What is 714-X?
The main ingredient in 714-X is made by combining chemicals with camphor, a natural substance that comes from the wood and bark of the camphor tree. Ammonia and salt are added to camphor to make 714-X.
What is the history of the discovery and use of 714-X as a complementary and alternative treatment for cancer?
714-X was developed in the 1960s in Canada, where it is still being made. Patients in Canada can get 714-X only from a doctor, for compassionate use (giving a treatment to patients before it is approved, because they have a life-threatening disease and there is no drug or other therapy to treat the disease). 714-X is used in Mexico and some western European countries. It is not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the United States (see Question 8).
What is the theory behind the claim that 714-X is useful in treating cancer?
The development of 714-X was based on the theory that there are tiny living things in the blood called somatids. According to this theory, some types of somatids are found only in the blood of people who have cancer or other serious diseases. These types of somatids are said to make growth hormones that cause cells to grow without control. The makers of 714-X state that by looking at the number and type of somatids in the blood, doctors can see if cancer is starting to form or can diagnose cancer and predict where the cancer will spread.
The theory states that cancer cells trap nitrogen needed by normal cells and make a toxic substance that weakens the immune system. 714-X is reported to help the body fight cancer cells in these ways:
- The camphor in 714-X is said to prevent cancer cells from taking nitrogen from the body's normal cells.
- 714-X is also said to help the immune system by increasing the flow of lymph, the colorless fluid that travels through the body carrying white blood cells that help fight infection and disease.
Some research studies are published in scientific journals. Most scientific journals have experts who review research reports before they are published, to make sure that the evidence and conclusions are sound. This is called peer review. Studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals are considered to be better evidence. No studies have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals to support the theory of somatids in the development of cancer. Research on the use of 714-X as a cancer treatment is discussed in Question 5 and Question 6.
How is 714-X administered?
714-X is usually given by injection near the lymph nodes in the groin. In some patients with lung or oral cancer, 714-X can be sprayed into the nose using a nebulizer (a device that turns liquid into a fine spray). The makers of 714-X do not recommend injecting it into a vein (intravenously) or taking it by mouth.
The makers of 714-X suggest the following:
- 714-X is more effective if given early in the disease, before chemotherapy or radiation therapy is begun.
- 714-X can be used along with conventional treatments.
- Vitamin B 12 supplements, vitamin E supplements, shark cartilage, and alcohol should not be used during treatment with 714-X.
Have any preclinical (laboratory or animal) studies been conducted using 714-X?
Research in a laboratory or using animals is done to find out if a drug, procedure, or treatment is likely to be useful in humans. Animal tumor models are used to learn how a cancer may progress and to test new treatments. These preclinical studies are done before any testing in humans is begun.
No laboratory studies of the safety and/or effectiveness of 714-X have been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. A few animal experiments have been done, but the results of these experiments have not been reported in scientific journals. The animal studies used a lymphosarcoma tumor model in rats and lymphoma tumor models in dogs and cows. 714-X was not found to be effective against cancer in these studies.
Have any clinical trials (research studies with people) of 714-X been conducted?
No clinical trials or other studies with cancer patients have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals to support the safety or effectiveness of 714-X. A number of anecdotal reports (incomplete descriptions of the medical and treatment history of one or more patients) and testimonials (personal reports from people who claim to have been helped or cured by the product) have been published in newspapers and other nonmedical literature. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) reviewed the records of some cancer patients who used 714-X. This review was done to decide if NCI should begin a clinical trial of the product. Not enough information was available to support recommending a trial. See the notice on the Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine Web site.
Have any side effects or risks been reported from 714-X?
The makers of 714-X claim that it is not harmful to humans. The reported side effects of treatment with 714-X are redness, tenderness, and swelling at the injection site.
Is 714-X approved by the FDA as a cancer treatment in the United States?
The FDA has not approved 714-X for use in the United States.