A Critical Look at George Zabrecky,
a Chiropractor Who Purports to Treat Cancer
Stephen Barrett, M.D.
According to the ImmunoTherapeutics Limited Web site:
George Zabrecky, D.C., M.D. is a clinical physician, utilizing integrative techniques for the treatment and prevention of chronic degenerative disease. He received his medical degree from Grace University, Charlestown, Nevis, in 1996. He was conferred his doctorate in chiropractic from the National College of Health Sciences, in Lombard, Illinois, in 1976.
He is currently the director of the Americas Medical Center in Ridgefield, Connecticut; founder and director of 'The Life Extension Institute, Ltd.', Belize, C.A.; and founder and former director of 'The Americas Research and Treatment Center', in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Doctor Zabrecky is a staff physician at ImmunoTherapeutics Limited, a cancer treatment center in Freeport, Grand Bahamas, applying immunological therapies for cancer and human cord stem cell programs for neurodegenerative disorders.
He has recently been appointed a board member of the 'National Foundation of Alternative Medicine', based in Washington, DC, which provides funding for innovative complimentary and alternative medical research. NFAM, a non-profit, also provides funding to improve foreign research facilities to allow international data acceptance. NFAM is the braintrust of former Congressman Berkley Bedell.
Dr. Zabrecky is medical advisor to the Marcus Foundation, an organization founded by the co-creator of 'The Home Depot', Bernie Marcus. The medical section of the Marcus Foundation, a 501C3 non-profit, provides funding at the highest level of contribution to numerous State, National, International, and private scientific research institutions
A 2003 issue of the National Foundation of Alternative Medicine stated that Zabrecky was "certified in acupuncture, meridian therapy, physiotherapeutics, radiology, clinical nutrition, proprietary pharmaceuticals, applied kinesiology, and homeopathy." .
Zabrecky holds a chiropractic license in Connecticut but is not licensed to practice medicine. His "MD" degree does not provide a legitimate basis for licensure in Connecticut.
In 1991, the Connecticut Board of Chiropractic Examiners concluded that Zabrecky had rendered had exceeded the scope of chiropractic practice and had rendered improper and incompetent care to a cancer patient (Donald Pereyra) who had consulted him and subsequently died. The Board fined Zabrecky $4000, suspended his license for six months, and required him to serve probation for a year, during which he was required to take a course in chiropractic principles .
Zabrecky was sued successfully by Pereyra's wife and the executor of Pereyra's estate. According to court records:
- In May 1987, Donald Pereyra sought treatment for back pain at Zabrecky's Life Extension Center, where, x-ray films revealed that Pereyra had a fractured vertebra caused by a malignant tumor.
- Zabrecky referred Pereyra to a surgeon in New York operated twice to stabilize Pereyra's spine and remove the tumor. Following the surgery, Pereyra underwent radiation treatments, but a CAT scan revealed that the cancer had spread to Pereyra's lungs.
- The treating physicians recommended chemotherapy after the radiation therapy had concluded and advised Pereyra that his chances of survival with chemotherapy were 50% or better. However, Zabrecky recommended that Pereyra forgo the chemotherapy and instead follow a course of treatment with two compounds manufactured in Germany, NeyTumorin and NeyThymin.
- The primary ingredient in both substances is animal protein. Neither is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and chiropractors are prohibited by law from prescribing drugs.
- Nonetheless, Zabrecky prepared a treatment schedule for Pereyra that progressed from oral administration of NeyTumorin to injections of NeyThymin. Zabrecky provided Pereyra with an initial supply of the protein compounds along with instructions as to how to inject them, and arranged for further supplies of the compounds to be delivered directly to Pereyra's home. Pereyra took the NeyTumorin orally and then by injection until November, 1987, when he switched to injections of NeyThymin.
- The cancer continued to spread throughout Pereyra's ribs, spine, right femur, clavicle, and sacrum. In early November, after additional cancer was discovered, radiation treatments were given daily. Pereyra's health began to deteriorate visibly at approximately the same time.
- In December, he was hospitalized because of jaundice-like symptoms. His physicians determined that the cancer had not yet spread to his liver and that something else was causing the symptoms. Pereyra then disclosed that he had been injecting himself with the protein compounds provided by Zabrecky. Pereyra's wife testified that Zabrecky had specifically instructed him not to tell his treating physicians that he was doing this.
