GcMAF (or Gc protein-derived macrophage activating factor) is a protein produced by modification of vitamin D-binding protein.
Biochemically, GcMAF results from sequential deglycosylation of the vitamin D-binding protein (the Gc protein), which is naturally promoted by lymphocytes (B and T cells). The resulting protein may be a macrophage activating factor (MAF). MAFs are lymphokines that control the expression of antigens on the surface of macrophages, and one of their functions is to make macrophages become cytotoxic to tumors.
Starting around 2008, GcMAF has been promoted as a cure for cancer, HIV, autism and other conditions.
Three out of four of the original studies authored by Yamamoto (published between 2007 and 2009) were retracted by the scientific journals in which they were published in 2014, officially due to irregularities in the way ethical approval was granted. Retraction reasons also included methodological errors in the studies. The integrity of the research, conducted by Nobuto Yamamoto and colleagues, that originally prompted claims regarding cancer and HIV has been questioned.
The UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and Cancer Research UK has warned the public about spurious claims of clinical benefits, misleadingly based on reduced levels of the alpha-N-acetylgalactosaminidase enzyme (also known as nagalase), whose production might be increased in many cancers.
In 2014 the Belgian Anticancer Fund has communicated concerns about published studies on GcMAF by Yamamoto and colleagues.
In 2015 the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) closed a factory in Milton, Cambridgeshire owned by David Noakes’ company Immuno Biotech manufacturing GcMAF for cancer treatment. In September 2018 Noakes pleaded guilty to manufacturing a medicinal product without a manufacturer’s licence, selling or supplying medicinal products without market authorisation, and money laundering.
As of 2014 an Israeli company called Efranat was running a clinical trial of GcMAF in people with various kinds of cancer at a hospital in Israel. As of December 2017 Efranet had obtained an orphan designation from the FDA for use of GcMAF in recurrent respiratory papillomatosis and said that it was conducting a Phase I trial in Israel.
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- Yamamoto, N.; Suyama, H.; Nakazato, H.; Yamamoto, N.; Koga, Y. (2014). “Retraction Note to: Immunotherapy of metastatic colorectal cancer with vitamin D-binding protein-derived macrophage-activating factor, GcMAF”. Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy. 63 (12): 1349. doi:10.1007/s00262-014-1616-x. PMID 25297451.
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- UK’s MHRA shuts down GcMAF plant (FDA News website)
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