Be Wary of Simoncini Cancer Therapy
Rob Koene, M.D., Ph.D.
Sophie Josephus Jitta
Tullio Simoncini claims that cancer is caused by a fungus and can be cured with the administration of sodium bicarbonate. There is no scientific evidence to support this claim, and there is good reason to believe that the treatment is dangerous.
In October 2007, a charge was brought against the Clinic for Preventive Medicine (CPM) in Bilthoven, the Netherlands. This clinic houses a mixture of small enterprises, where physicians and nonphysicians offer a great variety of "alternative" treatments. A 50-year- old patient with breast cancer who was treated at this clinic was admitted to the emergency department of the University Medical Center of the Free University of Amsterdam, where she died within a few days. The attending physician refused to sign a death certificate, because the patient had died from a non-natural cause. It appeared that Simoncini had treated treated her at the Bilthoven clinic with injections and infusions of sodium bicarbonate. The clinic medical director denied any involvement, but two tenacious journalists of the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant succeeded in finding out what had happened. The Public Prosecutor and the Netherlands Health Care Inspectorate have opened an investigation of the case.
Because one of us (SJJ) is fluent in Italian, we could extensively search Italian Web sites for information on Simoncini's background. Currently living in Rome, he has been using unsubstantiated cancer treatments for 15 years. He calls himself a specialist in diabetes and metabolic diseases, but in 2003, his license to practice medicine was withdrawn, and in 2006 he was convicted by an Italian judge for wrongful death and swindling. This has not stopped him from continuing to provide his controversial treatments, not only in Italy, but apparently also in foreign countries, such as the Netherlands. He has appealed his conviction, but we could not find information on the status of this appeal on Italian Web sites.
Simoncini claims that cancer is “simply” an infection (il cancro è un fungo) caused by Candida albicans, an opportunistic fungus. He claims that this intruder causes formation of cysts and an uncontrolled cell division in several organs, such as the liver and lungs. To eliminate fungal colonies, he administers sodium bicarbonate by intravenous infusion, by mouth, or even with intra-arterial catheters close to the tumor site. Simoncini claims that the tumors will become smaller and subsequently disappear completely in half of patients thus treated. He does not give any proof for this and has never published any data in a scientific journal. He also claims that the treatment is not dangerous, because sodium bicarbonate is also used in standard medical procedures. He fails to mention that this treatment is applied only in patients with definite disturbances of water and mineral metabolism and under meticulous clinical supervision. The highly concentrated solutions that he administers within a short period can disturb the mineral balance in the body and lead to serious and even fatal complications.
Based on expert reports of two physicians, the Dutch Health Care Inspectorate has concluded that Simoncini's treatment is dangerous and should not be administered. Here is a translation of its news release:
News from the Netherlands Health Inspectorate
- The Cancer Is Not a Fungus Web site debunks several of Simoncini's claims.
This article is a modified version of an article originally published in Dutch on November 17, 2007 by the Vereniging tegen de Kwakzalverij (Dutch Association against Quackery). Dr. Koene is emeritus professor of Nephrology at the University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Ms. Josephus Jitta is assistant professor of Italian language acquisition at the University of Amsterdam. Both are board members of the Association.
This page was revised on December 13, 2008..