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Published: 11 June 2009
Dr Yvonne Pambakian, left, and Dr Arpi Matossian-Rogers after the day-long inquest into the death of Yolanda Cox
Dr Yvonne Pambakian, left, and Dr Arpi Matossian-Rogers after the day-long inquest into the death of Yolanda Cox

Sister died after doctor gave her drug mum developed

POLICE are reviewing an investigation into the death of a 22-year-old woman who was given an unlicensed wonder drug by her doctor sister that had been developed by her mother.
Yolanda Cox, an Oxford graduate who had married one year earlier, was injected with the drug by her sister, Dr Yvonne Pambakian, in the living room of the family home in Finchley Road.
She died at the Royal Free Hospital in June 2007 after suffering a massive allergic reaction to the drug, referred to at St Pancras Coroner’s Court on Thursday as B71.
It was developed by her scientist mother Dr Arpi Matossian-Rogers to treat cancer, diabetes and was even hoped to reverse ageing. She was given it to treat a host of illnesses diagnosed by Dr Pambakian.
A pathologist said Mrs Cox was healthy at the time of death.
Following her death the police and Crown Prosecution Service conducted a two-year investigation.
Speaking outside court, Detective Mark Sayer said: “Based on the findings of the coroner, I’ll be taking further advice and the matter will be further reviewed with the Crown Prosecution Service.”
In August 2007, two months after her sister’s death, the General Medical Council imposed a set of conditions on Dr Pambakian including a ban on prescribing drugs.
At Mrs Cox’s inquest on Thursday, Dr Pambakian revealed she had also injected herself, her mother and a terminally ill woman with the drug – without any adverse effects.
“The trials had shown a response,” Dr Pambakian told the inquest, referring to Dutch drug trials on type-2 diabetes sufferers. “We therefore assumed the higher the dose the better the response.”
The drug was the result of decades of work by Dr Matossian-Rogers. It promoted the reproduction of insulin cells and was initially developed to treat diabetes, although in papers published since the 1980s Dr Matossian-Rogers has described how she believed it could also stem the ageing process.
The court heard the family would pray before each injection, and that Dr Pambakian could not be exact about how much she injected because she didn’t measure the doses. She denied the family were taking part in a drugs trial.
The coroner repeatedly asked witnesses whether the drug was given to children in the family. They denied it.
While the drug had shown signs of success when tested on diabetic patients in Holland, it induced a massive allergic reaction – similar to a peanut allergy or a bee sting – when administered to Mrs Cox.
Within minutes of the injection, Mrs Cox felt itching in her arm and had difficulty breathing. Despite emergency adrenaline injections, she died seven days later at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead.
Paramedics and doctors described feeling uneasy after the family resisted giving information about the drug to medics. Ambulance staff were the first to contact police.
Coroner Dr Andrew Reid said Mrs Cox died from a lack of oxygen to the brain after her airways swelled up. He recorded a verdict of misadventure after accepting that death was an unintentional result of the drug being administered.
“On the balance of probabilities, I am satisfied the cause of acute anaphylaxis was intramuscular injection of the peptide B71,” said Dr Reid.
He ruled out unlawful killing because he felt the standard of proof required – beyond reasonable doubt – could not be met, but suggested that that verdict could be found in a civil court. Still under investigation, Dr Pambakian, a director of her mother’s company, Ambro Biotech, could be struck off at a “fitness to practice” hearing, a GMC spokeswoman said.
While the drug was confiscated from Dr Matossian-Rogers following her daughter’s death, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), a government body, is now expected to return it to her. She is free to continue her research work into B71.
During the day-long inquest, Mrs Cox’s sister and mother both said they believed the drug was safe and imagined it could treat a range of conditions, including the polycystic ovaries they had wrongly diagnosed Mrs Cox with. She was given three 6mg doses between May and June 2007, including the fatal injection on June 20, 2007. In drug trials in Holland, volunteers were given a 2mg dose.
Dr Pambakian told the inquest there was “always the element of the unknown” when giving a patient a drug as “you don’t know how they will respond”.
As it was not conducted as a trial, she said she was not scientifically monitoring the results of the drug and did not measure the doses, instead guessing they were around 6mg.
Grilling Dr Pambakian on the set of rules she is bound to follow as a doctor, Dr Reid said: “There’s an established basis on which you’re expected to use an unlicensed product when you treat a patient. You were treating with this product. It was unlicensed. You’re supposed to have an evidence basis to do that, and you keep coming back to your belief.”
An MHRA spokesman said doctors can be prosecuted, fined or jailed over breaches of its code.

Time trials: Hold back years?

DR Arpi Matossian-Rogers’ search for an anti-ageing drug has its origins in a treatment for diabetes.
Trials of the B71 drug in Holland involved 31 subjects (21 men and 10 women) with type-2 diabetes. These showed that the drug decreased the level of blood-glucose. When the trial stopped, the blood-glucose rose.
Experiments also involved 12 men who were all glucose intolerant (they were borderline for having full-blown diabetes). They had their anti-glucose medication stopped and still maintained good blood-glucose levels with the drug.
Dr Arpi Matossian-Rogers went to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) to try to keep the intellectual rights to the idea that peptides, used in B71, stop ageing.
The WIPO website states: “The concept is that most diseases of infectious or non-infectious origin, with or without genetic predisposition or conditions related to the ageing process, become manifest or are aggravated by the emergence of a multispecific autoantibody.
“These autoantibodies have the potential to accelerate ageing and age-related diseases, promote cancers, mediate the manifestation of diseases whether or not based on genetic predisposition and interfere with
first-line defence against infectious agents.”
The search was to find a drug that could cloak the autoantibodies so that they did not work – and hence to slow ageing.
A patent application WO99/05175 has been made for the B71 drug.

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It seems they murdered their daughter/sister. Convict & deport them.
J. Cleeve


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