The unAwarded Nobel Prize

Editor faces $350,000 defamation suit

NOTICE: To Queensland, Australia residents be informed that there is currently an Application at the Brisbane Court seeking to have you barred from accessing this article.

In Brief

  • The lead author of pseudo-scientific-claims-without-evidence has instituted a defamation lawsuit against our Editor, Mark Thomas
  • while the suit doesn't worry us since all statements contained on this website are all based on facts, Chairman Cho, the main brain behind the Fake Cancer Cure, seems to leave on the table, their earlier threat to sue us in all countries of their choosing; this could include Mongolia, Myanmar, North Korea or any country of their choice

According to data published in September 2018 by the World Health Organisation, 9.6 million people were estimated to have died due to cancer in 2018. If the simple inventions (Photosoft and NGPDT) by Chairman Cho (a.k.a. Michael Honsue Cho) and his company, The Cho Group, were as effective as they have been punted, we would have been the first to recommend them for the Nobel Prize for Medicine.

How simple are the concoctions? A cancer patient would be invited to the clinic where they would be given a 25ml vial of a chlorophyll-like product called Photosoft to drink. The patient would then be advised to return to the clinic after 24 hours where they would be placed into a contraption the group calls a Next Generation PhotoDynamic Therapy (NGPDT) Lightbed. The LED lights on the bed would be flickered on and off for a few minutes. The emitted lights are marketed to be able to penetrate through various body tissues and reach the cancer cells that will have been engulfed by the Photosoft consumed the previous day. Just as the photosynthesis process works in plants, the light is claimed to be able to reach the cancer cells at which point the cells will be destroyed.

In South Africa, the treatment cost up to R400,000. Patients take up to eight dosages that cost R50,000 per dose. The minimum recommended dosage for complete ‘cure’ was five, some R250,000. The only problem is that the extra-ordinary cure claims lack the corresponding extraordinary evidence.

Chairman Cho, whom we’d identified as the main brains behind the questionable invention, has sued our Editor, Mark Thomas, who headed the investigations. Cho claims Thomas defamed him and wants $350,000 in damages. His court claims papers further seek orders restraining uSpiked from publishing any stories questioning the veracity of their claims.

The Men of Fake Cancer Cure want to continue ripping off patients and investors and they want the Brisbane Court to provide them with ammunition. Cho made good on his threat to sue our editor and uSpiked, “in each jurisdiction in which the (allegedly defamatory reports) have been accessed worldwide.”

And the maiden jurisdiction for the Hong Kong-based businessman for the threatened suits is at the Queensland District Court of Australia. In his notice of claim filed with the Brisbane court and served on our editor by a Sheriff of the Court of South Africa on August 31 2018, Chairman Cho did not explain why, despite being represented by the global law firm, Jones Day, he didn’t institute his claims in a South African court from where we publish.

Divide and conquer

The suit only names our editor and not uSpiked. This we suspect was strategically done to decapitate the leadership of uSpiked, slow our work and scare off other journalists from exposing the scam. We don’t know yet why Chairman Cho approached the court as himself, and not as The Cho Group. Before this development, The Cho Group had sent a cease and desist letter through lawyer Brett Heading of Jones Day.

Cho’s suit may also be a scheme to have some official judicial reference to reassure their potential victims. ‘look, that was fake news, in fact we even sued the author.’

On the defamation, we stand by what we published: that Photosoft and NGPDT do not cure cancer. And we aren’t the only ones with this view. Dr Jenny Edge, a leading Cape Town surgeon, who regularly deals with cancer patients, raised vital questions that haven’t been answered. The cure claims are false and lack evidentiary value.

Our encounter with cancer was long before Chairman Cho’s concoctions got on our radar. Our earlier investigations took us to various oncology departments in many hospitals around South Africa where we witnessed the devastation left behind by cancer not only on patients but also their relatives, friends and healthcare providers.

Cancer patients and their relatives are often vulnerable and desperate, but not stupid. Amidst the waiting for some positive news from attending oncologists, patients often wonder how much time they have left.

People who sell unproven cures prey on that sense of vulnerability and desperation. [See the Editorial Not Smarter Than A 4th Grader for our editor’s perspective].

The claims by Cho that his two products work together to ‘completely cure cancer’ deliberately take advantage of cancer patients and their families who are desperately hoping for information on possible cures. The Cho Group, in a statement on its website, said that Thomas misrepresented how the group’s two products work.

