SIGNS OF DISILLUSIONMENT FROM WITHIN
From The Cancer Chronicles #32-#33
© June 1996 by Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.
Disillusionment with chemotherapy is mounting within the
medical profession. In a lecture last fall, the doyen of French
oncologists, Lucien Israel, MD, said, "One mustn't count blindly
on chemotherapy to destroy cancer cells. These sick cells, when
they are not eradicated by drugs, can become more and more
aggressive and more and more difficult to treat" (quoted in La
Presse of Montréal,10/26/95).
Dr. Israel has spent nearly 60 years in the cancer field. At one
time he was an ardent enthusiast for chemical treatments but has
gradually realized that a large number of cancers simply develop a
resistance to such drugs. And such resistance is attributable to
the "stress toxique" generated by the treatment itself.
"These cells develop an instinct for survival," he told an
at the Jewish General Hospital in Montréal. "The
chemotherapeutic approach is far from optimal."
He suggested that oncologists revise their approach. Instead of
trying to kill every last cancer cell, he suggested that they try to
guide them towards normality.
Similar points were made in April by three eminent scientists in
an editorial in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the official
journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The three
are Howard Schipper of the University of Manitoba; C.R. Goh, of
the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Singapore, and T.
L. Wang, of the National University Hospital in Singapore.
In a tightly reasoned, six-page manifesto entitled "Shifting the
Cancer Paradigm: Must We Kill to Cure?" the three brilliantly
lay the groundwork for an entirely new paradigm in cancer
treatment. Their wording is cautious and conciliatory but the
message remains revolutionary. Such changes would involve a
scaling down of the chemotherapy enterprise.
Finally, Dr. Michael Sporn, a cancer expert at Dartmouth
Medical School, wrote in the Lancet in mid-May 1996 that the 25 -
year "war on cancer'' has failed. The reason is "an obsession
the concept of 'cure' of advanced disease, as opposed to the
prevention of early disease.'' Cancer cells become so varied that it
is nearly impossible for any combination of treatments to kill
them all. And even so-called "early diagnosis is often
"Reductionist molecular biology," he said, "can only
far with its brilliant analysis of all the bits and pieces that
comprise the organism. Carcinoma is not a disease of an individual
cell.'' Rather it is an aberrancy in normal cell make-up.
Therefore, Sporn advocated chemoprevention to wipe out the
abnormal cells before they develop into aggressive malignancies.
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