The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) recently released a Request For Application for a clinical trial to investigate chelation therapy to treat coronary artery disease--a treatment that proponents herald as valid and wrongfully suppressed, while mainstream medicine slams it as snake oil and quackery. NCCAM, with the support of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), has set aside $30 million over the next five years for a clinical study on EDTA chelation therapy, according to the April 30 notice. The chelation therapy regimen includes intravenous injections of vitamins plus EDTA (ethylene diamine tetra-acetic acid), a synthetic amino acid that can pull divalent and trivalent metallic cations such as magnesium and calcium from solution.

Because calcium is a component of atherosclerotic plaque, scientists hypothesized in the 1950s that EDTA might soften arteries by sequestering calcium ions. Other biochemical mechanisms abound, but to date, no large-scale, double-blind,...

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