tonight on "nightline." it could improve your sex life and battle cancer. the ultimate cure in these venomous creatures? too good to be true? we're scouring for scorpions in search of an unlikely wonder drug. >> i have absolutely no doubt that it saved my life. superheroes in the making. thor, iron man, the avenger. the brand-new agents of s.h.i.e.l.d. behind the scenes on the magic of marvel. and the winner is -- ♪
good evening. we begin with breaking news. at approximately 9:30 eastern time right before closing at one of the largest shopping malls in the united states, just outside new york city, at least one shot was fired bringing hundreds of area law enforcement officers to the scene. abc's geo benitez is there with the latest. >> reporter: good evening to you. no injuries reported so far. that's the headline and the good news. but officers are still trying to figure out what happened here. witnesses say they saw a shooter
wearing an all black biker helmet and they heard a gunshot. police were able to find one single shell casing inside this mall somewhere near the nordstrom store but again we don't know exactly what happened here, why that gunman would have done this. so lots to figure out here. >> thank you for that. abc will stay on the story overnight and have the latest on "good morning america." we turn now to a poison that some say packs a powerful medicinal punch. scorpion venom. some people claim it fights everything from impotence to cancer. lush forests of the dominican republic are crawling with these creatures. and that's where abc's matt gutman reports from tonight. >> reporter: turn on the black light and see if they are here. look at this. >> oh my god. >> reporter: to most of us, these scorpions, best hunted in the jungle of darkness, is the stuff of nightmares.
but now they are also being touted as the stuff of salvation. everything from battling auto immune diseases and enhancing your love life. and the most extraordinary claim of all, a new weapon in the fight against cancer. and the sole active ingredient is skittering at our feet. the venom packed in the scorpion's stinger. >> i have seen people getting well immediately. >> reporter: russian emigre doctor and his company have made the controversial claim that the chemical in the venom that causes paralysis in prey targets and killed cancer cells. and they have managed to harness that into a drug. >> are you convinced? that this fights cancer? >> more than convinced. >> reporter: a drug not approved by the fda, but available for sale in the u.s. for $700 a bottle. a substance that thousands of desperate people, many of them americans, are literally betting their lives on.
>> there you go. >> peggy, a grandmother from texas, is one of those people. >> i have absolutely no doubt that it saved my life. >> reporter: in 2011, she was diagnosed with stage iv breast cancer. she says doctors told her and her husband larry she had just two months to live. >> i arranged for what i wanted for a funeral. >> reporter: as a last-ditch effort, peggy started taking escozene. >> within six months it was gone. there was absolutely no more cancer left. >> reporter: did scorpion venom really conquer her cancer? or is this just the latest miracle remedy separating desperate people from their money? >> better do it before that storm gets here! >> reporter: we decided to find out more about this supposed wonder drug for ourselves. >> wow. >> reporter: but getting close to the source, that venom, is no simple feat. >> this is spectacular. >> reporter: because it doesn't come from just any venom but the venom of blue scorpions found
only in cuba and here in the remote mountains of the dominican republic. >> pretty amazing. >> reporter: from above, the lush forests carpet these peaks. on the ground, a more prickly reality. as we hiked to the reservation we were greeted by young villagers. he just came up to me with i guess a salt shaker. inside? three scorpions. don't try this at home. >> reporter: and the boys, so used to handle these creatures, offer me a hands-on tutorial on scorpion-wrangling. and then on to what must surely be the only scorpion reservation in the world. scorpion mecca, complete with 83,000 wriggling residents. >> you want to do it? >> no, you do it. there's one. >> reporter: turn over a stone or peer into a bamboo segment, and there they are. >> they are quite amazing and mysterio mysterious. >> reporter: more than mysterious.
