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EDITORIAL: NON-NATURAL NATURAL

From The Cancer Chronicles #29
© September 1995 by Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.


Recently the new director of the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Richard Klausner, told the New York Times that he favors the development of "non-natural natural products" as a "new way" of discovering anticancer drugs. Instead of searching for new drugs through "tedious drug-screening programs that involved testing molecules from the soil or from plants to see if any could, by chance, kill cancer cells," Dr. Klausner favors creating entirely new molecules in the test tube.

In that way, things that start out as natural products (e.g., bacteria) can be cleverly modified to become rationally designed drugs.

"We can dramatically speed up evolution by mutating these genes ourselves," Dr. Klausner says. "We can make millions of mutations."

This idea isn't new. In cancer, rational drug design has been around since the late 1940's (e.g., N Engl J Med 1948;238:787-793). Everyone knows that this has led to very few valuable agents, despite an enormous expenditure of money and brainpower over the decades.

The interview with Dr. Klausner left me feeling letdown, to put it mildly. He has been promoted as a reformer, and seems sincere and well-intentioned. But now I think we are looking at years of the same-old same-old at NCI.

NCI and the drug company are ignoring the obvious. There are real, natural natural products out there that have already shown effectiveness around the world. But because these are difficult to successfully patent or to monopolize scientists are driven to chemically modify them on behalf of the profit motive. That process makes them less effective, foreign to the body, and usually very toxic.

Dr. Klausner¹s talk about "non-natural natural" takes us in the wrong direction. This issue of the Chronicles is an extended reply to the director. It highlights just a few of the "natural natural" products that deserve intensive study. These deserve first priority in any rational anti-cancer plan.

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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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