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Livingston-Wheeler Therapy

Livingston-Wheeler therapy


Developed by Virginia Livingston-Wheeler, a U.S. medical doctor, this complex vaccine and nutrition-based cancer therapy assumes that cancer is caused by Progenitor cryptocides, a bacterium said to become active only when the body's immune system is weakened or stressed.


Livingston-Wheeler discovered Progenitor cryptocides during the 1940s. In the following decade, she developed her theory that cancer is caused by this bacterium, and developed a vaccine against it. In 1969, she founded what is now the Livingston Foundation Medical Center in San Diego. In the years since then, this center claims to have treated more than 10,000 patients. Livingston-Wheeler died in 1990, but her clinic continues to offer the Livingston protocol to about 500 patients a year.


An analysis by Livingston-Wheeler showed an 82% survival rate among 62 of her patients with confirmed diagnoses of various cancers. Of those 62 patients, 37 survived three years or longer. However, a later, independent study found no significant difference between survival rates among her patients and those at a university cancer center offering conventional therapy. Versions of the Livingston protocol are also offered to patients with lupus, arthritis, scleroderma, allergies , and stress-induced syndromes.


Treatment is commenced during a 10-day period at the Livingston Foundation Medical Center in San Diego, and continued by the patient afterward at home. In addition to vaccines, Livingston treatment may also employ vitamins, digestive enzymes , sheep spleen extract, liver extract, antibiotics, a vegetarian diet, and detoxification . Traditional drug therapy may also be used, so long as it continues to enhance the body's immune system. In addition, a staff psychologist teaches strategies for managing emotional trauma, and visualization techniques are used to improve the immune response. The Livingston Center also offers a two-day annual "immunological diagnostic program" focused on preventative health.


At the beginning of the 10-day program, patients undergo a physical examination and diagnostic tests including blood counts, electrolytes, chemistry, urinalysis, thyroid and liver function, tumor markers, and hormone levels.


In its fact sheet on Livingston-Wheeler therapy, the U.S. National Cancer Institute "strongly urges cancer patients to remain in the care of qualified physicians who use accepted methods of treatment or who are participating in carefully conducted clinical trials (treatment studies). The use of unconventional methods may result in the loss of valuable time and the opportunity to receive potentially effective therapy and consequently reduce a patient's chance for cure or control of cancer." The U.S. Congressional Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) warns, "As with any injection into the body of a foreign substance, the injection of the autogenous vaccine carries the associated risk of sepsis or anaphylaxis. Some risk of contamination in the preparation of the material is also possible, depending on the processes and procedures used to make and assure the sterility of the vaccines manufactured at the clinic." The OTA also cautions that "whole blood transfusion, even with directed donors' blood, carries a small risk of transmitting various infectious agents." In addition, the OTA warns that injecting extracts of sheep liver and spleen, "carries certain risks associated with all types of cellular treatment."

Side effects

One University of Pennsylvania study found that self-reported quality of life among patients at the Livingston-Wheeler clinic was actually lower than among patients receiving conventional cancer care at the university's cancer center. Reported side-effects include malaise, slight fever, aching, tenderness at the site of vaccine injections, and appetite problems.

Research & general acceptance

In 1990, the Livingston clinic was ordered by California officials to stop using its vaccines on cancer patients, after a state panel of cancer experts and consumers concluded there was no conclusive scientific evidence proving they were safe and effective. The clinic applied to state health officials for an extension and, at the time of publication, was continuing to operate. The American Cancer Society advises against the Livingston protocol. According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, "There is no scientific evidence to confirm her theories of cancer causation or to justify her treatments." In a 1990 report, the OTA concluded that, "At present, there is insufficient information to indicate whether this regimen is or is not effective in treating cancer."

Training & certification

The Livingston protocol and products are offered exclusively through the Livingston Foundation Medical Center in San Diego. The center states that it "is not affiliated with any other clinic, physician, research organization, or business entity anywhere in the world."



CA. "Unproven methods of cancer management: Livingston-Wheeler therapy." CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians 40 no. 2 (Mar/Apr 1990): 103-108.


Livingston Foundation Medical Center. 3232 Duke St., San Diego, CA 92110. (619)224-3515. (888)777-7321.

David Helwig

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