Bothell naturopathic doctor suspended, accused of duping cancer patients

BOTHELL -- State health officials say a Bothell doctor was giving unapproved "vaccines" to cancer patients without telling them the full story.  Now that physician has been suspended by the state, something that does not happen very often.

Some cancer patients turn to naturopathic physicians in addition to their oncologists. But the state says one of those alternative doctors is in trouble after he allegedly duped cancer patients into getting an experimental vaccine.

On his website, Dr. John Catanzaro talks about treating cancer patients.

“As for our cancer care is concerned, we do a lot of specialized immune support, specific type of vaccines that are tailored to a patients’ own genetics,” Catanzaro said.

The Washington State Department of Health is accusing the doctor of misleading his patients by giving them an unapproved vaccine. It was supposed to boost the immune system to help cancer patients fight the disease. Health officials say the doctor personally made each shot using a patients’ own DNA.

Q13 FOX News paid a visit to Catanzaro’s Health & Wellness Institute in Bothell on Thursday and was told he was not there and he was not talking about the case.

It's unclear how many people got the vaccine but the state says patients believed it was proven to work, and didn't know it was experimental.

“They were hoping that this would help make them better so I am not surprised that there was this inherent trust,” Dr. Julie Gralow said

Gralow is with Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. She says patients and their families should always get a second opinion and ask questions before receiving care.

“What is the data behind it? Is it proven to be safe?  Is it effective? Is there research? Those are the questions,” Gralow said.

When it comes to disclosure, Gralow says, it is the physician’s responsibility to share everything about the therapy.

Catanzaro graduated from Bastyr Universtiy in Kenmore. We spoke with the dean of Naturopathic Medicine at the school. The dean said Catanzaro was a good student but if these allegations are true she would be very disappointed that a former student would make these serious violations. Catanzaro has 20 days to respond to the allegations.