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MICOM: A Simplistic Cancer "Treatment"
Stephen Barrett, M.D.
- Sundance Nachez Mineral Water is said to be a "complex
mineral solution" that can benefit health by raising cellular
oxygen levels. It is marketed as MICOM in China, South Korea
and Mexico, and as O2 MYGA III in other countries. It is said
to have been discovered in 1998 by Bobby
R. Simpson, Ph.D., a molecular biologist who manufactured
and marketed it from his Web site. This product is known at MICOM
I.I.I.I. in China, South Korea and Mexico, and as O2 MYGA III
in other countries.
- It is (or was) also distributed by Somamed Internacional
S.A. De C.V. (formerly Reyan Internacionale S.A. De C.V.), of
El Paso, Texas, whose founder and president, Reynaldo Maldonado,
described himself as "a scientist and inventor, with
a solid background in electrical therapy." In 2001, the
company's Web site stated:
- Maldonado is "known for his inventions and 31 years
of research in health and healing."
- Scientists know that the primary reasons that cancers grow
and spread are: the semi-anaerobic (low oxygen) environment which
allows them to flourish; and, the inability of the immune system
to identify and eliminate the cancer cells before they begin
to reproduce. Let's look at these reasons. With regard to oxygen
level scientists know that the amount of oxygen in body cells
varies, depending on health and physical condition. For example,
healthy athletes have cellular oxygen levels of 9.2-9.8 ppm (parts
per million). The average individual has cellular oxygen levels
of 7.2-7.8 ppm, whereas a person suffering from illness or disease
may have a level of only 5-7 ppm.
- Scientists also know that raising cellular oxygen levels
to 10 ppm or higher, and maintaining that level for 15 hours,
would create an environment that would be lethal to many diseases,
- Damaged cells frequently become encapsulated in a membrane
which isolates them from the immune system. The membrane limits
the supply of oxygen creating a semi-anaerobic (low oxygen) environment,
in which these cancerous cells thrive, reproducing even more
- MICOM can raise cellular oxygen levels to 14-15 ppm, and
to maintain that level for 24 hours.
- MICOM can find and bond with a number of [free] radical ions
and other deleterious substances, which would be flushed out
of the body through the kidneys.
- MICOM can "tag" the cancer cells so they would
be recognized and eliminated by the immune system.
- Produce high cellular oxygen levels, reducing the amount
of oxygen that would normally have to be delivered by the blood,
lowering the demand on the heart and lungs, and thus greatly
reducing stress on patients with advanced cancer.
The above notions are false. Here are the facts:
- The oxygen that cells use is delivered to them through the
bloodstream. Blood oxygen levels are maintained within a narrow
range, and the body's supply of oxygen is obtained through breathing
and would not be doubled by taking a mineral concoction.
- The notion that cancer is related to low-oxygen levels was
discredited many years ago. Cancer cells do not use oxygen any
differently from normal cells . So even if cellular oxygen
levels were low and could be doubled, there is no reason to believe
that this would help the patient.
- The normal immune system does not recognize cancer cells.
So the idea that a mineral product can inspire it to scavenge
and destroy cancer cells is nonsense. So is the idea that cancer
cells are protected from the immune system by a membrane that
limits their oxygen supply.
In April 2001, the listed cost was $375 to $500 for a supply
for intravenous use, $875 for six 16-ounce bottles for 14 weeks
of follow-up treatment, and $29.95 per 16-ounce bottle for "preventative"
use. According to an e-mail message I received from a prospective
patient, the rights to MICOM were sold to Biopulse International,
which operates several Mexican clinics. However, I have found
no indication of this on the Somamed or Biopulse Web sites.
Although a disclaimer on the Web site's home page stated that
MICOM is not "intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent
any disease," the site also claims:
Since its recent introduction MICOM has been administered
to numerous individuals in eight countries. Language and cultural
differences prevent acquisition of information on many of the
users; but based on the information that has been supplied the
following statements can be made. There appear to be only two
outcomes for cancer victims who received MICOM: either their
cancer went into remission, by ceasing to grow, shrinking in
size, or disappearing entirely; OR, the victim's organs were
already too seriously damaged by the cancer or by previous treatments,
and they died of organ failure. In no case did the cancer continue
In an apparent effort to support it therapeutic claims, the
site provides brief "observations" of 16 patients treated
with MICOM. None of the descriptions provides enough detail to
reach an understanding of the patient's disease or progress. Some
of the patients received standard cancer treatment, which means
that it would be difficult or possible to separate any effect
of the MICOM from that of the standard treatment. Few of the descriptions
include measurable data, and none followed the patient's progress
long enough to determine whether their cancer was actually reduced
or eliminated. In some cases, improvement was declared after only
a few days.
In December 2000, after reading what I had written about MICOM,
Maldonado invited me to telephone him so he could arrange "a
full presentation with some very impressive results that you can
verify." I replied by asking for a list of MICOM's ingredients
and various documents that support his claims of effectiveness.
Although he promised to send them, I have received nothing.
On August 8, 2000, in Kelso, Washington, 52-year-old Edward
Steward died following MICOM administration by Joyce E. Brown,
R.N, a nurse whose license had expired 16 months previously. According
to press reports:
- Sreward, who had liver cancer, had traveled from Louisiana
to get Brown's treatment.
- Brown ran an at-home business called Nature's Friend, and
sold vitamins and herbal remedies in addition to administering
- One of Brown's former patients had a severe reaction to the
medication and spent several days on a respirator .
Brown's nursing license was summarily suspended in April 2001
 and revoked in August on grounds that she had (a) practiced
while her license was expired; (b) practiced without supervision
of a licensed physician, and (b) administered an unapproved drug
to cancer patients. In February 2002, a jury convicted her of
second-degree manslaughter. Victor Herbert, M.D., J.D., who testified
for the prosecution, stated that the man's death was caused by
high levels of potassium in the MICOM that stopped his heart.
Steward's daughter has filed a $5 million wrongful death suit
against Brown in Cowlitz County Superior Court.
After the conviction was announced, I was unable to locate
Web sites for Somamed Internacional or Reyan Internacionale. In
June 2002, Brown was sentenced to three months in jail and five
years on probation, during which she must refrain from any medical
or nursing procedures and may not operate the business known as
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This article was revised on June 27,
- Green S. Oxygenation
therapy: Unproven treatments for cancer and AIDS. Scientific
Review of Alternative Medicine 2(1):6-12, 1998.
- Maldonado R. Email to Stephen Barrett, M.D., July 22, 2000.
- Sunde S. Cancer
'cure' ended in death: Kelso case a reminder to be cautious with
alternative treatments. Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 14,
issues immediate license suspension to Kelso nurse accused of
using unapproved alternative cancer medication; one patient dies.
Washington State Department of Health News release, April 13,