From The Cancer Chronicles #12
© Oct. 1992 by Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.

[A first attempt to make sense of the Office of Alternative Medicine phenomenon.--RWM]

On June 17 and 18 [1992], an unprecedented meeting took place at the government's National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD. NIH invited supporters of alternative medicine to present their views and many interested parties spoke at the historic meeting, including the editor of this newsletter. What has possessed NIH, the bastion of orthodoxy, to call such a meeting and form a permanent office to investigate even the most far-out medical alternatives? Many readers will remember that in 1986, 43 Congressmen asked the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) for a full-scale report on cancer alternatives. While this 1990 report was generally a disappointment, the OTA did recommend that National Cancer Institute (NCI) pursue research into "widely used unconventional cancer treatments for therapeutic potential." NCI arrogantly rejected the request and stonewalled for over a year.

In 1987, Rep. Berkley Bedell was treated for prostate cancer. When his cancer showed signs of recurring, he turned to a non-toxic drug, '714-X' from a Canadian, Gaston Naessens. Bedell credits his current good health to this treatment. Bedell was a six-term Congressman from Iowa. He is also a friend of Sen. Tom Harkin, head of the Appropriations committee that oversees NIH's budget. Last year Bedell lobbied Congress on behalf of Harkin's proposal for a $2 million Office of Alternative Medicine. In November, 1991 the measure was passed by Congress and signed into law by President George Bush.

"Though just a drop in the bucket by federal budget standards, the office is a symbol of the new visibility being won by medical treatments that haven't gained mainstream approval," wrote the Congressional Quarterly (1/31/92).

The June meeting was opened by Dr. Jay Moskowitz, associate director of NIH and expertly chaired by Dr. Stephen Groft. There was none of the official hostility that marked the chilly OTA hearings of 19891990.

The September meeting of the committee will be a two day workshop to be held in Virginia. The editor of this newsletter has agreed to serve as co-chair of the work group on Pharmacological and Biological Treatments. Certainly, there will be serious struggles ahead on the direction of the committee. But this appears to be a good first step towards a fair hearing for non-toxic therapies.

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Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D. is director of the The Moss Reports for cancer patients. Dr. Moss is the author of eleven books and three documentaries on cancer-related topics. He is or has been an advisor on alternative cancer treatments to the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, the American Urological Association, Columbia University, the University of Texas, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the German Society of Oncology. He wrote the first article on alternative medicine for the Encyclopedia Britannica yearbook. He is listed in Marquis Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in the East, and Who's Who in Entertainment (as a film documentarian). This Web site does not advocate any particular treatment for cancer. We urge you to always seek competent medical advice for all health problems, especially cancer. Before consulting our site please read our full Disclaimer statement.

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