Pharmacological and Biological Treatment

Learn about other non-traditional therapies sometimes touted to treat cancer, including shark cartilage, laetrile, and homeopathy.


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.

Antineoplaston Therapy

Antineoplaston therapy is a complementary/alternative cancer treatment that involves using a group of synthetic chemicals called antineoplastons intended to protect the body from disease.


Apitherapy refers to the use of various products of the common honeybee in alternative remedies.

Bovine Cartilage

Bovine cartilage is promoted as a dietary supplement for the treatment of cancer, osteoporosis, and other conditions. The cartilage is extracted from various parts of a cow, but usually comes from the trachea (windpipe).


A dark liquid, the exact makeup of Cancell® is unknown and may have changed over time and varied between manufacturers.

Cell Therapy

In cell therapy, processed tissue from the organs, embryos, or fetuses of animals such as sheep or cows is injected into patients.

Chelation Therapy

Chelation therapy most often involves the injection of ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA), a chemical that binds, or chelates, heavy metals, including iron, lead, mercury, cadmium, and zinc.

Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is part of an enzyme complex that affects certain chemical reactions in the body.

Coley Toxins

Use of Coley toxins is an early form of immunotherapy, a method of treatment in which a person receives substances designed to boost the immune system and help the body fight off diseases such as cancer.


Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal gland.

Di Bella Therapy

It is a mixture of the drugs somatostatin and bromocriptine, as well as vitamins, melatonin, and sometimes low doses of chemotherapy drugs or other substances combined in varying amounts.

Dichloroacetate (DCA)

Dichloracetic acid and sodium dichloroacetate are man-made chemicals that have not been found in nature.


Dimethyl sulfoxide, or DMSO, is an industrial solvent that is a by-product of making paper.

Enzyme Therapy

Enzyme therapy involves taking enzyme supplements as an alternative form of cancer treatment. Enzymes are natural proteins that stimulate and accelerate many biological reactions in the body.

Gamma Linolenic Acid

Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) is an omega-6 unsaturated fatty acid made in the human body from other essential fatty acids.

Greek Cancer Cure

The Greek Cancer Cure consists of a blood test reportedly used to diagnose cancer and intravenous therapy designed to cure the disease.


Homeopathic remedies are water-based or alcohol-based solutions containing tiny amounts of naturally occurring plants, minerals, animal products, or chemicals.

Hydrazine Sulfate

Hydrazine sulfate is a chemical commonly used in industrial processes, such as rare metal refining and the making of rocket fuel, rust-prevention products, and insecticides.

Insulin Potentiation Therapy

Insulin potentiation therapy (IPT) refers to the use of insulin along with lower doses of chemotherapy to treat cancer.


An analysis by several federal agencies found Krebiozen to contain mineral oil and a form of creatine. Creatine is a substance that occurs naturally in the human body and is sold as a dietary supplement.


Laetrile is a chemically modified form of amygdalin, a naturally-occurring substance found mainly in the kernels of apricots, peaches, and almonds.

Lipoic Acid

Lipoic acid is an antioxidant found in certain foods, including red meat, spinach, broccoli, potatoes, yams, carrots, beets, and yeast. It is also made in small amounts in the human body.

Liver Flush

Liver flushes are recommended by alternative medicine practitioners to detoxify or drive "harmful chemicals and germs" out of the liver and gallbladder.

Livingstone-Wheeler Therapy

Livingston-Wheeler therapy was an alternative cancer method that included vaccines, antibiotics, vitamin and mineral supplements, digestive enzymes, cleansing enemas, support group therapy, and a vegetarian diet.


Mangosteen is a tropical fruit native to Southeast Asia that is touted for its antioxidants, especially xanthones, a type of chemical in certain plants.


Melatonin is a hormone produced naturally by the pineal gland-- a pea-sized gland located just beneath the center of the brain-- in response to darkness.

Oxygen Therapy

Oxygen therapy introduces substances into the body that are supposed to release oxygen. The extra oxygen is believed to increase the body's ability to destroy disease-causing cells.


Poly-MVA is a liquid dietary supplement that contains various minerals, B complex vitamins, palladium, and amino acids and lipoic acid (see Lipoic Acid, and B Vitamins). The "MVA" stands for minerals, vitamins, and amino acids.


Pregnenolone is a steroid the body makes as a precursor to other steroid hormones.

Questionable Cancer Practices in Mexico

Some practitioners of alternative medicine who treat cancer using unproven and unapproved therapies -- especially those who market their treatment as a "cure" -- have moved across the Mexican border, where they are still able to attract US patients.

Revici's Guided Chemotherapy

It is a chemical therapy that varies for every patient but can include a chemical formula made of varying amounts of lipid alcohols, caffeine, zinc, lithium, and iron or a formula that contains fatty acids, selenium, magnesium, and sulfur.

Sea Cucumber

Sea cucumbers are marine animals that have a soft body with the shape and texture of a cucumber.

Shark Cartilage

Shark cartilage is extracted from the heads and fins of sharks.

Shark Liver Oil

Shark liver oil is taken from the liver of cold-water sharks.


Urotherapy is an alternative method that involves the use of a patient's own urine to treat cancer.