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Cancell/Cantron/Protocel (PDQ®)

  • Last Modified: 01/18/2013

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Questions and Answers About Cancell

  1. What is Cancell?

    Cancell is also called Sheridan’s Formula, Jim’s Juice, JS–114, JS–101, 126–F, and "Cancell-like" products (Cantron and Protocel). It is a liquid that was promoted as a treatment for cancer and other diseases. Cancell was made using different mixtures of ingredients, mainly by two companies, since the late 1930s.

    None of the common chemicals in these products is known to be effective in treating any type of cancer.

    Since 1989, it has been illegal in the United States to make, sell, or give Cancell as a treatment for any disease. Mixtures similar to Cancell, such as Cantron and Protocel, are available as dietary supplements. (See Question 8.)

  2. What is the history of the discovery and use of Cancell as a complementary or alternative treatment for cancer?

    Cancell was first made in the late 1930s by James V. Sheridan, a biochemist who called the mixture Entelev and gave it free to cancer patients. In 1984, another company began making Entelev under the name Cancell. That company gave it free to patients with cancer, AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), and other conditions.

  3. What is the theory behind the claim that Cancell is useful in treating cancer?

    The exact ingredients used to make Cancell are not known. One sample of the liquid mixture Cancell was found to contain 12 different ingredients, none of which is known to be helpful in treating any type of cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has listed the following ingredients in Cancell:

    The first maker of Cancell said the ingredients work together by changing cancer cells so they are seen by the body as "foreign" and are destroyed. The second maker stated that Cancell changes cancer cells so they “self-digest” and are replaced by normal cells. The waste matter made by this self-digestion was said to be passed from the body in urine, sweat, and other body fluids.

  4. How is Cancell administered?

    Cancell has been taken by mouth, inserted into the rectum, or applied to the skin of the wrist or the ball of the foot. Patients taking Cancell were advised by the makers to take bromelain to help digestion and to avoid high doses of vitamin C and vitamin E. Makers of Cancell stated that vitamins raise the energy of the cell while Cancell lowers it.

  5. Have any preclinical (laboratory or animal) studies been conducted using Cancell?

    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. These preclinical studies are done before any testing in humans is begun. 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.

    The National Cancer Institute (NCI) did animal studies on Cancell in 1978 and 1980 and laboratory studies in 1990 and 1991. Laboratory studies using human tumor cells concluded that Cancell could not be taken in doses high enough to kill cancer cells in the body. The NCI decided that Cancell did not show enough anticancer activity to continue the studies. See the PDQ health professional summary on Cancell/Cantron/Protocel for details on the results of these studies.

    The makers of Cancell reported doing animal studies with the liquid mixtures, but none of these studies have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. No information has been given on these studies, beyond stating that some of the studies tested the toxicity (harmful and unwanted side effects) of Cancell.

  6. Have any clinical trials (research studies with people) been conducted using Cancell?

    No clinical trials of Cancell have been reported. The makers of Cancell have stated that more than 15,000 patients have used the mixture and that it is safe and effective in treating 50% to 80% of all cancers. Their findings have not been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Testimonials (information given by people who state that they have been helped by a particular treatment or product) and anecdotal reports (incomplete descriptions of the medical and treatment histories of one or more patients) have been made available by the manufacturers.

  7. Have any side effects or risks been reported from Cancell?

    The company that made Cancell stated that the side effects of the mixture include feeling tired during the first few weeks of treatment. Nausea is also a reported side effect. One patient who took more than the maker's advised dose reported diarrhea that lasted for a few hours.

  8. Is Cancell approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use as a cancer treatment in the United States?

    Cancell is not approved for use in the United States. In 1989, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration judged Cancell to be a new, unapproved drug. The FDA requested and received a court order making it illegal for manufacturers to send Cancell across state lines. The mixture may no longer be made, sold, or given to patients as a treatment for cancer or other diseases.