MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

The aim of the paper (published in ‘HOMEOPATHY’) was to perform a systematic review of basic research of homeopathic high dilutions in cancer.

Following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guideline, we conducted a literature search in the database PubMed for original publications, from 2000 to 2018 and in English, on in vitro and in vivo experimental cancer models testing homeopathic high dilutions.

Twenty-three articles met the inclusion criteria-14 in vitro, eight in vivo, and one in vitro plus in vivo experimental models. Most studies were from India. Research prominently focused on cytotoxic effects involving apoptotic mechanisms. Intrinsic aspects of homeopathy should be considered in experimental designs to emphasize the specificity of such effects.

The authors concluded that fundamental research of homeopathy in cancer is still at an early stage and has mainly been performed by a few groups of investigators. The results point to an interference of well-selected homeopathic medicines with cell cycle and apoptotic mechanisms in cancer cells. However, these findings still need independent reproduction.

I happen to be a co-author of the PRISMA guideline and can assure you that this systematic review is very far from adhering to it. It borders on fraud to state otherwise; at the very minimum, the authors, the editor of ‘HOMEOPATHY‘, as well as the reviewers of this article are guilty of seriously misleading the public. Any reputable journal would have insisted that the abstract of this paper makes the following points very clear so that misunderstandings are avoided:

  1. There is no valid hypothesis to suggest that homeopathic high dilutions affect cancer.
  2. The included studies are mostly of poor or very poor quality.
  3. The results of such pre-clinical in vitro and in vivo experiments have little bearing on the treatment of human cancers.
  4. The fact that independent replications are missing suggests that these studies are irreproducible.
  5. The fact that most studies originate from the same research groups implies that homeopathy is not considered to be a viable avenue by rational thinkers.
  6. In the interest of cancer patients, the idea that homeopathy might be of any use in cancer needs to be discouraged.

In one of my last posts, I stated that research into so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) is fast becoming the laughing stock of serious scientists. This paper is an excellent example of this phenomenon.

 

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