Team USA/Croatia: Megamin, an “activated” clinoptilolite cure-all was developed in Croatia in the late ‘90s and has been marketed throughout Eastern Europe, Germany, and Austria. Most of the research on the cancer and immune effects of clinoptilolite has been performed by scientists at the Ruđer Bošković Institute in Zagreb.
Tihomir Lelas: Before taking Megamin, this fellow was 400% less photogenic. I’m not sure how big a player he is with respect to Megamin, but he appears to be responsible at least in part for the process of “tribomechanical activation.” This article describes him as holding the patent on the relevant equipment. He also is named in a German patent for treating diabetes with “micronized clinoptilolites… blueberry leaves, bean hulls, avens, wild oats, Veronica herb, and/or sweet flag.” He once declared: “Od proizvodnje Megamina osiječka regija i cijelo hrvatsko gospodarstvo imalo bi velike koristi!” Which of course means: “Through manufacturing Megamin, the Osiječka region [where Megamin is produced] and the whole Croatian economy will benefit!”
Miroslav Čolić: Čolić is a major actor in the Croatia-US backbone. He appears on a number of TMAZ-related papers with Pavelić and other members of the Ruđer Bošković Institute in Zagreb. But he graduated from Berkeley, went on to do a post-doc in Santa Barbara, and founded his own California-based company: Molecutec Corporation, which was later acquired by Aaron Etra, chairman of the New York City-based PhV Corporation (see below). It’s not clear if he has a stake in Megamin or not.
Krešimir Pavelić: A central player in the zeolite-as-nutraceutical world, Pavelić has an MD/PhD from the University of Zagreb, he had a Fullbright at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, and he’s currently director of the National Cancer Research Program of the Republic of Croatia. It’s not clear what stake, if any, he has in Megamin, but he’s listed as a member of the PhV Corp. Scientific Advisory Board. He’s co-authored a large number of papers with Čolić and others from the Ruđer Bošković Institute in Zagreb, which he is in charge of.
Aaron Etra: A New York attorney and real estate magnate and founder of PhV corporation, he acquired Čolić’s Molecutec corportation in 2003/2004. He’s no slouch: he has degrees from Yale, the Academy of International Law in the Hague, Columbia, and NYU. He’s also on the organizing committee of the international conference on mechanisms of action of nutraceuticals (ICMAN4), and he co-authored a post-conference report of ICMAN3 with Pavelić that mentions Pavelić’s in vitro work with TMAZ and cancer.
Ruđer Bošković Institute (Zagreb): Probably 90% of the published work cited on web sites by NCD zeolite, Megamin, and other zeolite proponents has come out of this institute, which is headed by Pavelić.
PhV Corporation (NYC): Chairman Aaron Etra describes PhV as “a life sciences company” aimed at developing “nutraceutical products … that are efficacious, science-based and tested.” With regard to zeolites, Etra says: “We are not currently testing products with zeolites but it is in our program.” Maybe with Kaufman’s patent in mind (see below), Etra added, “We have the use of zeolites as part of the PhV intellectual property and would test products using zeolites in the same way as we would test any compound or colloid using other components.”
When asked for his opinion on the efficacy of NCD zeolite, Etra responded “As an ethical nutraceutical company we [PhV] feel that anyone who puts out a claim for a product without fully testing it is not fulfilling their obligation to their consumers as a health care provider. We only put out something once we've tested it. Our feeling is that unless it passes muster in the full and appropriate sense, we won't make any claims for a product, nor should anyone else.”
The address listed on the PhV web site is the same building and floor as Etra’s law offices. The phone number listed on the site is disconnected.
Team LifeLink: The patent for using clinoptilolite as an anti-cancer agent is held by Harvey Kaufman and LifeLink Pharmaceuticals in Ohio.
Harvey Kaufman: This doctor filed a US patent in 2000 describing processed clinoptilolite as an anti-cancer substance. Although detox sites like to describe him as a lone biochemist who made an incredible breakthrough while laboring in his small Ohio lab, it's likely that he was inspired by reports from overseas about the commercial success of Megamin, which was already being marketed as an anti-cancer agent in Europe in 1999.
LifeLink Pharmaceuticals: This is Kaufman's Ohio corporation. As a result of a March 2004 agreement, Rik Deitsch's company, NDA consulting, acquired the exclusive rights to Kaufman's patent from LLP. Just ten days after acquiring that license, Waiora USA was incorporated in Florida. Kaufman/LLP is now suing Deitsch (see below) and Waiora for defaulting on their exclusive license with him. Court documents are available here if you're interested. It's not clear whether Kaufman is marketing some kind of zeolite product himself now that he's severed ties with Waiora.
