Government Actions against Emanuel Revici, M.D.

Stephen Barrett, M.D.
December 17, 2018

Revici Cancer Control (also called lipid therapy and “biologically guided chemotherapy”) was based on the notion that cancer is caused by an imbalance between constructive (“anabolic”) and destructive (“catabolic”) body processes. Its main proponent, Emanuel Revici, M.D. (1896-1998), prescribed lipid alcohols, zinc, iron, and caffeine, which he classified as anabolic, and fatty acids, sulfur, selenium, and magnesium, which he classified as catabolic. His formulations were based on his interpretation of the specific gravity, pH (acidity), and surface tension of single samples of the patient’s urine.

Revici’s method of urinary interpretation was obviously not valid. The specific gravity of urine reflects the concentration of dissolved substances and depends largely on the amount of fluid a person consumes. The acidity depends mainly on diet, but varies considerably throughout the day. Thus, even when these values are useful for a metabolic determination, information from a single urine sample would be meaningless. The surface tension of urine has no medically recognized diagnostic value. In 1965, study team that closely followed about 30 of Revici’s cancer patients reported that his method had no value [1].

In 1972 the New York City Health Department warned the public away from Dr. Emanuel Revici and Trafalgar Hospital, where Revici was accused of treating hundreds of narcotic and barbiturate addicts with an untested selenium-containing product called Bioinar. City Health Commissioner Joseph A. Cimino said that the hospital had been admitting the addicts under diagnoses other than addiction—such as kidney disease or respiratory ailments, but that the patients’ charts showed that they had been treated only for detoxification [2]. The hospital, where Revici was a director, was suspended from the Medicaid program for fraud and closed permanently in 1979 because of financial difficulties [3].

In November 1972, the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission ordered the temporary suspension of over-the-counter trading in the securities of Camia Industries Corporation and Computed Scientific Systems, both of Brooklyn New York for a 10-day period. The suspension was ordered because of uncertainties related to the effect of the Health Department’s action on the business activities of Csmia and Coapudat. and unusual market activity in their securities. Bionar Corp was wholly-owned subsidiary of Cmpudat, which held the right. to commercialize the product, and Camin held a note that gave it the option to convert into an interest in Bionar Corp. [4].

In 1983, the New York State Board for Professional Medical Conduct charged Revici with practicing fraudulently by persuading three patients to believe he could cure them of cancer and advising them not to undergo treatment elsewhere [5]. In 1988, after many proceedings, he was placed on probation for five years with the requirement that he conform to the moral and professional standards of conduct of the medical profession. In 1992, he was charged with violating his probation by failing to perform adequate physical examinations, perform adequate follow-up examinations, and adequately document his evaluation and treatment of seven cancer patients. His license was revoked in 1993 [6].

  1. Lyall D and others. Treatment of cancer by the method of Revici. JAMA 194:165-166, 1965.
  2. Sibley J. Doctor accused of addicts’ care. The New York Times, Nov 1, 1972.
  3. American Cancer Society. Unproven methods of cancer management: Revici method. CA—A Cancer Journal for Clinicians 39:119-122, 1989
  4. Trading suspended in Camin Industries & Computed Scientific Securities. Securities and Exchange Commission News Digest, Nov 3, 1972.
  5. Statement of charges. In the matter of Emanuel Revici, M.D. Office of Professional Medical Conduct, Dec 22, 1983.
  6. Butler TT. Letter to Emanuel Revici and his attorneys. Nov 23, 1993.

This article was revised on December 17, 2018.