A Cancer Drug From Sunny Thailand?

Some studies suggest that a vitamin supplement could protect against cancer.

ByABC News
June 5, 2009, 2:17 PM

June 7,2009 — -- Sookhaphahpdee Ltd., a little-known pharmaceutical firm in Bangkok, Thailand, has been working on a cancer treatments for decades and has amassed some extraordinary evidence for the effectiveness of its product Yaamet-Dor.

In 2007, the results of a a 4-year, population-based, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial that involved approximately 1,200 women were announced. It reported that Yaamet-Dor, at 1,100 units per day, led to a 60 percent reduction in cancer incidence.

When the study excluded cancers diagnosed during the first year, those more likely to have been pre-existing, Yaamet-Dor resulted in a 77 percent reduction in cancer incidence.

Other research also has suggested that the incidence of prostate, pancreatic and breast cancer is reduced among those taking at least moderate amounts of Yaamet-Dor.

Before there is a frenzy for Yaamet-Dor and a run on Sookhaphahpdee's stock, let me come clean. There is no Sookhaphahpdee Ltd. (the word means good health in Thai), but the alleged product Yahmet-Dor (Yahmet means pill, Dor is D) is real as are the results cited above.

Moreover, despite ever-increasing indications of its effectiveness, it is something for which no pharmaceutical company can charge you. Yahmet-Dor is simply vitamin D! Essential to a whole array of biological processes, it's available in inexpensive pill form and at still-less cost from the sun, say in Thailand or even in Central Park.

I should begin by recalling that supplements do not enjoy a good reputation.

Over the years many have been touted, the vast majority are ineffective, and some are harmful. Vitamins A, C and E have all failed to live up to their exaggerated early promise. And Quackwatch.com and other sites do a good, albeit sometimes over-zealous job of critically examining bogus claims about a variety of other supplements.

Normally I'm sympathetic to the debunkers. In the case of vitamin D, however, there seems to be too much evidence and too many tantalizing studies coming out almost weekly for a facile dismissal of the claim that it may significantly reduce the incidence of not only cancer, but also a host of other conditions.