I sort of hate to bring them up again, but a reader sent along this link to a story at Geekwire, all about how there’s a Seattle company has raised $10 million for their new cancer-fighting device “that uses electromagnetic fields to mimic the effects of drugs” and yeah. . .it’s Nativis again. Here’s the last time I wrote about them, a couple of years ago.
I bring them up because I feel sure that the people who ponied up ten million don’t quite realize the extent to which the company’s claims raise the eyebrows of actual scientists. Nor did the writer at Geekwire, apparently, because the article has “explanations” like this:
In other words, the system works by detecting subtle changes in the electromagnetic fields that surround molecules, known as a molecule’s ultra-low radio-frequency energy (ulRFE) profile. These small charges are important as they are how molecules in the body interact with each other.
After collecting information on a cell’s profile, the company’s Nativis Voyager device can then single out specific kinds of molecules and alter their profile to have the same effect a drug would have when interacting with that molecule.
Right. This is more or less authentic frontier gibberish, a homeopathy helmet with a battery pack. I’ll give them credit for persistence, because the company has been pushing this for years now. Back in 2010 they were making noises about suing me because I (and the commenters here) kept saying that we could not see any way this technology could work. Back then we were promised all sorts of groundbreaking publications that would convince the world, and you won’t be surprised to hear that none of those have materialized.
Well, OK, there is a paper at the “Open Journal of Biophysics”, but that’s the thing. What the investors (and the occasional journalist) might not be grasping is that the effects Nativis is claiming are not things that should be scraping into some bottom-tier journal that no one’s ever heard of. If these things are robust and reproducible, the inventors should be out winning Nobel Prizes and astonishing the scientific community. I mean, they claim that a radio frequency signal can do the same thing as drug molecules in solution, and that each drug has a specific RF signal, which can be recorded and played back at will for therapeutic effect. That makes no sense to me at all, but if it were real, it would be revolutionary to say the least.
In case you’re wondering, the glioblastoma patient that was mentioned in that 2015 post as trying the Voyager device died a few months later, which is sadly right on schedule for the condition. Pretty much all GBM patients die very soon when the disease gets to that stage, and I can only note that my own belief is that wearing the Nativis Voyager headband neither accelerated nor slowed this particular patient’s disease in any way whatsoever. I await, with great interest, the actual clinical data that the company is apparently generating. That Geekwire article says that they’re also looking at other cancers, arthritis, and chronic pain, but that these trials are still “testing for safety”, which statement I find grimly amusing.
Well, ten million dollars. And clinical trials at a whole list of reputable – or formerly reputable – hospitals and health centers. And talks with an unnamed Japanese company. And an “evaluation agreement” to study Nativis’ device in agricultural applications, of all things. They’ve come quite a long way for a company whose scientific basis tends to make people roll their eyes or burst out laughing – I’ll give them that.