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Greek Cancer Cure

Other common name(s): METBAL®, Cellbal ®, Alivizatos

Scientific/medical name(s): none

Description

The Greek Cancer Cure consists of a blood test reportedly used to diagnose cancer and intravenous therapy designed to cure the disease. The injections are said to contain organic substances such as sugars, vitamins, amino acids, and other ingredients.

Overview

Available scientific evidence does not support claims that the Greek Cancer Cure is effective in preventing, detecting, or treating cancer.

How is it promoted for use?

Practitioners of the Greek Cancer Cure claim the regular use of a special intravenous injection referred to as a serum, boosts the patient's immune system, enabling it to fight and destroy tumor cells. The inventor of the Greek Cancer Cure claimed to have cured a high percentage of patients who had cancers of the skin, bone, uterus, stomach, and lymphatic system.

What does it involve?

The first stage of the Greek Cancer Cure is a blood test that is said to pinpoint the nature, location, and extent of a patient's cancer. The second stage involves daily intravenous injections of the serum. Treatment lasts from 6 to 30 days. The secret formula is believed to consist of brown sugar, nicotinic acid (also known as niacin or vitamin B3), vitamin C, and alanine, an amino acid. A supplement that can be taken by mouth is also available.

Patients are advised to limit their intake of salts and acids, limit physical activities, and avoid drugs such as aspirin and laxatives. They are also asked to stop chemotherapy or radiation therapy before beginning the treatment program.

What is the history behind it?

The Greek Cancer Cure was developed in Athens, Greece during the 1970s by microbiologist Hariton-Tzannis Alivizatos, MD. Dr. Alivizatos was investigated by Greek regulatory officials several times. At one point he lost his license to practice medicine because he failed to submit a sample of his serum to the government for testing. His license was reinstated after he finally agreed, but the Greek government could not establish the serum's effectiveness against cancer and ordered him to stop giving it to patients. In 1983, Dr. Alivizatos again lost his license, this time for 2 years, following an investigation by the Hellenic Medical Association. He resumed treating patients after the suspension expired.

On several occasions, the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute asked Dr. Alivizatos to provide scientific documentation or information regarding his treatment, but all requests went unanswered. Throughout his career, Dr. Alivizatos closely guarded the details of his blood test and refused to share information with fellow cancer researchers. In 1979, a surgeon from Seattle traveled to Greece, posed as a cancer patient and underwent treatment by Dr. Alivizatos. He returned with samples of the serum. An analysis conducted at the University of Washington revealed that the formula contained only nicotinic acid (niacin, or vitamin B3) and water.

Dr. Alivizatos died in 1991. Today, his treatment is marketed as METBAL® or Cellbal® and reportedly is offered in Greece, Poland, and some clinics in North America.

What is the evidence?

Available scientific evidence does not support claims that the Greek Cancer Cure has any effect on cancer. No studies have been published in the available peer-reviewed medical journals to show that the blood tests or the injections used in the Greek Cancer Cure result in any measurable benefit in the treatment of people with cancer.

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.

The safety of this treatment has not been proven. The intravenous serum can contain levels of nicotinic acid high enough to cause burning at the injection site or flushing of the face and chest. 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

American Cancer Society. Unproven Methods of Cancer Management. Greek Cancer Cure. CA Cancer J Clin. 1990;40:368-371.

Barrett S. Alivazatos Greek Cancer Cure. 2005. Accessed at: www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/Cancer/greek.html on June 11, 2008.

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