturer (CERBE Distribution, Inc.) states that it also contains traces of aluminum, antimony, arsenic, barium, boron, cadmium, calcium, chromium, cobalt, copper, iron, magnesium, mercury, molybdenum, nickel, phosphorus, lead, and zinc [2].

Naessens claims to have developed a dark-field microscope ("Somatoscope") that enables live blood cells to be examined at a magnification of up to 30,000 . He states that this has enabled him to see tiny creatures he calls "somatids," which he claims are responsible for the formation of cancers. He also postulates that (a) cancer cells produce a substance he calls "cancerogenic K factor (CLF)," which paralyzes the immune system; (b) tumors steal nitrogen from the body, and this inhibits the immune system; (c) supplying nitrogen to the tumor and the body restores immune function that enables the body to heal. He claims that 714X "supports the natural defenses by promoting deep cellular cleansing and by activating cellular repair." [2] The product is injected daily for 21 days for each "cycle" of treatment, with two free days between cycles. CERBE claims that 714X can be used for prevention as well as for treatment -- with 1 to 3 cycles recommended for prevention and a minimum of 6 to 8 cycles for curative purposes. The "basic treatment" is performed by injecting 714X around the lymph glands in the right groin area, but a nebulizer version is available for cancers in the head or upper right part of the body.

Naessens provides professional seminars, private courses, and public conferences through the International Academy of Somatidian Orthobiology, which he and his wife founded in 1995.

Background History

In 1967, the American Cancer Society published a detailed report on its investigation of Naessens [3]. The report stated:

In 1985, two researchers at Ontario Veterinary College concluded that 714X was ineffective against lymphomas in dogs and cows [5]. The Canadian Health Fraud Branch regards 714X as "an unproven product for which evidence to support treatment claims is lacking." [6] No clinical trial has ever been reported, and no peer-reviewed scientific journal has published data showing that 714X is effective against any health problem. In 1998, the Task Force on Alternative Therapies of the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Initiative concluded that "Naessens's theories about the underlying causes and mechanisms of cancer are clearly not consistent with current scientific opinion." [7] In November 1999, I searched Medline and Stedman's Electronic Medical Dictionary and found no mention of the term "somatid."

Government Regulation

In 1992, the FDA became aware that Charles Pixley, president of Writers & Research Inc., of Rochester, N.Y., was importing 714X for resale to Americans [1]. FDA officials warned Pixley that 714X was an unapproved new drug and could not be legally imported or marketed in the United States. The agency also issued an Import Alert to block its importation [8]. When subsequent investigation revealed that Pixley continued to import and sell 714X, the FDA warned again and eventually initiated criminal proceedings In 1996, Pixley was found guilty of 18 counts of selling an unapproved drug and was sentenced to one year in prison plus three years of supervised release and 200 hours of community service. He was ordered to refrain from "possessing, distributing, or aiding in the distribution" of unapproved drugs and was assessed $500. The company was found guilty on one count and ordered to pay $1,200 for fines and costs [1]. He appealed the verdict but lost [9]. In a recent e-mail complaining about his prosecution, Pixley claimed that Naessens's blood test can "pre diagnose any type of cancer and immune disorders up to two years prior to their onset, with a 1% margin of error." [10]

Although Canadian drug laws are similar to those of the United States, Canada has an Emergency Drug Release Program under which the Health Protection Branch can authorize limited quantities of the drug to be released when a licensed Canadian physician requests it for a specific patient [6,11]. The authorization should not be interpreted to mean that the agency either supports or approves of its use [6]. In 1989, Naessens was tried in Canada for practicing medicine without a license, but the jury acquitted him [12].

References

  1. Kurtzweil P. Promoter of 714X cure-all faces prison for selling unapproved drug. FDA Consumer 30(9):33-34, 1996.
  2. Technical data and injection technique of the 714X. Rock Forest, Quebec: Centre expérimental de recherches biologiques de l'Estrie, Inc. (CERBE), May 1, 1999.
  3. American Cancer Society. Naessens serum, or Anablast. Position paper, 1967.
  4. Affaire Naessens -- Rapport du professeur Denoix, directeur du l'Institute du cancer de Paris. Medicine et Hygiene 827:104-105, 1964.
  5. Carter RF, Valli VEO. Report on the Use oof 714X (Camphorinium Chloride), Sept. 1985.
  6. Canadian Health Protection Branch. 714X: An unproven product. Issues, Jan 24, 1990, revised March 1993.
  7. Kaegi E and others. Unconventional therapies for cancer: 6. 714-X. Canadian Medical Journal 158:1621-1624, 1998.
  8. Detention without physical examination of 714X cancer/AIDS serum. FDA Import Alert #57-06, revised 5/3/96.
  9. Canadian Food and Drugs Regulations, Part C, division 8, sections C.08.010 and C.08.011.
  10. Appeal from judgment of the United States District Court, for the Western District of New York, Michael A. Telesca, Judge , convicting defendant of conspiracy under 18 U.S.C. § 371 (1988) and multiple counts of causing the introduction of an unapproved new drug into interstate commerce under 21 U.S.C. §§ 331(d) (1988). United States of America vs Writers & Research, Inc. and Charles R. Pixley. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, No 834 August Term 1996, Docket No. 96-1476, decided May 7, 1997.
  11. Pixley C. E-mail message send to Dr. Stephen Barrett, Nov 30, 1999.
  12. Bird C. The Persecution and Trial of Gaston Naessens. Los Angeles: H.L. Kramer, 1991.

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This article was revised on March 22, 2002.