An Interview with Dr. Bill Cham
On the development of Curaderm BEC5, an extract of eggplant, for the treatment of non-melanoma skin cancer.
Dr. Cham, you have developed a cream called Curaderm BEC5 as an alternative treatment for skin cancer. Can you just start out by telling us what it is that you have accomplished?
What we have accomplished after over 25 years of preclinical and clinical work are:
1) A very effective safe treatment for malignant and non malignant skin cancers using naturally occurring glycoalkaloids extracted from the Devil”s Apple fruit and the eggplant fruit. When using these extracts in Curaderm BEC5 the results are superior to other cancer treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
2) A promising treatment for terminal internal cancers using the BEC glycoalkaloids. Clinical studies are current for this type of treatment.
What originally prompted you to look at Eggplant for an alternative treatment for cancer?
In the late 1970s in Brisbane Australia, I was introduced to a plant known locally as the Devil’s Apple plant. A veterinarian Merv Gilliver explained to me that farmers were using the juices of the fruit of Devil’s Apple plant to treat cancers that were growing in the eyes of Hereford Cattle.
On the world map, Brisbane in Queensland, Australia is positioned where the radiation of UV light is highest. It is for this reason, amongst others, that Queensland has the highest incidences of skin cancer in the world. It is for the same reason that Hereford Cattle who have white around their eyes get cancer known as ocular squamous cell carcinoma.
Although skeptical about Merv’s observations I decided to explore the Devil’s Apple. I asked myself. Where do you start with such a project? There are many hundreds of substances in plant material. Was there one or more substances within these hundreds that had anticancer properties, and if so, which one(s)?
At the time I knew that vincristine and vinblastine were showed to have anticancer properties. These two substances identified as alkaloids are extracted from the periwinkle plant.
If there was any substance in this project the following preliminary questions had to be addressed:
* Is there an anticancer ingredient in the Devil’s Apple?
* If so, what is the ingredient? Is it alkaloidal?
* Is the ingredient toxic, or is it safe enough to use?
* How does this ingredient work?
* What cancers if any does this ingredient work on?
Each of the above questions on their own may take many years to find the answers and the financial requirements are enormous.
As a matter of fact, an extremely small percentage of research and development (R&D) on a substance for medical treatment reach the stage of clinical application. The time required to achieve such an outcome takes between 15 and 20 years. The required funding exceeds $100 million. With these daunting prospects ahead, one would think it is madness to even consider to get involved, especially if lack of time (I was completing my Ph.D. thesis on cardiovascular disease part-time and was employed at the Department of Medicine full time) and virtually no funding was available. But what the heck, I had convinced myself that I was a reasonable scientist and that anything was possible if you believed strongly in it and you applied yourself.
Thank goodness I had the full support of my wife Anita and my son Karim who was just completing his high school. Anita was engaged in her hobby breeding and training German Shepherd dogs quite successfully.
Realizing that virtually all plants have different alkaloids I decided to identify and characterize the alkaloids from the fruit of the Devil’s Apple plant. Using appropriate scientific instrumentation I was able to determine that the alkaloid in the plant material was solasodine, moreover I found that of only a small quantity of solasodine was present in the free form but most of solasodine was bound (attached) to sugars.
I decided to study the effects of the Devil’s Apple extract on a mouse model that contained the deadly cancer known as Sarcoma 180. The reported studies with the periwinkle extracts vincristine and vinblastine were done whilst these alkaloids were in the free, unbound forms. I therefore decided to study the anticancer properties of solasodine also a free, unbound alkaloid.
The results were very disappointing and I could not find any anticancer effects whatsoever. I also treated the cancer in the mice with the crude extract that was purportedly used in the eyes of cattle with cancer. Again the results were negative. I realized that the project was not looking too promising. I deliberated over my approach before giving up and decided to examine this project objectively. I firmly believe that nature is in unquestionable balance. Whereas, in a particular natural condition, cancer can be conceived, I believe, in another particular natural condition cancer can be eliminated. In that vein, with my previous experiments I did not truly study the naturally occurring glycoalkaloids, only the hydrolysed alkaloid solasodine product. Sets of new experiments were conducted. I now injected BEC, which was the purified mixture of glycoalkaloids as they occurred naturally in the Devil’s Apple, into mice with the deadly Sarcoma 80 cancers. In this case the results were very different.
The BEC was very effective in treating the deadly cancer. Not only did the BEC prolong the life of the cancer containing mice. The BEC actually cured the mice from the deadly cancer. The mice that originally had the cancer when treated with the appropriate dose of BEC were cancer symptom-free and they had a normal life span when compared with normal untreated mice.
