UK Multimillionaire Jailed for Peddling Fake Cancer 'Cure'

Liam Davenport

November 30, 2018

The multimillionaire founder of a British company that sold a supposed "wonder drug" containing human plasma proteins that supposedly could cure cancer, among other diseases, has been jailed for 15 months.

David Noakes, of Waldershare, England, was sentenced on November 27 in London after being found guilty of illegally making and globally distributing Gc protein-derived macrophage activating factor (GcMAF).

Noakes’ company, Immuno Biotech, made millions of pounds by manufacturing GcMAF and then selling it online to thousands of people worldwide.

The protein, which is produced by modifying vitamin D-binding protein, has been promoted by the company since the late 2000s as a cure for cancer, HIV, and autism, among other conditions.

The 65-year-old businessman pleaded guilty to manufacturing, supplying, and selling an unlicensed medicine, as well as money laundering.

The court case came after a 3-year investigation by the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

"Our investigation team worked relentlessly to bring David Noakes and his associates to justice, for putting public health at risk through the unlicensed manufacturing and sale of GcMAF products," said Alastair Jeffrey, the agency's head of enforcement. "The product was manufactured using blood plasma that was clearly marked as not to be administered to humans or used in any drug products.”

During sentencing, Judge Nicholas Lorraine-Smith was quoted by the BBC as saying that Noakes "firmly" believed that GcMAF would help people but that he showed a "reckless disregard for the regulatory regime."

The judge also highlighted the fact that the product was being sold to "extremely vulnerable people," according to a local report in the Mirror. "The very idea that such a material should be freely available for sale over the internet without the most rigorous independent testing and control is horrifying," the judge said.

Website Discouraged Chemotherapy 

During the trial, it emerged that Noakes, who previously worked for ING Bank, had become fixated on GcMAF after attending a conference on the drug at the University of Ghent in 2009.

Although he had no medical qualifications, Noakes set up a lab in Cambridge in 2011 with UK and Italian scientists to produce GcMAF, also registering Immuno Biotech that same year in the English Channel island of Guernsey.

Noakes went on to sell GcMAF products to up to 10,000 patients, and the MHRA estimates that he generated £10 million in sales between 2011 and 2015.

Alarmingly, the company discouraged cancer patients from undergoing chemotherapy and urged them to rely on its product instead.

The Immuno Biotech website claimed that it was a "waste of money" to take chemotherapy and GcMAF together, and that "chemo destroys your immune system while GcMAF rebuilds it.”

According to the company's website, "Once you have your GcMAF back your immune system will cure you of most cancers. In the liver it will work, providing the war is not too serious."

After leading charities Cancer Research UK and the National Autistic Society raised concerns about the product, the Cambridgeshire laboratory was raided in January 2015 by MRHA.

The agency seized 10,000 vials of GcMAF and issued a warning to the public that these products may pose a significant health risk.

Immuno Biotech claimed that its GcMAF was "made in highly professional sterile laboratories to standards superior than those required" by the authorities.

The judge pointed out that there were no such standards.

Accomplices Also Jailed 

Noakes was sentenced to 12 months for the four charges related to unlicensed medicines and an additional 3 months for money laundering. He was also disqualified as a company director for 8 years.

An Immuno Biotech scientist, Dr Rodney Smith, 55, of Huntingdon, England, was sentenced to 8 months in jail after pleading guilty to the manufacture, possession, and sale and supply of unlicensed medicine.

Another Immuno Biotech scientist, Emma Ward, 44, also of Huntingdon, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 8 months, suspended for 2 years, and ordered to complete 150 hours of community volunteer work.

Noakes’ estranged wife admitted to two counts of selling or supplying medical products without market authorization. Lorraine Noakes was given a 6-month suspended sentence and ordered to complete 150 hours of community volunteer work.

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