Early Day Motion 285: Effect of Homeopathic Remedies on Breast Cancer Cells

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Early Day Motion 285: Effect of Homeopathic Remedies on Breast Cancer Cells was an Early Day Motion proposed by David Tredinnick on 21st June 2010. It was one of four Early Day Motions supporting homeopathy proposed by Tredinnick at the same time, the others being EDM 284: BMA Annual Representative Meeting Motions on Homeopathy, EDM 286: Homeopathic Medicines in the Treatment of Moderate to Severe Depression, and EDM 287: Homeopathy and Chronic Primary Insomnia.

The motion stated:

"That this House welcomes the study published in the International Journal of Oncology, 2010 Feb; 36(2): 395-403 which revealed that homeopathic remedies have a beneficial effect on breast cancer cells; notes that researchers at the University of Texas conducted an in vitro study to determine whether products prescribed by a clinic in India have any effect on breast cancer cell lines; further notes that the researchers studied four ultra-diluted remedies, carcinosin, phytolacca, conium and thuja against two human breast adenocarcinoma cell lines, MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 and a cell line derived from immortalized normal human mammary epithelial cells, HMLE; observes that the remedies exerted preferential cytotoxic effects against the two breast cancer cell lines, causing cell cycle delay/arrest and apoptosis; believes that the findings demonstrate biological activity of these natural products when presented at ultra-diluted doses; and calls for further research in this important area."

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Background

The study mentioned in the motion was Frenkel et al, Cytotoxic effects of ultra-diluted remedies on breast cancer cells, International Journal of Oncology, Volume 36 Number 2 (February 2010).

The study had already been examined by skeptical bloggers at The Skeptics’ Book of Pooh-Pooh (where a commentor claiming to be one of the authors said she has asked that her name not be included on the paper), and at Respectful Insolence.

The lead author of the paper, Moshe Frenkel, is the founder and director of Integrative Oncology Consultants.

Amendment

An extensively amended motion, EDM 285A1, was proposed by Julian Huppert. The amended motion stated:

"That this House welcomes the study published in the International Journal of Oncology, 2010 Feb; 36(2): 395-403 as an example of the failure of adequate scientific peer review because the paper provides no statistical analysis to support any conclusion, indicates that the experimental control, 87 per cent. alcohol solution, was itself toxic to the cell cultures, does not illustrate or explain the different chromatographic profiles of the solvent and the test substances, and does not provide sufficient data to allow proper evaluation of the study; notes that the lead author has retired and runs a homeopathy website which falsely claims that homeopathy is as effective as a conventional chemotherapy agent, Taxol, in treating breast cancer; further notes that one of the authors, Alison Pawlus, has publicly disowned the paper; regrets that isolated poor-quality studies are cited by proponents of homeopathy to endorse dangerous and exploitative cancer-curing claims in the face of overwhelming weight of scientific evidence against them; and agrees with the conclusions of the Science and Technology Select Committee's Fourth Report of Session 2009-10, Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy HC45 that putting patients through pointless further clinical trials, and the spending of scarce public sector funds on research into homeopathy cannot be justified."

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List of signatories

The original motion was signed by 16 MPs:

The following MPs signed, but later withdrew their signatures:

Amendment

The amended motion 285A1 was signed by 10 MPs: