From Josef Hasslberger <firstname.lastname@example.org>
June 26, 2004
According to an article in Medical News Today, Jason Vale was
sentenced on June 18, 2004 to 63 months in prison and 3 years of supervised
release by a United States District Court in the Eastern District of New
York. Vale ran afoul of the US Food and Drug Administration which is acting
to protect, as the word goes, the victims of cancer, preventing any idea
from taking hold that there may be a cure for cancer outside of the slash-poison-and-burn
approach of conventional medicine.
"There is no scientific evidence that Laetrile
offers anything but false hope to cancer patients, some of whom have used
it instead of conventional treatment until it was too late for that treatment
to be effective," said Dr. Lester M. Crawford, Acting FDA Commissioner.
"This sentence sends a strong message that we will not tolerate marketing
of bogus medicines."
What I don't quite understand is why we are being protected
from "helping ourselves" in the face of a rather dismal record
of conventional, pharmaceutically controlled medicine in dealing with cancer.
After throwing hundreds of (our tax) billions into pharmaceutical
research, the Great Health Monopoly has come no closer to a cure than it
was three or four decades ago, when the holy war on cancer was started by
Nixon with great fanfare. Might they be looking in all the wrong places
for an answer, while keeping the alternatives under wraps - if necessary
with the help of the courts?
Read Barry Chowka's excellent commentary on how the war is
coming along and his interview with Samuel S. Epstein, MD of the University
of Illinois at Chicago, who heads the Cancer Prevention Coalition.
(June 15, 2004) Cancer is still the leading cause of death
in the United States, despite decades, and over one trillion dollars, spent
trying to eradicate it. The ongoing "war against cancer" is America's
war without end. It is now a thirty-plus year long war, having been officially
declared in 1971 by President Richard Nixon. Seven presidents later, it
continues to grind on, its bureaucracies fed by billions in annual tax dollars
and its questionable goals and strategies institutionalized throughout the
medical-industrial complex, including government, academia, and the private
At the forefront of the effort are two behemoth bureaucracies,
the federal National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the private American Cancer
Society (ACS), a not-for-profit charity. They are responsible for almost
everything the public knows about cancer, and for the entire direction of
cancer research and treatment in the United States.
On June 3, a lengthy and official-sounding annual report,
a collaboration among the private ACS and three government agencies - the
NCI, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and NAACCR (North
American Association of Central Cancer Registries), was published in the
journal Cancer, "Annual report to the nation on the status of cancer,
1975-2001, with a special feature regarding survival." According to
an NCI news release, "The nation's leading cancer organizations report
that Americans' risk of getting and dying from cancer continues to decline
and survival rates for many cancers continue to improve." The mainstream
media ran wild with the story, universally portraying the report as positive
news about cancer. For example, in a report by CBS News on June 3 titled
"Good News, Bad News on Cancer" the only bad news was "Minorities
are still more likely than whites to die from cancer." The rest of
the extensive article described the supposed good news.
Samuel S. Epstein, MD of the University of Illinois at Chicago
is the head of the Cancer Prevention Coalition a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
An environmental toxicologist, Epstein, the author of a definitive work
in the field, The Politics of Cancer (1979), has long been in the forefront
of challenging the inflated claims of the cancer Establishment. In a telephone
conversation on June 14, I asked him about the June 3 official "report
to the nation" on progress against cancer.
Samuel S. Epstein, MD: This follows on a whole pattern of
similar claims like since Nixon declared the war on cancer in 1971. In 1971,
NCI and ACS promised a cure for cancer in time for the nation's Bicentennial
in 1976. In 1984 and '86 they declared that mortality would be halved by
2000. Then in 1998 the NCI and ACS claimed they'd "turned the corner
on cancer." And then last year Eschenbach [NCI director] made the incredible
pledge, which embarrassed even the top NCI staff, that he'd eliminate the
suffering and death from cancer by 2015. In a press release I put out some
comment on that [asking] had he been talking with God. Shortly after that
NCI and ACS claimed that considerable progress had been made in reducing
the burden of cancer. So there have been a whole series of these claims.
And then on June 3 of this year, they claimed that cancer incidence and
death rates are on the decline due to progress in prevention and early detection
and treatment. Then all over the newspapers there were claims and headlines
that cancer cases and death rates are declining. In the annual report they
claimed they were declining by seven or eight percent between 1991 and 2001.
However, when you look at this carefully, you find that the declines are
largely due to reduction in lung cancer cases and deaths . . . So that's
the major factor. Incidentally, the NCI and ACS have virtually nothing to
do with that. The American Heart and Lung Association has played a much
greater role. So the major triumphs that they [ACS, NCI] claim are due to
their policies are not yet apparent. Over and above that, in the incidence
rates there have been major increases in a very wide range of non-smoking
cancers, in some instances up to about 100 percent. You wouldn't get that
impression at all from reading the [June 3 report]. From 1991 to 2001 you
can look at some cancers that have gone up by fifty percent like thyroid
cancer's gone up by 50 percent, acute myeloid leukemia by 18 percent, kidney
cancer 13 percent, liver cancer 20 percent. Childhood cancers have gone
Far more importantly, if you look at the data from 1975 to
2001, what you see is increases in some cancers, like non-Hodgkins lymphoma
by 70 percent, kidney 70 percent, thyroid 65 percent, testes 50 percent,
breast cancer 30 percent, childhood cancers 30 percent, etc. So in fact
there's been a massive increase in the incidences of non-smoking cancers
from 1975 to 2001 and that increase is being maintained in the last decade
The major decreases are due to reduction in lung cancer from
smoking for which their [ACS, NCI] role is, to say the least, questionable.
And from 1975 to 2001 the increase in a wide range of non-smoking cancers
has been massive and that has persisted over the last decade. They admit
that there are "statistical uncertainties related to changes in data
collection." Last year, in the 2003 report, they claimed that death
rates were stabilizing. Now they've said they're on the decline. So the
whole thing is full of holes and the media have been taken for a ride.
Peter Barry Chowka: There was an avalanche of news media
coverage of the new report on Thursday, June 3 and in the days afterwards
- in fact I have a CBS News transcript on my screen right now. I can't find,
as usual, any article that independently asks any questions about this report
at all. Is that your impression or your perception as well?
Epstein: It's not my impression. It's a fact.
Chowka: The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
concluded its meeting a week ago. A New York Times article in the paper's
business section talked mainly about the rise in stock value of companies
that promoted their new drug therapies there. That seems emblematic of what's
driving medicine - the search for higher and higher profits based on speculative
Epstein: The price for the new biotech drugs has increased
500 fold in the last decade.
Chowka: Overall, where are we in the war on cancer?
Epstein: You have to view this in perspective of a whole
series of claims over the last 25-30 years. The interesting thing is, if
you plot the increase in the incidence of cancer over the last thirty years
or so, it parallels the increase in the NCI budget. So the answer to that
is, the more money you spend, the more cancer you get.
Chowka: The problems are institutionalized now at every level.
Epstein: There are overwhelming conflicts of interest - the
National Cancer Institute, the cancer drug industry, the American Cancer
Society, which extend to the petrochemical, oil, steel, and drug industries.
So you're dealing with overwhelming conflicts of interest coupled with professional
mindsets which are fixated on damage control and are indifferent to prevention.
An individual critic like Epstein, and a handful of independent
journalists and analysts, however, are hard pressed to be heard above the
expertly coordinated PR white noise put out by the cancer Establishment.
All of the key players - the NCI, the ACS, drug companies, academia - have
joined forces in the cancer crusade and it has become virtually unstoppable.
One place where Cancer, Inc.'s policies and agenda are clearly
on display is at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical
Oncology (ASCO), which took place several weeks ago in New Orleans. Ralph
Moss, PhD, the respected writer, analyst, and consultant, who attended the
meeting as a reporter, was traveling out of the country on June 14 but has
generously given permission to quote here from his copyrighted newsletter
article about the event:
The first word that comes to mind in reference to ASCO's
meeting is huge. There were over 25,000 participants, mostly medical oncologists,
and they took over New Orleans' cavernous 1.1 million square foot convention
center. They came to lecture and be lectured to about the latest advances
in cancer treatment. . .
The takeaway message of the meeting, repeated in a thousand
stories, was that "little by little, new targeted therapies are helping
cancer patients live longer, even if they do not offer miraculous cures
. . . "
In the meantime the public is kept from seeing the real picture,
which is that advanced cancer is no more curable today than it was 30 years
ago, a sobering truth that was explored in a memorable Fortune magazine
There are a million clever ways to dance around this central
fact, but none of them can ultimately obscure the truth about the failure
of our war on cancer. You would think that in the face of this failure the
oncology profession would be eager to reach out for new ideas and concepts.