he and his barn swear escozene is downright miraculous. >> kills 95% to 98%. >> kills 95% to 98% of cancer cells? >> yes. >> pretty big claim. >> we know. >> reporter: in addition to attacking cancer cells, they say scorpion venom might battle auto immune diseases. everything from hiv to hepatitis. the company claims it can even help with -- er -- male potency. big farmers spend big dollars on research and development. how come they haven't found the magic scorpion cure and you have? >> usually big pharma companies don't work with natural components. you can't patent natural product. >> reporter: escozene isn't the first natural remedy purported to cure diseases. while some have turned out to have significant medicinal value, most have been resoundingly debunked by science. think shark fin, rhino horn, and
the proverbial snake oil. when you tell people that this medicine is going to help them possibly cure cancer, they have no reservation doing it? you're giving them false help. >> we never use "cure cancer." >> that's the subsection. helps your body use its natural ability to cure cancer. people will only see "cure cancer." >> fight cancer. >> eating vegetables can help you fight cancer. you don't want to use the word "cure" but that's what the subtext is in this drug. >> the subtext, obviously we want to help to the maximum ability that this medicine can possibly help. >> reporter: they say it's been helping people here in the dominican republic for generations. she says she always has a scorpion. like the shopkeeper maria who keeps scorpions bottled in turpentine with her at all times. using the venom-infused solution helps heal her arthritis, she says.
and will even help my runner's knee. it didn't. but it did keep the mosquitos away. next up, this modest rented lab in the capital santo domingo, they extract the venom. >> why don't you have a go now. >> are you serious? >> okay. >> reporter: that's right, they wanted me to milk a scorpion. >> we're going to be friends. i'm just going to milk you. i don't want to squish him. this is not as easy as it looks. >> reporter: they say the scorpions are unhurt as five to seven drops of the venom are extracted from them every month. only a tiny amount is inserted into these bottles, each of which goes for about $700. the bottles are sold on the internet and shipped to patients -- like peggy howe. >> i love you, mom. >> it's absolutely given me my life back. i got to see my granddaughter born. i wouldn't be here at all if it weren't for escozene.
>> reporter: she was so convinced it saved her life, she had a scorpion tattooed on her ankle. >> there's my escozene. do i believe in it? >> reporter: but none of the medical files peggy provided seem to show that it healed her. >> there is no scientific evidence to show that this drug works in treating patients with cancer. >> reporter: dr. len licktenfield is a deputy medical director of the american cancer society and has seen too many claims like this that have turned out not to work. >> cancer patients have enough to deal with to have to deal with unverified and undocumented hope is is a burden that no one should have to bare. >> reporter: the doctor's skepticism wasn't the only thing that gave us pause. right there on its website it says escozine is approved and certified for oncological treatments. click on the link and you learn
they received this approval only in the dominican republic. >> are you approved in any other countries to make these claims? >> we're also registered in russia, belarus, kazakhstan, vietnam. >> reporter: when we alerted its website may violate fda regulations against marketing drugs on the web without fda approval, the company conceded it was rapidly making changes to the site. but there was another much more important issue. medolife could not produce a single peer-reviewed study showing it works. even the 8,300-person clinical trial they presented to us. turns out the results of that trial are not acceptable by american standards of science. it's one reason the doctors say they warn patients to be wary of unproven remedies. >> unfortunately, many more times than not, the original claims that were made for some of these drugs don't work out. >> just an amazing factory. this little gland here. >> reporter: the doctor acknowledges the drug needs significantly more testing
before medolife can even apply for fda approval. >> shake it up. >> reporter: but howe says she doesn't have the time to wait. her cancer is now back. after a hiatus from the drug, she's putting her faith in the venom of scorpions once again. hoping it will save her life. for "nightline," i'm matt gutman in the dominican republic. >> our thanks to matt gutman for that. next, we're infiltrating a government agency but probably not the one you're thinking of. once wrote something on a sheet of paper and placed it in his factory for all to see. ♪ four simple words where the meaning has never been lost. the challenge always accepted. and the calling forever answered. ♪ introducing the all-new 2014 s-class.
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superhero fans no longer have to wait for blockbusters at the cineplex to deliver the magic of their favorite characters. now they are hitting the screens in a living room near you. yes, "the agents of s.h.i.e.l.d." have their own tv show, and we're getting in on the action behind the scenes. >> reporter: marvel are the masters of the superhero spectacular. the second installment of "thor" hit theaters this weekend. >> anyone else? >> reporter: with a stable of the galaxy's mightiest and isn't that correctiest superheroes. >> does mother know you weareth her drapes? >> reporter: the 50-year history of comic book gold. marvel is now moving into a new frontier. television. a brand new show.
