25 Años del asunto Di Bella: ¿qué enseñanzas éticas nos deja?

  1. Álvaro Sanz Rubiales
  2. María Luisa del Valle Rivero
  3. Francisco Barón Duarte
  4. Elvira Morán Cuadrado
  5. Paula Molina Terrón
  6. Luis Alberto Flores Pérez
Cuadernos de bioética

ISSN: 1132-1989 2386-3773

Year of publication: 2023

Volume: 34

Issue: 112

Pages: 269-278

Type: Article

More publications in: Cuadernos de bioética


Twenty-five years ago, in 1998, the Italian Parliament approved to implement clinical trials in patients with advanced cancer to know the efficacy of an alternative cancer treatment that associated hormones, vitamins and, occasionally, chemotherapy proposed by Professor Luigi Di Bella. It was the answer to people demanding Public Health assume the cost of this therapy. Although parallel phase II trials in various tumors demonstrated the lack of activity, some professionals have continued to use this method since then and have published apparently promising results a few various scientific journals. This real example raises three interesting ethical scenarios. The first one is the ethics of alternative treatments proposed by medical professionals or from the academic field. In these cases, the difficulty in differentiating between hypothesis and real efficacy. This problem impacts on patients and relatives’ expectations who must face a potentially fatal disease with little or no hope of a cure with traditional treatments. The second scenario is the design and good practice in the development of clinical trials, which was also the subject of debate in relation to the Di Bella method. And the last one, the ethics of scientific publications. Di Bella’s followers published since 2000 12 papers with limited quality on series of patients treated with his method, the majority in a pay-per-publication journal of which Giuseppe Di Bella, son of Professor Di Bella, is included in the board of editors.