We can confirm that the various reports that explained how the fake treatment supposedly worked are exactly as Chairman Cho and his associates have been peddling them to patients and investors. Prior to publishing the first report, we identified several of Cho’s local victims. Their experiences with The Cho Group’s NGPDT and Photosoft treatment matched what we’d already learnt.

The Cho Group’s YouTube channel, which features one of Chairman Cho’s colleagues, Scott Waters, markets the products as we’d reported them to supposedly work.  

In the video, Waters claims cancer cells are always famished and cannot wait for nourishment in the form of Photosoft, which is technically a Trojan horse for trapping the cancer cells. In 24 hours, the entrapped cancer cells would then be exposed to lights emitted by the Next Generation Photo Dynamic Therapy (NGPDT).

If there are any misrepresentations about the products as claimed on The Cho Group’s website, then Chairman Cho should take it up with the people responsible for producing his marketing materials, including his promotional YouTube videos and the user manuals that come with NGPDT LightBed and Photosoft.

Our editor didn’t go looking for Chairman Cho. South African investors acquired and imported the main products - NGPDT and Photosoft - from The Cho Group, and without testing for efficacy or registering them with the Department of Health. (All medical devices need to be registered by relevant government departments in South Africa). When we last checked, The Cho Group hadn’t filed an application for registering the products in South Africa. The investors capitalised on the high number of cancer patients in the country and the earlier version of the device called PhotoDynamic Therapy devices, which Dr Edge mentioned in her website, and promoted their NGPDT as the ultimate non-intrusive and safe cure for cancer.

Due to our earlier experience while on cancer-related assignments, we approached the Photosoft and NGPDT with great anticipation. Everyone needed to know about this cure that promised to be none-intrusive and with zero side effects. Such a breakthrough would mean everything to the cancer patients we had previously met.

But, our anticipation vanished when we visited the local facility. It was evident that the science behind the invention was way below that of a Grade 4 pupil. The key people at the facility couldn’t explain how LED light could pass through the various body tissues to reach the cancer cells buried deep inside a human body. They also couldn’t explain the properties contained in The Cho Group’s Photosoft product; What made the artificial chlorophyll attractive to cancer cells? We didn’t get convincing answers to our concerns. It became clear to our editor that the people behind the products were just selling false hope. The importers of the products appeared to be victims just like the patients they were ‘treating’. It was prudent to investigate further to protect a lot of people. The deeper we looked, the more we got convinced that the cure claims had to be fraudulent.

When Dr Donald Murphy landed in South Africa from Australia to convince us that the combination of Photosoft and NGPDT works, our Editor believed it was at the behest of The Cho Group and Chairman Cho. In a recorded conversation, Dr Murphy confirmed the sponsors of his trip being indeed The Cho Group.

But, Dr Murphy didn’t provide the proof on how the two products worked against cancer. Instead, he quickly disowned the products, saying that the so-called clinical trial he was involved in was merely to test for safety. In health sciences and related clinical trials, there’s a big difference between ‘safety’ and ‘efficacy’ trials and Dr Murphy acknowledged this during the interview. The Urologist conceded that his was a pre-trial study and not a clinical trial.

Chairman Cho and associates must have known that we were about to bust their cash cow and facilitated Dr Murphy’s trip to quell our concerns.

Exit Dr Murphy and entered Dr Waters with the marketing videos. Waters isn’t a medical doctor and doesn’t hold a doctorate degree of any kind. His narratives in the marketing videos are so unconvincing that it is surprising anyone would fall prey to the scheme.

Our Editor didn’t misunderstand the workings of the products and saw the seemingly visible scam. Before publishing any subsequent articles on the matter, we talked to Cho Group's former patients who responded to our call asking for affected people to come forward. A few of those people have since died after they were persuaded to abandon WHO-approved treatment protocols for Photostat and NGPDT. Other patients who tried the treatment are short of money. R50,000 is a lot to spend on a 25 ml vial of anything.

The clinic in Cape Town that used NGPDT and Photosoft changed ownership following our expose. When told of the lawsuit against Thomas, some former patients of the facility whom we’ve come to know, were encouraged and appreciative that Chairman Cho went on record and claimed ownership of the fake products, an important factor should they decide to seek their own damages.