"agents of s.h.i.e.l.d." "nightline" was granted an exclusive peek. >> we should buckle up for this interview. >> reporter: unprecedented access to witness the magic made. so secretive, we're not even allowed to disclose our location. superhero fans no longer need wait for the two or three movies released every year. >> i want to show you our fabulous command center. >> reporter: now they can get their fix every tuesday night. when a posse of international uber-agents straight out of the comic books, marvel has built this entire show around just one well-known character. >> is that one of stark's? >> i don't know. guy never tells me anything. >> reporter: with a coat, a tie, and a sensible haircut. >> even i don't know what it does. you want to find out? >> reporter: agent colson, who
was killed off in the "avengers" movie -- or so we thought. >> did you feel a lot of pressure bringing this to the small screen and you're the main guy? >> i probably should have. if i thought about it much i should have been really terrified. >> reporter: cranking out a mini movie every eight days. going around the world on their extravagant bus there, command center, bunkhouse, forensics lab, and exotic car. >> don't touch lola. please don't. it's okay, you can. no, you can. >> reporter: they're trying to appeal to comic book people. >> i'm one of them. i want them to enjoy this. i want me to enjoy it. >> reporter: and appealing to those like me, who have never read a marvel comic or lost themselves in a superhero movie. >> they made me watch but i enjoyed that. >> are you saying that because you're standing in front of my face? >> no, i liked it. >> reporter: that's chloe
bennett who plays sky. >> are you going to show us something now? >> you're the hacker, the outsider who's blot in to fit the mold. you only can describe her by doing these. yeah, yeah. >> ten minutes. >> reporter: why did people like this? >> don't know the exact answer. >> it's the world of superheroes seen through the eyes of real people. does that make sense? >> reporter: and there's internet clamor for sparks between sky and this guy, the luscious, the lacinic agent ward. played by brett dalton. >> things are moving too quickly. i'm a proper girl, you make me untidy. >> he's amazingly attractive, have you seen his cheekbones? >> reporter: in the world of marvel, fan pressure just might work. that's partly what brought agent
colson back from death. >> when he was dead people started posting all over the globe. colson lives. they wouldn't accept it. suddenly he's back and he's got his own show. >> reporter: they promise to reveal very soon just what went down to bring our everyman/superhero back to life. >> i feel that you're a beacon to all men in their 40s. who want to be fabulous. >> i feel -- yes. i feel that, you know, you seem like a potential s.h.i.e.l.d. agent, if one who isn't secretly already. what do you think? >> reporter: colson makes me feel like i could really be an agent. >> i'm weapons trained. >> are you? >> oh yeah. >> you can field strip it? >> no. >> you want to be able to have mom, dad, junior, sis, all be able to sit and go, that's my favorite character. >> and you made the geeks british.
so you can laugh at british people. >> actually, they're the smartest ones. >> reporter: ian comes from the same part of scotland as me. he's my people. when it comes to beautiful women, i can't keep agent of s.h.i.e.l.d. kind of cool. >> you get to wear the coolest outfit. >> i do. and it's the most comfortable. >> reporter: on the show, she's a bad-ass fox dressed in leather. >> you play this very scary -- >> not scary. just misunderstood. >> really? >> i think so. >> reporter: tomorrow night's episode, episode six, is a doozie. >> even if you're the most manly man, the most alpha male and you don't get a little moist around your eyes, you ought to have yourself checked. >> any idea what can cause this? >> can you just go over it again? >> did not.
she did not. you think that was going to work? she didn't tell you a single thing. >> nick watt on "nightline." level seven. >> our own special agent. "agents of s.h.i.e.l.d." airs tuesdays on abc with a new episode coming tomorrow night. marvel is owned by our parent company, disney. next it's awards season at youtube and the best video of the year are waking us up. ♪
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♪ he loves me! that's right. [ mom ] warm and flaky in 15, everyone loves pillsbury grands! [ girl ] make dinner pop! on tonight's feed frenzy, video vanguard. the first annual youtube music awards took place over the weekend. the artist of the year, eminem seep here during the show in a live music video for his song "rock god." ♪ some winners might be harder to identify like the south korean girls generation and their very colorful music video of the year. "i got a boy." ♪ nominees were partially based on youtube views, likes, shares, and comments. which we've