I finally had some evidence that BEC had promising anticancer properties. The next step was to embark on the toxicity of BEC.
These studies showed that at the concentrations of BEC used to eliminate cancer, BEC was safe. Subsequently a whole battery of studies were done to show that in cell culture BEC would kill a wide variety of cancer cells without harming normal cells. Patents were then applied for to cover our observations and claims. We started to publish our research work in peer reviewed medical scientific journals. We also showed that BEC was not mutagenic and did not cause cancer. This is important because a substance although curing one type of cancer could also cause a different cancer.
At this stage I was guardedly very optimistic with the BEC research. I was also aware that studies in whole animals did not always translate to the same results when applied to human beings, although the human cancer cell culture work was excellent.
I now wanted to extend the anticancer observations to humans. The model was staring me directly in my face: Skin Cancer. The state I was living in was the capital of skin cancer.
What a good model to study. I could apply BEC in certain formulations and clinically observe the effects of BEC on two types of malignant cancers BCC and SCC. Other premalignant tumors such as keratoses could also be investigated. Importantly, biopsies of the skin cancers, before, during and after BEC treatment could be studied under a microscope.
The end result of the skin cancer trials was that BEC in a formulation now known as Curaderm BEC5 was an excellent treatment for skin cancers.
Is Curaderm BEC5 actually a cure for skin cancer?
When the skin cancers were treated for 8 weeks 78% success rate was obtained whereas 100% success rate was obtained for 12 weeks treatment under the protocol conditions of the clinical trial.
Treated patients were followed-up for over 5 and 10 years post treatment with no recurrences. Thus by medical definition if the treated cancer does not come back after 5 years treatment it is regarded as a cure. So, yes, Curaderm BEC5 cures skin cancers.
Independent clinical trials at10 Hospitals in the United Kingdom confirmed our observations. Curaderm BEC5 was effective, safe and only killed the cancer cells without causing harm to normal cells. The cosmetic end result when all the cancer was replaced with normal cells during the treatment was most impressive.
The most intriguing discovery was the establishment of how and why BEC selectively kill the cancer cells without harming normal cells. This was a first ever observation and puts BEC in a unique anticancer class of compounds.
We have subsequently shown that the BEC glycoalkaloids were also in the eggplant.
Thus the BEC had undergone:
* Drug discovery and development
* Phase I clinical evaluation
* Phase II clinical evaluation
* Phase III clinical evaluation
* Phase IV or post marketing clinical evaluation
All with excellent results. ”
Is the effectiveness of Curaderm scientifically proven?
We have published over 20 articles on this subject in scientific journals. Our observations have been confirmed and extended by a plethora of independent scientists worldwide who have recognized and cited our work in their scientific publications. To date there have been no publications refuting our published articles, they had all been supportive.
Why hasn’t everybody heard of it then? Why is it not prescribed by every dermatologist in America?
Scientists throughout the world have read about it and have published many papers citing us as the original inventors. Initially Curaderm was available over the counter in Australia. Over 50,000 patients had used Curaderm. The dermatologists in Australia lobbied against its use and forced the government to put it on prescription. In Australia if a product is on prescription it is not allowed to be advertised and so the public was unaware of its existence.
We understand that Curaderm made it through the Australian approval process. What happened then?
After it was put on prescription its availability reduced dramatically. We have only recently obtained approval from the Health Department in Vanuatu to classify Curaderm BEC5 as an over the counter preparation for the treatment of non melanoma skin cancers. This then allows the product Curaderm BEC5 to be available world-wide without prescription with the proviso that the product must be shipped to the end user who is allowed to have a 3 months supply. So it is only recently that this excellent product is now available worldwide for the treatment of skin cancer.
Why do you choose to live in Vanuatu and operate your manufacturing there?
I live in Vanuatu, first of all because it is a beautiful country and I have good support from the government which is essential for manufacturing purposes.
What is it like living there? Do you have family? What do you do for fun?
Compared to the rest of the world it is relatively untouched, relatively underdeveloped with beautiful tropical rain forests and the locals are very friendly. Last year Vanuatu was voted internationally as the happiest country in the world.
I do have a family, my son is in Australia and my grandchildren are in New Zealand and in Australia for their education.
I enjoy farming and have a property where I grow fruit trees, have livestock and I am about to start an aquaculture project.
