RALPH MOSS'S SPEECH TO NIH:
'HISTORY TEACHES US TO BE WARY'
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,
In recent years, however, there have been welcome signs of change....
And now NIH has convened this ad hoc committee on "unconventional medical
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
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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