BOTHELL, Wash. -- A naturopathic physician who practices in Bothell is suspended and facing charges of misleading cancer patients.
Dr. John Catanzaro owns the Health and Wellness Institute of Integrative Medicine and Cancer Treatment.
In his business website's video, Dr. Catanzaro describes cancer vaccines he has developed. It's a least one of those vaccines that now has the naturopath suspended.
In documents filed by the Washington Department of Health, Dr. Catanzaro is accused of treating cancer patients with an experimental vaccine but never telling them the treatment was an experiment, or that he lacked necessary approval from the FDA.
According to the documents, there's no proof the treatment is even effective.
"If that allegation is indeed found to be true, I think that's very unfortunate. Cancer patients are very vulnerable and very scared about what's happened to them and unfortunately can be taken advantage of in certain cases," explained Dr. Jane Guiltinan.
Dr. Guiltinan serves as Dean of the School of Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University where she met Dr. Catanzaro while he completed his degree.
If the investigation proves true, she says she's disappointed any Bastyr University graduate would violate such serious rules of conduct, essentially experimenting on patients without telling them.
"They need to be fully informed. They need to be allowed to say 'yes' I do want to do this or 'no I don't.' They need to know what the possible risks are," Dr. Guiltinan said.
The documents also cite Dr. Catanzaro for not performing thorough clinical exams or keeping adequate patient records, ultimately calling the treatment a risk for patients, and his use of it, unethical, lowering the standards of his profession under the guise of hope for cancer patients.
According to the Department of Health, Dr. Catanzaro has not yet notified his patients but has the responsibility to do so.
He has 20 days to request a hearing and contest the charges.