I have a very supportive family who have endured some challenging times from unexpected fronts such as Health Departments, dermatologists etc. My wife Anita breeds German Shepherd dogs for showing, corrective services and general police work. My son Karim is in the heavy equipment industry. I have three grandchildren Kai is attending the university, Aruba is finishing off high school and hopes to attend university next year and finally, Lane who is at primary school. My family is a most important part of my life.
Do you use nutritional supplements? Have you found any to be especially useful for good health?
Being involved with so many projects and perhaps not always sticking to an appropriate dietary regime, I think it is important to supplement the body with substances that the body cannot make.
Therefore I supplement my body with the essentials such as multivitamins. I have now reached the stage in which vain kicks in and I am now interested in what is known as age-breakers. This nutritional supplement breaks crosslinks that form between proteins.
Crosslinks between sugar and proteins appear to accumulate as we get older and this contributes to the aging process. Thus, by breaking these crosslinks the aging process is demised and reportedly may be reversed. Time will tell whether this is effective or not and this stage I am prepared to check it out at the concentrations of the age breaker that have proven to be safe.
What inspired your interest in medicine?
I really started off studying and majoring in Chemistry. Subsequently I got interested in Biology and also majored in Biochemistry. I did all my studies part-time. I obtained a post at the Medicine Department and that’s how my interest in Medicine started. I subsequently did my Ph.D. in Medicine.
As you will see with my C.V. I have been fortunate to have published over 100 scientific articles. My background in Chemistry, Biochemistry and Medicine has contributed to me having an open, wide approach in science.
Can you talk a little about why the issue of skin cancer has become so important to you?
My ultimate goal at the time was to investigate BEC for the possible treatment of terminal internal cancers, and the results obtained so far are very promising. In order to reach to that end point I studied the effects of BEC on skin cancers to prove the safety and efficacy of BEC.. The results on skin cancers have been so outstanding, that as a matter of fact, BEC therapy for a wide range of skin cancers is more effective than other skin cancer treatments such as surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
One very good direct comparison between surgery and BEC therapy can be seen in figures 5-12 and 5-15 and Table 5-1 in my book The Eggplant Cancer Cure. A treatment for Skin Cancer and New Hope for Other Cancers from Nature’s Pharmacy.
It would be irresponsible of me if I did not pursue the skin cancer project to the end to establish its role for humanity. This I have done for over a quarter of a century and I do not regret doing so because this BEC therapy has saved lives and body parts such as eyes, noses, ears etc.
In your Eggplant Cancer Cure book you say sunlight causes skin cancer. Is it just all about sunlight, and if that’s true, what do you recommend to people to help them prevent skin cancer?
I am glad you have posed this question.
There is convincing evidence that sunlight causes skin cancer and it is the UV light of the sun radiation that is cancer inducing.
There are 5 main factors that influence the risk of skin cancer:
* skin pigment and ability to tan
* exposure to chemicals
* amount of exposure to sunlight, and
* people who have had organ transplants and are on immuno-suppressive drugs are prone to developing squamous cell carcinoma
Much emphasis has been put on the amount of exposure to sunlight and indeed this is very important.
Sun exposure can be reduced by changing patterns of outdoor activities to reduce time of exposure to high-intensity UV radiation (the sun is strongest from 11am to 3pm), wearing protective clothing (such as long sleeves and hats) when exposed to sunlight, and by using adequate amounts of sufficiently ‘appropriate’ protective sunscreen.
Sunscreen is not a substitute for avoidance of sun exposure and indeed most if not all sunscreens contain either an organic chemical compound (such as oxybenzone and others) that absorbs UV light or an opaque material (such as Titanium dioxide or Zinc oxide) in micronized forms that reflect light, or a combination of both.
Ironically both organic chemical blocks and the mineral physical blocks have been shown to cause cancer. These compounds when activated by UV light produce free radicals that lead to cancer. It has been shown that these compounds do penetrate the skin. Thus these sunscreens could, while preventing sunburn, contribute to sun related cancers. Unfortunately there are no safe sun blocks available.
It is for these reasons we have developed a sunscreen, Curasol BEC, that in addition to the questionable sun blocks also contains BEC the same anticancer ingredient found in Curaderm BEC5 the treatment of skin cancers.
The concentration of BEC in the sunscreen Curasol BEC is much lower than is present in the cancer treatment cream Curaderm BEC5. Curasol BEC is for the prevention of skin cancer and Curaderm BEC5 is for treatment of skin cancer. Each have a separate role and must be used for that role only. The amount of BEC glycoalkaloids in Curasol BEC is too low to eradicate already formed larger skin cancers, but is high enough to kill skin cancer cells very early in their development.
