"YOU WILL HEAR FROM ME":
DIALOGUE BETWEEN SEN. HARKIN
AND DR. JOE JACOBS
From The Cancer Chronicles #16
© August 1993 by Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.
[This exchange took place at the Appropriations Subcommittee hearings on OAM in June, 1993. In my opinion, it marked the beginning of the end of Dr. Joe Jacobs's tenure as director of OAM. The following is an unofficial and minimally edited transcript of a tape made by this newsletter. See also the article on this important meeting.]
At the June  Hearings, Senator Harkin quizzed Dr. Jacobs on why there is still no evaluation of Dr. Burzynski's treatment, after the OAM gave NCI $750,000.
Dr. Joe Jacobs [JJ]: The NCI has solicited from their cancer community, protocols for the evaluation of the antineoplastons, and that process has been ongoing for the past year.
Senator Tom Harkin [TH]: I know it's been ongoing....
JJ: The original money is with the NCI at the moment. They are setting up a multi-center study of antineoplastons in adult brain tumors.
TH: So they are not really investigating and validating Dr. Burzynski at all?
JJ: Well, the use of multi-center studies is a method of investigating and validating.
TH: It's one method. It may be their method. It may not be the only method....I guess what I'm wondering about is, if this money went into a black hole somewhere. And that¹s what I¹m worried about. And if this is what¹s going to happen, I'm going to have to have NCI up here. I want to find out what they do with that money. If I'd known about this before, I'd have had [NCI] on the hot seat about that, to find out what¹s going on with the money. $750,000 out of $2 million is quite a big chunk of money that went out to conduct an evaluation. I can¹t find out what happened to the money. I can't find out what¹s happened to the medicine. Was the medicine purchased or not?
JJ: As I understand it, sir, when they are testing a new drug...the manufacturer provides the drug at no charge. The NCI is treating the investigation of antineoplastons in exactly the same way they would treat any other pharmaceutical.
TH: I have this copy here of the NCI¹s October 1991 report of Ryan, the young boy who was here today. In October 1991, NCI had looked at this [the records on Ryan Werthwein and 7 other successfully treated brain cancer patients] and yet then they come back and say there¹s no interest in looking at childhood tumors like this? That¹s what I don¹t understand.
JJ: What they did...they sought from their funded pediatric cancer centers to see if there was any interest in using antineoplastons to treat childhood brain tumors. There was no interest on the part of the cancer centers around the country that were treating childhood brain tumors.
TH: There was no interest by them to look at this?
JJ: That¹s correct.
TH: But NCI had this information?
TH: Did they ever give you this information?
JJ: I discussed with them their site visit to Dr. BurzynskiŠ. Because of the fact that there was a lack of interest on the part of the pediatric cancer community, they felt that they weren't inclined, if you will, to move any further.
TH: You're a pediatrician. Would you be interested in this?
JJ: Yes, I would be....I¹ve had a number of people who have called me.... I'm a physician first, a bureaucrat somewhere down the line. But I've had mothers call me and talk about their children¹s tumors...and they have come to the conclusion that their patients have no options.... As a human being, if someone asks me, 'Joe, what would you do if it was your child with a brain tumor and you had no medical options available to you, my response would be, "I would probably be on the plane to Houston."
I think there is something there. Even the NCI feels intrigued enough that there's something there to at least put it into the system of clinical investigation through their standard centers. And that's probably one of the best places to have it tested, to truly validate it. If cancer centers at Dartmouth, Harvard, Stanford, Hopkins or the University of Maryland test this substance and it does show clinical regression, that's the best thing that anyone can do. That's what I would like to see happen, a good universal testing of this substance.
TH: I would too. I just don't know what's taking so long? I guess that's just the frustration. I like everything you're saying, but it always seems it's prospective--it's going to happen some time. We've been waiting for this and I'm trying to figure out where I'm going to focus on this: is it you or is it NCI? I'm going to keep you both in my eyesights.
JJ: That's fair, sir.
TH: I hope you will exercise your authority as the head of this office, through letter or correspondence with Dr. Broder, head of NCI, to ask him to please submit to you what they¹ve done with this money....And I see no reason you can't...start pushing him a little bit, to get this process moving a little bit faster. You see, I'm faced with a problem here. I¹d like to put more money into the office. But you're telling me you can¹t even hire scientific investigators...and you give money to NCI that goes into a black hole some place and you never see it again and nothing happens....
Maybe I should shut the whole thing down?...I intend to see this office move forward and I will do whatever it takes....I fully intend to move this office forward. I've given time. It went in October '91. I know things don't happen overnight. I understand this town. So I waited all through 1992. Have I ever bugged you?
TH: There comes a point in time where I have to exercise my responsibility to the taxpayers, the members of the Subcommittee....What do I say to other Senators who ask 'What's happening, Harkin?' and I have to say, 'Give us time, give us time.' We've had a year and a half nowŠand we've got to see some things start to happen. To the extent that you want to get these scientific investigators on board, to the extent that you want to push NCI, to the extent that you want to get the new director of NIH to focus on this, believe me, I'm in your corner. You have an ally.
But to the extent that I have any information and believe that there is foot-dragging going on in this office, that you are not being aggressive enough in pursuing the mandate we¹ve given that office, then you will hear from me....We've had enough time and now we have to start going ahead aggressively. And so, to the extent that you do the former, you have an ally. To the extent that anything happens in the latter category, you will hear from me."
Article on meeting
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