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

We come here with an open mind--yet history teaches us to be wary. For the first time, NIH has invited advocates and defenders of alternative medicine into its halls to help plan future research on non-toxic therapies. One would have to be made of stone not to recognize the importance of this development. Yet we have to pinch ourselvesãto stop and ask "What exactly is going on here?" After all, NIH has never been a friend of non-toxic and nutritional treatments.

NCI, a key institute of NIH, has put the bulk of its billion dollar budget into promoting highly toxic forms of therapy, or pursuing unproductive areas of basic research. It has put forward unrealistic goals for cancer control, and then refused to acknowledge the failure of its strategy. In the past, NCI often joined in, or initiated, attacks on promising non-toxic alternatives.

  • NCI refused to carry out clinical trials of an early form of immunotherapy, Krebiozen, and stalled for years in studying laetrile and other unconventional methods.
  • NCI officials were instrumental in the closure of Dr. Lawrence Burtons IAT clinic in 1985.
  • NCI cut off funding for hydrazine sulfate and the then-director told a television program "We throw away better drugs than hydrazine sulfate."
  • NCI repeatedly refused to fund Nobelist Linus Pauling in his pioneering studies on vitamin C.
  • NCI funded a "quack-busting" data base on alternative therapy by Emprise, Inc.

    In recent years, however, there have been welcome signs of change.... And now NIH has convened this ad hoc committee on "unconventional medical practices."

    In general, NIH is not initiating these changes but responding to political pressures. In a more profound sense, however, political leaders respond to the concerns of their constituents. And politicians are realizing that there is a shift in Americas thinking on the cancer issue. Americans in general are disillusioned with the "war on cancer." They have seen many promises, but little substantive progress over the last two decadesãrising incidence rates, but static cure rates.


    An Ascendant Trend

    Alarmed by these trends, the American Cancer Society (ACS) recently published a study of non-toxic treatments (Ca, May-June, 1992). The study found that over nine percent of American cancer patients already are using alternative treatments. But that number rises steadily with income and education, reaching nearly 14 percent in the higher income groups. Thus, many Americans, especially the inuential opinion-makers, are shifting over to the side of alternative medicine.

    The ACS authors (themselves deeply hostile to such methods) conclude that "there are many reason to anticipate an ascendant trend" of what they call "questionable" therapy. One reason they give is the "declining trust in the medical profession." But that distrust is mainly directed at the leaders of American medicine, not most practitioners. Astonishingly, the largest number of patients gave as their primary source of information on alternative cancer therapiesãtheir physicians themselves. The "cancer establishment" is thus losing control not just of the most inuential part of its patient base, but of many front-line medical practitioners who see first-hand the futility of conventional treatments in many cases.

    NIH is certainly aware of these trends and must eventually face the fact that non-toxic treatments are the wave of the future. If NIH at this time is only reluctantly responding to immediate political pressure, while looking for ways to weaken or destroy the alternative movement, we will have no recourse but to fight them. If on the other hand NIH is now serious about launching a new era of cooperation, then we will enthusiastically work with them towards our common goal, the conquest of cancer.

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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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