Category: Clinical Trials

Rigvir strikes back, or: A conversation with a Rigvir flack

My skeptical analysis of Rigvir, a "Virotherapy" from Latvia being promoted by alternative medicine clinics as a cancer cure, caught the attention of the International Virotherapy Center (IVC). The result was a long and very telling e-mail exchange between its Assistant of Business Development and myself. I post it because the arguments used in the discussion are very telling about where the...

/ October 2, 2017

Ty Bollinger’s “The Truth About Cancer” and the unethical marketing of the unproven cancer virotherapy Rigvir

Last week, I wrote about Rigvir, a "virotherapy" promoted by the International Virotherapy Center (IVC) in Latvia, which did not like what I had to say. When a representative called me to task for referring to the marketing of Rigvir using patient testimonials as irresponsbile, it prompted me to look at how Ty Bollinger's The Truth About Cancer series promoted Rigvir through...

/ September 25, 2017

Rigvir: Another unproven and dubious cancer therapy to be avoided

Recently, the Hope4Cancer Institute, a quack clinic in Mexico, has added a treatment known as Rigvir to its coffee enemas and other offerings. But what is Rigvir? It turns out that it's an import from Latvia with a mysterious history. Proponents claim that it is an oncolytic virus that targets cancer specifically and leaves normal cells alone. Unfortunately, there is a profound...

/ September 18, 2017

“New vaccine replaces statins?” Not So Fast!

News reports suggest new drugs may replace statins. PSCK9 inhibitors are useful, but only along with statins in high risk patients not controlled on statins alone, or for patients who can't tolerate statins. They're not about to replace statins.

/ September 5, 2017

Alternative medicine kills cancer patients

By definition, alternative medicine has not been shown to be effective or has been shown to be ineffective. Thus, alternative medicine is ineffective against cancer and can best be represented as either no treatment at all or potentially harmful treatment. It is thus not surprising that cancer patients who choose alternative medicine have a higher risk of dying from their cancer. A...

/ August 14, 2017

AllerVarx: A Questionable Remedy for Allergic Rhinitis

AllerVarx, a new dietary supplement, claims to relieve nasal allergy symptoms, but the only "evidence" is a single disreputable clinical trial with no control group. There is no reason to try this unproven remedy when there are so many effective remedies offered by mainstream medicine.

/ July 25, 2017

Does chemotherapy cause cancer to spread?

Earlier this month, a study was published in Science Translational Medicine that showed how chemotherapy before surgery can stimulate breast cancer invasiveness and invasion under certain circumstances. Not surprisingly, alternative cancer cure mavens everywhere are spinning the study as "proof" that chemotherapy has no benefit and causes only harm (and so you should buy their nostrums instead). Unsurprisingly, the actual results are...

/ July 17, 2017

Emergency acupuncture!

For whatever reason, acupuncturists and acupuncture believers think that acupuncture can be useful in emergency situations, be they in the field ("battlefield acupuncture," anyone?) or in the ER. They even do studies purporting to show that. This is yet another of such a clinical trial, albeit larger than usual. Guess what? It doesn't really show what it's advertised to show. I explain...

/ July 3, 2017

Can mind-body practices “reprogram” our DNA?

A recent systematic review has been touted as demonstrating that "mind-body" practices like yoga can reprogram our DNA. There are several reasons to doubt these claims, not the least of which is the history of bias in past studies on this topic.

/ June 26, 2017

Medical marijuana as the new herbalism, part 5: Turning herbalism into science-based medicine

There’s a new clinical trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine showing a beneficial effect due to cannabidiol, a chemical isolated from marijuana, on drug-resistant seizures due to Dravet syndrome. Although there are a fair number of caveats, this is how you begin to turn the herbalism that characterizes medical marijuana advocacy into science-based medicine.

/ May 29, 2017