Category: Cancer

Cancer cell immunofluorescence

How reproducible is basic lab research in cancer biology?

Last week, a review of the reproducibility of several highly cited cancer biology papers was published. The results were mixed and demonstrate how difficult reproducing published results can be at times—and how scientists need to do better.

/ January 23, 2017

Myths integrative medicine sells us: “We never advocate alternative medicine without conventional medicine”

"Integrative medicine" (IM) effectively integrates quackery with real medicine. The main talking point by advocates of IM meant to deflect this criticism is that IM practitioners always use alternative medicine with conventional medicine and never advocate the use of alternative medicine alone. A new book by a prominent advocate of IM suggests that this talking point is at best self-delusion among academics...

/ January 8, 2017

Oh, look. Naturopathic oncologists are pretending that theirs is a real medical specialty again.

Naturopaths labor under the delusion that theirs is a real medical specialty. It is not, and never will be. Nothing shows that better than when a bunch of naturopaths get together to examine the state of their specialty. Unfortunately for them, if it quacks like a duck...

/ December 19, 2016

Precision Medicine and Uncertainty

Precision medicine is a development that promises to tailor treatments to the individual patient based on genetic and other molecular and cellular analyses. In his 2015 State of the Union address, President Obama announced the Precision Medicine Initiative. A website for Precision Medicine claims to offer “perfect care for every individual.” Much of what we read about precision medicine gives the impression...

/ November 15, 2016
Quack, quack

Cancer quackery from Germany to Australia

Last week, I wrote about alternative medicine clinics in Germany that offer a combination of alternative cancer cures plus experimental therapeutics administered improperly outside the auspices of a clinical trial. In particular, I discussed two cases. The first was British actress Leah Bracknell, who is raising money to go to one of these alternative cancer clinics to treat her stage IV lung...

/ November 4, 2016
Patients should get health information from doctors, not quacks.

Chiropractic Gynecologist Offers Dangerous Treatments and Misinformation

Over a year ago I wrote about escharotic treatments for cervical dysplasia. It is offered not by MD gynecologists but by chiropractors and naturopaths, along with inconsistent and unproven diet recommendations and supplements. A corrosive agent similar to “black salve” is applied repeatedly to the cervix; it works by destroying tissue. There are no controlled studies evaluating it for safety and effectiveness....

/ October 25, 2016
Pauline Gahan in front of the Hallwang Private Oncology Clinic

German alternative cancer clinics: Combining experimental therapeutics with rank quackery and charging big bucks for it

A couple of months ago, I discussed patient deaths at an alternative medicine clinic in Europe, where a naturopath named Klaus Ross had been administering an experimental cancer drug (3-bromopyruvate, or 3-BP) to patients outside the auspices of a clinical trial. 3-BP is a drug that targets the Warburg effect, a characteristic of cancer cells first reported in the 1920s by Otto...

/ October 24, 2016

Mammography and overdiagnosis, revisited

[Editor Note: This is a greatly expanded version of my initial thoughts on a study about mammography published in the New England Journal of Medicine last week on my not-so-super-secret other blog. It’s such an important topic that I thought SBM should see my discussion too, and I couldn’t just cut and paste it. You deserve original material.] I knew it. I...

/ October 17, 2016
Kenneth Woliner

Is there a distinct standard of care for “integrative” physicians? The Woliner case

We at SBM argue that there should be a single, science-based standard of care in medicine. Unfortunately, with the rise of "complementary and alternative medicine" (CAM) also called "integrative medicine," there is a separate standard emerging that allows CAM practitioners to get away with using unproven and disproven treatments. The case of Dr. Kenneth Woliner illustrates this problem.

/ October 13, 2016

When science- and evidence-based guidelines conflict with patient wishes: What’s a doc to do?

There’s a misconception that I frequently hear about evidence-based medicine (EBM), which can equally apply to science-based medicine (SBM). Actually, there are several, but they are related. These misconceptions include the idea that EBM/SBM guidelines are a straightjacket, that they are “cookbook medicine,” and that EBM/SBM should be the be-all and end-all of how to practice clinical medicine. New readers might not...

/ October 3, 2016