As I have shown throughout my career, there are abundant new ideas in the
world of CAM. But instead of welcoming CAM, the oncology profession reacts
to it as if it were a competitive challenge rather than an opportunity.
I attended ASCO as a reporter for several CAM-oriented publications
and although I was aware of the featured papers I was more interested in
gathering information on unusual, unconventional and out-of-the mainstream
treatments than on those that grabbed the headlines. I must say that I came
away disappointed. . .the number of presentations on non-toxic or alternative
treatments was meager. . .
In the Question and Answer session that followed [one presentation
on CAM] one angry doctor assailed parents who expressed a desire to use
CAM for their children. These people, he claimed, were actually suffering
from a psychopathology (a fancy word for mental disease), and had what he
called "control issues" vis-à-vis their doctors. (The topic
is sensitive since doctors in the US have the legal ability to force pediatric
patients to submit to chemo and other conventional treatments.) He also
said that doctors who offered alternative treatments were motivated by greed
(a charge I considered hypocritical considering the intimate ties of ASCO
and many of its members with the pharmaceutical industry).
The NCI Decides On a CAM Therapy
CAM does not appear to be faring much better at the NCI where
an office was set up in 1998 to study it. In May 2001 the NCI's Office of
Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM) announced that it
would undertake a preliminary review of 714X, a nontoxic alternative cancer
treatment legally available in Canada and used by many patients in the U.S.,
as well. The issue of 714X came to light in the spring of 2001 when leading
media in Boston, prompted by patient activists, reported that the prestigious
Dana-Farber Institute in Boston had allegedly halted early testing on 714X
after unexpectedly obtaining promising results.
As I wrote at the time, "The case is unique: patients
decry a cover up of a promising alternative treatment and the cancer establishment
responds almost immediately by promising to review it. The whole episode
illustrates the impact that people with cancer, highly motivated and using
tools such as the media and the Internet, can have on getting alternative
therapies tested at the highest levels of the federal government. And it
suggests that a climate of openness is replacing the closed mindedness of
the past in terms of national cancer policy."
In an interview on May 30, 2001, OCCAM Director Jeffrey White,
MD told me that he hoped to receive clinical reports on patients treated
with 714X by mid-August 2001. "Then," he said, "we ought
to be able to get that review done in a month's time. Then we'll have to
find out when the next meeting of the CAPCAM - the Cancer Advisory Panel
for Complementary Alternative Medicine - is and get it [714X] scheduled
on the agenda for CAPCAM review."
The process that White suggested would be completed in a
matter of months dragged on for three years - during which time over two
million more Americans died of cancer. Finally, on June 8, 2004, the Boston
Globe announced the outcome of OCCAM's protracted preliminary review of
"The cases of five patients who say they were cured
of cancer by a controversial alternative medicine were not compelling enough
to justify a government-funded study of the 714X compound, the National
Cancer Institute apparently has decided. . . 'The presented data was insufficient
to recommend NCI-sponsored research using 714X in the treatment of cancer,'
Colleen O. Lee of the NCI's Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative
Medicine wrote in a May 17 e-mail to Gaston Naessens, a Canadian biologist
and developer of the compound made from mineral salts, nitrogen-rich camphor
and some trace elements."
The Globe story continued, "Jacinte Naessens, the wife
of the medication's developer, said she believes the NCI review was done
simply to take the heat off Dana-Farber. 'I don't think helping patients
was the concern,' said Naessens, whose husband speaks no English.
"Dr. Roger H. Rogers, a Canadian primary-care doctor
who said he has treated about 400 cancer patients with 714X, said he is
puzzled by the NCI decision.
'A study is certainly warranted, because of the numbers of
people who have improved on 714X,' said Rogers, whose practice near Vancouver
integrates conventional and alternative medicine.
"He said he first became aware of 714X about 15 years
ago when a patient with uterine cancer persuaded him to try it on her. 'I
was amazed at her recovery,' he said. 'She had tried chemo and radiation.
On June 15, 2004, one week after the Boston Globe article
was published, the OCCAM's Web site did not have any updates on the 714X
review - other than a pdf file of a brief, inconclusive interim report dated
July 22, 2003.
Web posted at: http://www.newmediaexplorer.org/sepp/2004/06/26/jason_vale_in_prison_for_cancer_cure_medicine_losing_war_on_cancer.htm
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