- Pereyra died on December 17, 1987, approximately six weeks after he had begun the NeyThymin and five months after he first took NeyTumorin orally. An autopsy revealed that he died of necrosis of the liver caused by a toxic reaction to a foreign substance. The only drugs or medicine used by Pereyra between July, 1987, and his death were the compounds prescribed by Zabrecky. Medical examinations concluded that Pereyra died of liver failure and not cancer. The autopsy found no cancerous tissue in Pereyra's liver.
The lawsuit alleged a breach of the standard of care and treatment owed to Pereyra. The negligence alleged was the administering of drugs when statutorily prohibited, withholding of that fact from the treating physicians, the failure to diligently "follow" the decedent's chemical blood work, advising the decedent to use drugs that had "expired," administering therapy not approved by the FDA, engaging in the unlicensed practice of medicine, and inducing the decedent to forgo appropriate therapy. The jury awarded the plaintiff executor $20,000 for economic damages, which included medical bills and related expenses and lost earnings, and $150,000 for noneconomic damages, which included permanent disability, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life's activities, and awarded the plaintiff wife economic damages of $500 and noneconomic damages of $150,000 for loss of consortium .
NeyTumorin has been described as a combination of peptides and proteins of 15 different organs from fetal and young pigs and cows said to have been formulated in the 1960s by K.E. Theurer, who founded the Vitorgan-Pharmaceutical Company which produces and distributes it. Proponents claim that "physiological repair aids" from the cytoplasm of healthy animal organs induce a "hygiogenization" of the disturbed metabolism and that NeyTumorin has immunogenic and immuno-modulatory effects. A 1997 review concluded that its alleged mechanism of action and alleged effectiveness are unsubstantiated . In 1997, a case was reported of a cancer patient who was hospitalized with fever and chills following intravenous administration of NeyTumorin .
In 1992, the Connecticut Board of Chiropractic Examiners considered new charges involving treatment by Zabrecky of a cancer patient who allegedly saw Zabrecky for a dietary consultations during the time that Zabrecky's license was suspended. Records from the Board indicate that Zabrecky prescribed or recommended one or more of a long list of dietary supplements, recommended or ordered a nonstandard cancer screening test, and represented himself as still licensed. Using what strikes me as rather convoluted logic, the board concluded that Zabrecky "did not provide services that are included within the scope of chiropractic" but that because his license was suspended, it would not discipline him because he was not practicing as a chiropractor . The record is additionally interesting because it indicates that Zabrecky had a "Ph.D. degree" in nutrition from Donsbach University, a notorious nonaccredited correspondence school that closed in 1987 .
In 2006, Zabrecky was placed on probation for two years, during which he was required to stop representing to patients that he has an "M.D." degree or is permitted to practice medicine in Connecticut. He was also required to stop using immunogenomic testing as a screening test, stop treating cancer, and stop using provoked testing to screen for alleged heavy metal toxicity .
- The staff. ITC Web site, accessed May 28, 2004 and March 3, 2009.
- New board members. NFAM newsletter, Winter 2003, p 11.
- Connecticut Department of Health Services. Memorandum of decision, In re: George Zabrecky, D.C. Petition No. 880223-07-002, April 4, 1991.
- Shegog, et al. v. George Zabrecky et al., 36 Conn. App. 737; 654 A.2d 771, Deb 7, 1995.
- Allewelt MC, Hauser SP. Neytumorin as biomodular onco-therapy--allegations without documentation. Schweiz Rundsch Med Prax. 86:750-761, 1997.
- Ben-Horin S, Zaks N. Fever and chills following intravenous administration of NeyTumorin —an unconventional xenogenous derived peptides extract. Harefuah 141:433-434, 499, 2002.
- Connecticut Department of Health Services. Memorandum of decision, In re: George Zabrecky, D.C. Petition No. 920129-07-003, June 24, 1993.
- Barrett S. Some notes on Donsbach University. Quackwatch, revised May 28, 2004.
- Consent order. In re: George Zabecky, D.C., Connecticut Board of Chiropractic Examiners Petition No. 2003-0109-007-001, Nov 16, 2006.
This article was revised on March 3, 2009.