State suspends license of Bothell naturopath

The state Department of Health has suspended the license of a Bothell naturopathic physician, alleging that he duped patients into treatment with an unapproved experimental cancer vaccine.

John A. Catanzaro had been licensed as an naturopath in Washington since 1996. He is the medical director of HWIFC Cancer Research Group, a nonprofit started in 2007. It had been based in Mountlake Terrace but recently moved to Bothell.

The suspension of Catanzaro’s license was authorized by the state Department of Health’s oversight board of naturopathy on Tuesday.

The state health agency alleges that Catanzaro developed an experimental treatment for individual patients called an autologous peptide vaccine, made from the patient’s own body tissue, blood and serum, to help battle cancer.

Catanzaro did not disclose the experimental nature of the cancer treatment to his patients, who thought the vaccine was effective and that his research had been approved, according to the state agency.

Catanzaro has not submitted appropriate documentation for the cancer research or the vaccine as required by federal law, according to state health agency documents.

“A review of patient records raises serious questions concerning (the) standard of care provided to patients,” according to state documents.

Catanzaro could not be reached for comment Wednesday. He has 20 days to appeal the suspension of his license.

According to an online biography posted on the research group’s website, Catanzaro is a graduate of Bastyr University and served on Bastyr University’s Institutional Review Board of Research and Ethical Affairs from 1996 to 2002.

Carla Dewberry, a Seattle attorney representing Catanzaro, declined to comment.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com.

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