President Dilma Rousseff signed Thursday (Apr.) the law authorizing the use of synthetic phosphoethanolamine by patients diagnosed with cancer, with the permission defined as being of public interest.
As clinical studies are still being conducted, the permission was granted exceptionally. The text of the law stresses that choosing the substance will by no means ban patients from their right to other methods of combating disease.
Patients who choose to use phosphoethanolamine, popularly dubbed “cancer pill,” will have to produce medical proof of their diagnosis, and sign a term of agreement and responsibility.
Despite the move, laboratories will only be permitted to produce, import or distribute the substance upon authorization from the Brazilian Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA).
Last year, due to the expectations surrounding the antitumor effect of phosphoethanolamine, the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation set up a work group to test and further investigate the effects of the substance and clarify whether it is effective in fighting cancer.
On March 30, the ministry released the first test results, and announced that the compound, produced by the University of São Paulo (USP), is not toxic if administered in the form of three 330-milligram pills a day. For this reason, the ministry suggested the legalization of the pill as a food supplement, also in an attempt to prevent smuggling and its sale in the black market.
The Brazilian government has $2.85 million in funds earmarked for research, of which some $570 thousand has already been spent. The animal testing phase is being concluded and should be followed by pre-clinical and clinical analyses in human beings.
Synthesized over 20 years ago, phosphoethanolamine was studied by USP professor emeritus Gilberto Chierice, who was associated with the university's Analytical Chemistry and Analytical Chemistry and Polymer Technology Group.
*Calima Boehm, from São Paulo, contributed to this article.
Translated by Fabrício Ferreira
Fonte: Agência Brasil.