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714-X

Other common name(s): 714X

Scientific/medical name(s): trimethylbicyclonitramineoheptane chloride

Description

714-X is a substance containing camphor, nitrogen, ammonium salts, sodium chloride, and ethanol used as an 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 any 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, people with serious illnesses, such as cancer, carry tiny living particles in their bloodstream called somatids. They 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 diseases to regress.

It is claimed that cancer cells produce a substance called co-cancerogenic K factor (CKF), which protects cancer cells from the immune system. 714-X supposedly strips CKF by supplying the body with nitrogen 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. Typically, the cycle is repeated several times.

714-X is also 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. 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) to remove statements concerning 714-X from its public Web site.

The US 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 responsible for the development of disease, and he set out to find a way to eliminate or disable them.

In 1956, a French court convicted and fined Naessens for practicing medicine without a license. Naessens moved to Quebec and later developed 714-X. 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 14th in line. The "X" is the 24th letter and represents 1924, the year Naessens was born. Naessens claimed that the drug interfered with somatids and could stop or reverse the growth of tumors.

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 stated 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, which banned 714-X from being brought into the US. In 1996, after continuing to sell 714-X, the distributor was convicted of introducing an unapproved drug into interstate commerce and other charges. The case was appealed, but the district court upheld the sentence.

What is the evidence?

Although 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 medical records from patients treated with unconventional cancer therapies. This helps to find out if the patients actually had cancer, which standard treatments they received, and whether the unconventional treatment may have helped. Having 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, the research is still at a very early stage.

Are there any possible problems or complications?

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.

We do not know if or how 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, 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 ordered from our toll-free number (1-800-ACS-2345).

References

Barrett S. Fanciful claims for 714X. 2002. Available online at: www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/Cancer/714x.html. Accessed June 21, 2007.

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

Ernst E, Cassileth B. How useful are unconventional cancer treatments? Eur J Cancer. 1999;35:1610-1613.

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. Promoter of 714X Cure-All Faces Prison for Selling Unapproved Drug. FDA Consumer 1996. Available online at: http://www.fda.gov/fdac/departs/996_irs.html. Accessed June 21, 2007

National Cancer Institute Physician Data Query (PDQ) database. 714-X. 2004. Available online at www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/714-X/healthprofessional. Accessed June 21, 2007.

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Complementary/Integrative Medicine Education Resources (CIMER). 714-X. 2004. Available online at: www.mdanderson.org/departments/CIMER/display.cfm?id=43EF800D-0DAF-11D5-810D00508B603A14&method=displayFull&pn=6EB86A59-EBD9-11D4-810100508B603A14. 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.

Revised: 07/20/2007

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