Team Deitsch/Waiora: "Natural Cellular Defense Zeolite," another version of activated clinoptilolite in water, is produced and marketed by Waiora and connected companies.
Rik Deitsch: Chief honcho of NutraPharma Corp, president of NDA Consulting, chief scientific advisor to Waiora, this is the guy that made NCD zeolite happen. We've said plenty about Deitsch in a previous installment. Suffice it to say that we have no more evidence regarding the "hundreds of articles" he has supposedly published, his status as an "adjunct professor" at Florida Atlantic University, or any more information about the nature of the research he conducted at Duke University. At his request, we agreed to give him the opportunity to respond to our allegations of plagiarism, but he appears to have thought better of it. Deitsch worked with Cherelestein (below) at Rexall before starting NutraPharma.
Stan Cherelstein: Director of NutraPharma and CEO of Waiora. Waiora continues to be the leading, if not only marketer of zeolites as a dietary supplement in the U.S. You don't hear a lot from this guy around the web, although maybe he spends most of his time speaking directly to his downliners. He was controller for Phar-mor during a period when the company embezzled hundreds of millions of dollars and was subsequently sued by investors. He was subsequently a high-ranking executive at both of the nutritional supplement companies Rexall Showcase International (a division of Rexall Sundown) and Unicity. Rexall Sundown was sued in 2000 by the FTC for false advertising, but it's not clear if Cherelstein was involved.
Gabriel Cousens: Captain of his football team at Amherst, graduate of Columbia medical school, former resident at NIMH, certified as a Reiki Master, an adopted member of the Lakota Sioux Nation, an initiated teacher of the living Jewish way, founder of the Essene Order of Light, former member of the Board of Trustees of the American Holistic Medical Association, some day this guy is going to turn into a ball of pure light and float away forever. But until then, he's at the very top of the Waiora MLM tree, making a killing selling NCD through his web site, articles, and radio show. Still, it's hard not to respect the guy, even if he does charge $6420 for a 24 day spiritual juice fasting detox program.
The Waiora Management Team: Most of them seem to have been imported from directly from Rexall along with Deitsch and Cherelstein. They all have more than a decade of experience in sales and marketing.
The Waiora Downliners: Hundreds of individuals that are part of the Waiora network, many with their own websites advertising NCD Zeolite.
NutraPharma, NDA Consulting, ReceptoPharm: Various companies controlled either presently, or in the recent past by Rik Deitsch.
Freelance Friends and Foes
Jonathan Campbell:This doctor warns: “Don't Eat NCD ‘Zeolite!’” on his website, but his objections seem kind of off – something about the crystals having sharp edges. It turns out he’s selling his own natural therapies for cancer and other diseases, so it’s hard to know if he’s really just concerned about your health.
Ed “Pathguy” Friedlander: This MD from Kansas City delivers a scathing and informed review of Kaufman’s patent, Deitsch’s Scientific Research Monograph, and a few of the Croatian articles. He finally concludes: “Since this is a multi-level marketing scheme, the person who sells you the zeolite is probably sincere, well-intentioned and nice. I predict that the ringleaders will be prosecuted successfully.” From what I can tell, the “Pathguy” doesn’t seem to have any ulterior motive for his stance on the topic.
Mike “The Health Ranger” Adams: At first I could have sworn that this guy was acting as a consultant for Waiora, despite the fact that he claims to be 100% independent – his evaluation of NCD just seemed too good to be truly independent. After emailing back and forth, however, he’s convinced me that he’s a true believer. In email correspondence he explained that the positive review is a result of first-hand encounters with Dr. Cousen’s clients, as well being a reflection of his more general trust of Dr. Cousens.
Berislav Momcilovic:A Croatian MD/PhD, he published a paper in 1999 entitled “Megamin - faith, hope and placebo.” Unfortunately, only the abstract of the paper is available in English. When asked about the response to the article in Croatia, he writes: “Here in Croatia, the media overblow the issue on Megamin efficiency in cancer treatment. All this claims were unjustified so far. No, I didn't get any response from the Megamin manufacturers; they certainly didn't like my free-lance critical review...I am just asking a simple test to support that claims: Do a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled study. Period.”
Accompanying “Interview: Rik Deitsch” by Jake Reimer-