In DepthCancer Research

Brazil bill would legalize renegade cancer pill

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Science  01 Apr 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6281, pp. 18
DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6281.18

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Summary

A showdown over a controversial cancer therapy has intensified, pitting Brazil's scientists against its congress. Last week, responding to a clamor from politicians and desperate patients, the congress voted to legalize the production and distribution of synthetic phosphoethanolamine, even though the putative cancer drug has not been clinically tested or registered with the Brazilian Health Surveillance Agency. Scientists blast the legislation as a travesty. Apart from patient testimonials and a few preliminary studies in tumor cell lines and in mice, critics say, there is no evidence of the safety or efficacy of the compound, popularly known as the "cancer pill" or "fosfo." Several thousand patients are estimated to have taken it. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has until 13 April to decide whether to sign the bill into law.

  • * in São Paulo, Brazil