Chelation and Heart Disease Trial Suspended

The Associated Press reported (http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/science/6023151.html) a suspension of recruitment of new subjects for a federally-funded research project to test the efficacy of chelation therapy for the treatment of heart disease. Heart attack survivors were to be given high doses of vitamins and chelation therapy in a regimen involving weekly and then bi-monthly infusions over 28 months. Concern was expressed by physicians associated with

Citizens for Responsible Care and Research that research participants had not been properly advised of the risks of the therapy. Chelation therapy is normally used to rid the body of heavy metals, such as in cases of lead poisioning. It is also a popular "alternative medicine" treatment for many diseases. A review of chelation therapy can be found at Quackwatch: http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/chelation.html.

"More than half of the doctors running the study make money by selling chelation treatments," a potential conflict of interest, according to the article. The $30 million study, being conducted at over 100 sites, is funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.