Sunday, 4 November 2007

Poor reportage fires up Rife supporters

Via a Bad Science thread - Garage Invention Alternative for Chemo? - this ABC News piece, Cancer Victim Invents Possible Chemo Alternative, which tells the story of John Kanzius, a radio entrepreneur, engineer and cancer-sufferer, who has "invented the first generation of what would become a machine that uses radio waves -- not radioactivity -- to fight cancer". It goes on to mention the work of Dr. Steven Curley of the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas. "Curley and his colleagues at the center took Kanzius' made-in-the-garage invention very seriously. They began testing the radio-wave technology on animals, and say they completely destroyed liver cancer tumors in rabbits".
      As the comments page and Google show, this has brought out of the woodwork fans of Royal Rife, who see this as vindication of Rife's pseudoscientific radio-based therapy machines. Wrong. A look at the original news release, Radio Waves Fire Up Nanotubes Embedded in Tumors, Destroying Liver Cancer, shows that the ABC News story has omitted a critical detail: the radio waves alone don't do anything. The method works only when the cancerous cells are primed with a radio-absorbing substance, in this current work carbon nanotubes, which heats up and kills them. Kanzius' patent is readable online - Canadian Patents Database CA 2562625 - and makes perfectly clear that heat generation by an RF-absorbing target material is intrinsic to the method. This does not support claims for Rife machines to destroy cancerous cells by targeting purported frequencies of the cells themselves.

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