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714-X

Other common name(s): 714X

Scientific/medical name(s): trimethylbicyclonitramineoheptane chloride

Description

The ingredient of 714-X claimed by supporters to have anticancer activity is camphor that has been chemically modified by the addition of an extra nitrogen atom. Chemical analysis of 714-X by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that it consists of 94 percent water; about 5 percent nitrate; 1.4 percent ammonium; less than 1 percent each ethanol, sodium, and chloride; and less than .01 percent camphor. 714-X is used as a complementary/alternative method in Canada, Western Europe, and Mexico to treat cancer, AIDS, and other diseases. It is not legally available in the United States.

Overview

Available scientific evidence does not support claims that 714-X is effective in treating any type of cancer or other illness. It does not appear to be harmful, but no studies have been done to confirm its safety.

How is it promoted for use?

According to its proponents of 714-X, people with serious illnesses, such as cancer, carry tiny living particles in their bloodstream called somatids. Proponents claim that disease can be diagnosed and monitored by noting the number and forms of somatids in a person's blood. 714-X is said to cure cancer and AIDS by interfering with the flow of somatids through the bloodstream. This interference is said to cause the immune system to grow stronger and cause diseases to regress.

Proponents claim that cancer cells produce a substance called co-cancerogenic K factor (CKF), which protects the cells from the immune system. 714-X supposedly supplies the body with nitrogen, which strips this protective substance and leaves tumor cells vulnerable to attack by the immune system.

Evidence to support these claims has not been published in any available peer-reviewed, scientific journals.

What does it involve?

714-X is prepared as a sterile solution and injected into a lymph node in the groin. Ice packs are used to cool the area of injection both before and after. A course of treatment involves daily injections for 21 days, followed by 2 or 3 days of rest. The cycle typically repeated several times.

714-X can also be given nasally, using a nebulizer. This route is more commonly used for lung or oral cancers.

In Canada, 714-X is available only on a compassionate use basis. While it is not approved for general therapeutic use, doctors may request it under the Emergency Drug Release Program of Health Canada. It is not approved, however, for general therapeutic use. In October 2004, Health Canada instructed Naessen's company CERBE, the company that sells 714-X, to remove statements concerning 714-X from its public Web site.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved 714-X for use in the United States, and it is illegal to import it into the country.

What is the history behind it?

Early in his career, French-born scientist Gaston Naessens developed the somatoscope, a special microscope that he used to examine blood at extremely high magnifications. Using the somatoscope, Naessens claimed to have discovered tiny living organisms called somatids in the blood of people with serious diseases, including cancer. He believed that somatids were different from bacteria, fungi, viruses, or other microbes previously identified by other scientists and that they were responsible for the development of disease.

In 1956, a French court convicted and fined Naessens for practicing medicine without a license. Naessens moved to Quebec and later developed 714-X. Naessens claimed that 714-X interfered with somatids and could stop or reverse the growth of tumors. The drug's name is derived from the alphabetical position of Naessen's initials. "G" is the 7th letter of the alphabet, and "N" is the 14th. "X" is the 24th letter and represents 1924, the year Naessens was born.

In the 1980s, while living in Quebec, Naessens was prosecuted for health fraud and threatened with life imprisonment. He was acquitted after testimony from many 714-X users

who claimed that the drug had helped them. In 1992, a US distributor of 714-X was warned by the FDA that the claims he was making were illegal because the product was not proven to be safe and effective in treating disease. That same year, the FDA put out an import alert, that banned 714-X from being brought into the United States. In 1996, after continuing to sell 714-X, the distributor was convicted of numerous charges, including introducing an unapproved drug into interstate commerce.

What is the evidence?

According to the National Cancer Institute, "No laboratory study of the safety and/or effectiveness of 714-X has been published in scientific literature. A few animal experiments have been conducted, but the results of these experiments have not been reported in peer-reviewed scientific journals. 714-X was not found to be effective as an anticancer treatment in these studies." Although some patients have reported helpful effects after taking 714-X, available scientific evidence does not support any claims about the existence of somatids or that 714-X can cure cancer, AIDS, or other diseases in humans. No formal clinical studies have been conducted on 714-X. Unlike some other alternative therapies, even a best case series has not been published. A best case series allows an independent review of the medical records of patients treated with unconventional cancer therapies to determine whether the patients actually had cancer, which standard treatments they received, and whether the unconventional treatment may have helped. This information provides a basis for further study of the treatment.

One component of 714-X, camphor, is being researched in animals for potential anti-cancer activity; however, research is still at a very early stage.

Are there any possible problems or complications?

These substances may have not been thoroughly tested to find out how they interact with medicines, foods, or dietary supplements. Even though some reports of interactions and harmful effects may be published, full studies of interactions and effects are not often available. Because of these limitations, any information on ill effects and interactions below should be considered incomplete.

714-X appears to cause few side effects, but no formal studies of safety have been done. The injections can result in local redness, tenderness, and swelling at the injection site.

It is not known whether 714-X might interact with standard cancer treatment or other drugs. The manufacturers of 714-X state that it can be used along with conventional therapies. However, they believe that it is most likely to be effective in patients who have not had chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and they recommend it be given as early as possible after diagnosis.

Relying on this type of treatment alone, and avoiding or delaying conventional medical care for cancer may have serious health consequences.

Additional resources

More information from your American Cancer Society

The following information on complementary and alternative therapies may also be helpful to you. These materials may be found on our Web site (www.cancer.org) or ordered from our toll-free number (1-800-ACS-2345).

Dietary Supplements: What Is Safe?

The ACS Operational Statement on Complementary and Alternative Methods of Cancer Management

Complementary and Alternative Methods and Cancer

Placebo Effect

Learning About New Ways to Treat Cancer

Learning About New Ways to Prevent Cancer

References

714-X (PDQ®). National Cancer Institute. Accessed at: www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/714-X/healthprofessional on June 11, 2008.

714-X information package. 1996. Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance. Accessed at: www.breast.cancer.ca/media_news_resource_centre/resources/literature_reviews/714-X/ on June 21, 2007. Site discontinued.

Barrett S. Fanciful claims for 714X. 2002. Accessed at: www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/Cancer/714x.html on June 11, 2008.

Ernst E, Cassileth BR. How useful are unconventional cancer treatments? Eur J Cancer. 1999;35:1608-1613.

Kaegi E. Unconventional therapies for cancer: 6. 714-X. Task Force on Alternative Therapeutic of the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Initiative. CMAJ. 1998;158:1621-1624.

Kurtzweil P. Investigators reports: promoter of 714X Cure-All Faces Prison for Selling Unapproved Drug. FDA Consumer 1996. Online at: www.fda.gov/fdac/departs/996_irs.html. Accessed June 21, 2007.

Note: This information may not cover all possible claims, uses, actions, precautions, side effects or interactions. It is not intended as medical advice, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for consultation with your doctor, who is familiar with your medical situation.

Last Medical Review: 11/01/2008
Last Revised: 11/01/2008