DiStefano, a licensed nutritionist, and Daniel Mayer, an osteopath,
had two Florida clinics in which they administered a product called
Albarin, an extract of aloe vera, to cancer patients. Albarin had
been developed by Ivan Danhof, M.D., Ph.D., a retired professor of
medicine known as the “father of aloe vera” because he had spent
much of his career researching the plant’s properties. After two
decades of research, he developed the intravenous extract, which
proved highly effective against cancer. The clinical program was
part of an investigational new drug (IND) application Danhof had
submitted to the FDA.
to an article by John Hammell in the April 2002 Life
Extension, DiStefano and Mayer did no advertising and
charged only $1,200 for a series of forty treatments, or as many as
the patient needed for remission — less than the cost of one
chemotherapy treatment. They turned no one away for financial
reasons. They had a remission rate of 94% in the first hundred
patients, who came from hospices, and 80% overall.
in Texas, was about to file data from these cases to support his IND
application when the FDA raided the clinics and closed them down, in
direct opposition to the wishes of the patients there. One said to
the FDA agent in charge, “We’re all adults here, making
free-will choices. Why don’t you get out of here and leave us
alone?” To which the FDA agent replied, “This will be your last
treatment!” A number of the patients demonstrated repeatedly at
the Tampa federal courthouse, and eight were dead by 2002.
FDA conducted the raid because it had received complaints about the
treatments — but not from patients. The complaints were from local
oncologists, who regarded the clinics as competition. Apparently
satisfied with putting the clinics out of business, the FDA did not
prosecute DiStefano, Mayer, and Danhof.