Thus if the UV activated organic chemical blocks and/or the mineral physical blocks transform normal cells into cancer cells it is expected, as shown by cell culture studies, that the BEC glycoalkaloids will eliminate these early cancer cells.
When did you start using Curaderm BEC5 with patients?
Together with other medical doctors we started using Curaderm in the early 1980s. We published our findings for the 1st time in 1987. Many other publications for BEC and skin cancers followed after that.
What has been your success rate with Curaderm BEC5 cream?
Our published work show that twice daily application of Curaderm BEC5 to skin lesions under occlusive dressing resulted in:
* 78% success rate for 8 weeks treatment
* 100% success rate for 12 weeks treatment
Have you found that government regulations useful or big obstructions with your research for skin cancer?
Initially the government health regulators were helpful. They had approved to register Curaderm as an over the counter item which meant no prescription was required. However after a television program on Curaderm BEC5 with very satisfied skin cancer patients who had used Curaderm BEC5 for their treatment of serious skin cancers’ the dermatologists suddenly lost their patients who elected to use Curaderm BEC5 instead of surgery.
These dermatologists put pressure on the government health regulators who then decided to then put Curaderm BEC5 as a prescription only drug. Because of this no public awareness of Curaderm BEC5 was allowed and of course these dermatologists did not support Curaderm BEC5. Of course, I attempted to reason with the Health Authorities that Curaderm BEC5 should be widely available to the public. This fell on deaf ears. The health regulators reasoning was the glycoalkaloids BEC were toxic because they were extracted from the Devil’s Apple plant.
I then examined a whole host of solanum plant species and found that the exact replica of BEC was present in the eggplant. Most importantly the amount of BEC in one tube of Curaderm BEC5 is the equivalent to approximately 5g of eggplant (approximately 1 table spoon). So how can the BEC in Curaderm BEC5 be considered toxic, especially after we had done full toxicological studies with the BEC where it was shown that it was completely safe at the concentrations found in Curaderm BEC5. With this new information in hand I again approached the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to have Curaderm BEC5 back as an OTC (over the counter) item. The TGA said they would get back to me. I have been waiting for over 8 years but they have not responded to my request. I finally gave up on them and sought and obtained registration of Curaderm BEC5 as an OTC in the Republic of Vanuatu. The support by the Health Authorities in Vanuatu has been excellent.
Would you believe that the Health Authorities in Australia instructed their Health care worker from Australia to do a raid at the premises of a distributor in Vanuatu and threatened prosecution?
The Health Authorities in Vanuatu did not stand for this and because it is now registered in Vanuatu for non melanoma skin cancers it is allowed to be sold directly to the end-user with a three month supply world-wide.
Are there plans to seek US FDA approval for Curaderm BEC5 cream. If not, why?
Although I have had bad experience in Australia I would welcome the opportunity if in the US the FDA could consider approval of this much needed product, and I would welcome the right body to assist in achieving this.
What is the most difficult challenge to having more people use Curaderm BEC5 cream to treat skin cancer?
Although Curaderm BEC5 is very effective and safe we must not forget that we are dealing with cancer. The difficult challenge is to get the message across to health professionals to supervise the treatment with the patients.
To that end we have published a substantial number of scientific papers on BEC. Moreover, many other scientists have confirmed and extended our observations. Independent clinical trials at 10 hospitals/universities in the UK have confirmed the efficacy of BEC in clinical settings with outpatient subjects.
As a scientist I have done my part, now it is up to others to ensure more people have free informed access to Curaderm BEC5.
What are you currently working on?
There are three main medical projects that I am involved in:
1. Continuation of BEC clinical trials for terminal internal cancers. The results so far are very, very promising.
2. Cardiovascular Disease treatment. My Ph.D. thesis surrounds a delipidation procedure which has been shown to cause regression of atherosclerosis in animals. This technology has been licensed out to a public listed company in the US who has recently completed a phase I trial in humans at the Washington Hospital. The studies show that the procedure is safe and regression of atherosclerosis is obtained. We have published many scientific articles on this subject.
3. We have applied the same delipidation procedure to lipid enveloped viruses and in animals we have shown that we can inactivate potent viruses such as SIV (related to HIV in humans), hepatitis and other lipid associated viruses. The delipidation procedure may be applicable for treating and preventing (by vaccination) infections diseases such as HIV. This technology has also been licensed out and we have published many articles on this subject. I have great expectations with this project.
Is there anything I haven’t asked about that you would like to add?
I would like to thank all of the scientists and public who have contributed so much to these projects and last but definitely not least Tania my confidante who has stood by me throughout all experiences.