AN OPEN SEASON ON 'QUACKS'

From The Cancer Chronicles #18
© 1993 by Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.


"It's of three jovial huntsmen,
"And a hunting they did go;
"And they hunted, and they holloed,
"And blew their horns also."
 --Old English Ballad.

Autumn, beloved season of dunking for apples, peeping at crimson maple leaves, and carving grimacing Jack o' lanterns. And now, a new fall pastime has sprung up: the pursuit of high-flying 'quacks' through the pages of America's scholarly journals.

"Immuno-augmentative Therapy: An Unproven Cancer Treatment" by Saul Green, PhD, in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Oct. 13, 1993, vol. 270, No. 14) is a prime example.

This article by Green, the author of previous JAMA attacks on Dr. Burzynski and Dr. Gerson, repeats many charges that have been leveled in the past against the late Dr. Lawrence Burton. Dr. Green, who did some of this work at taxpayer¼s expense (NCI SBIR grant 2R-44-CA-41953-02, a.k.a. the Emprise, Inc. grant), omits much positive data on IAT. He gives credence to reports that were actually based on degraded and contaminated samples of IAT sera. And although he raises all sorts of theoretical considerations, he never addresses whether or not IAT worksãor how people of good will could find out.

Burton's 26 peer-reviewed publications are ignored in the text of Green¼s article. These include data supporting the efficacy of this approach in animals. Instead, the article simply rehashes the negatives, and devotes much space to an attack on the entire notion that the human immune system is instrumental in guarding against cancer.

This immune surveillance theory was promulgated decades ago by orthodox scientists, such as Lewis Thomas and Nobel laureate Sir Macfarlane Burnet.

It now is suspect because it has been enthusiastically adopted by some laypeople. This theory, Green says, "is so appealing and full of emotionally charged wishful thinking that it has become dogma in the lay literature," but in his view is an "unproven hypothesis."

Of course, few doubt that the original "immune surveillance" theory requires modification. But most scientists still believe there is evidence linking various failures of the immune system to cancer. Vincent DeVita's orthodox "Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology "(1993) states that "äspecific tumors are particularly affected by the immune status of the host. Non-Hodgkin¼s lymphoma, sarcomas, melanomas, and to a lesser extent lung cancer and stomach cancer, appear to be modulated by the immune system" (pp. 2414-2415).

Similarly, the Merck Manual (1992) states "...the presence of immunogenic, surface structures on human neoplastic cells permits their recognition by immuno- competent host cells as well as their interaction with humoral antibodies." In fact, this field "is the object of intensive investigation" (p. 1288).

Sir Gustav J.V. Nossal in the September 1993 "Scientific American" states that "...immune surveillance may act to hold at least certain cancers in check" and that "...another way to fight cancers involves boosting the immune response...." Even the American Cancer Society believes that "immunotherapy holds the hope of enhancing the body¼s own disease-fighting systems to control cancer" (Cancer Facts & Figures ‚1992). Yet Dr. Burton¼s adherence to this commonly held view is depicted as some unique flaw. And JAMA is comfortable with this one-sided approach. When fighting alleged "quackery," it seems, anything goes.

Naturally, the final paragraph got our full attention: "While this paper was being reviewed for publication, an IAT proponent newsletter called The Cancer Chronicles published the news that Lawrence Burton died of a heart attack in March 1993. The editor of this newsletter, Ralph Moss, PhD, stated that Burton¼s clinic would remain open." IAT proponent newsletter? Before this brief notice of Burton¼s death in March, the last thing we published on the topic of IAT was a critique of the Office of Technology Assessment in the Winter 1989/90 issue. That article quoted Burton as saying "I don¼t think there¼s a cure. There¼s no such thing. We¼d rather talk about a control."

Apparently, one such article every three years makes one a "proponent." No attempt was made by JAMA or Dr. Green to ascertain our position.

In fact, this editor has been an outspoken critic of Dr. Burton for his failure to fully publish his results. In Moss¼s Cancer Therapy (1992), the IAT section concludes:

"If these claims [of therapeutic success] are false, then IAT is truly a delusion or fraud of monumental proportions. If they are true, however, then IAT is an astonishing discovery, with profound implications for the treatment of every cancer patient. Only good scientific studies can answer such a question."

On another front, in a publication called The Chronicle of Higher Education (9/15/93), several individuals make personal and political aspersions against Ralph W. Moss, PhD, editor of this newsletter, and People Against Cancer's Frank Wiewel. Moss and Wiewel are called "true believers," who promote untested alternatives through this newsletter and through PAC¼s own publications. This activity allegedly "flies in the face of NIH standards and ethics." Moss and Wiewel serve in various advisory capacities at the Office of Alternative Medicine of the NIH.

According to one detractor, the OAM itself was set up by some alleged organized quackery "mafia" to get a billion dollars' worth of favorable publicity for the dangerous, harmful, and sometimes lethal products they sell.

Let us therefore state once again for the record: The Cancer Chronicles is not part of any "mafia" nor does it promote or sell any treatments, whatsoever. We shun all employment, consultancies, stock ownership, paid expert testimony, or honoraria from the practitioners and methods we write about. The editor of this newsletter laid out its guiding principles in the first issue (Summer 1989):

"The Cancer Chronicles is and will remain a totally independent voice in the cancer field....I do not endorse health products. In short, I value my independence. That's still the firm policy of The Cancer Chronicles, as we enter our fifth year of publication...."


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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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