Sam Chachoua, MB, BS
Extracted from his
book, "The Challenge, The Promise & The Cure"
Dr Sam Chachoua has developed a safe, effective vaccine for healing
cancer, AIDS and other terminal illnesses, but medical authorities
continue to ignore his work and try to prevent his treatments from
becoming widely known.
Dr Sam Chachoua has identified
’nemesis organisms’ that can control
and even cure diseases such as cancer and AIDS, but his therapies
have been largely ignored by the medical establishment.
Part 2 I
TRUTH, LIES AND CONSPIRACIES
Cancer, AIDS, heart disease: three faces of death that devastate so
many lives. Many believe that modern medicine will someday develop
effective therapies. Those afflicted, their friends, family, lovers,
pray that the breakthroughs will come one day soon.
Imagine that the world was offered new treatments and even cures.
Newspapers, television, radio and magazines would carry images of
medical triumph supported not only by hard data but by living,
walking, healthy miracles. Imagine the impact this gift would have
on millions of lives: the fulfillment of dreams, the awakening of
hope. Try to imagine that the announcement was made, but the world
slept through it. Try to picture a public reception with
indifference and a medical society charged not to embrace but to
destroy all embers of this success.
If the scenario is hard to picture, then don’t try to imagine it but
try to remember. It happened. I know. I developed the technology. I
made the announcement.
I had always known that the medical system would take some time to
change, to develop, but I could not have believed that the public
announcement would fall on the deaf ears of victims, nor that my
peers would challenge me not on the science of my achievements but
with baseless rumors, lies and personal attacks. I could never have
anticipated that in answering the dreams of so many, my life would
turn into a nightmare.
A THREAT TO THE STATUS QUO
The summer of 1995 was the proudest in my life. Fifteen years of
research and medical trials had been building up to this one moment:
the triumphant return to my adopted homeland Australia, and the
fulfillment of a promise I had made to myself as I watched my father
die of cancer so many years before.
Investigating three previously overlooked phenomena - organ
resistance, organism resistance and spontaneous remission - I had
developed effective vaccines for the prevention and treatment of
many killer diseases. The genesis of what I call "Induced Remission
Therapy" had begun in Australia more than a decade earlier, but I
had spent five years touring the world, lecturing and training
doctors in hospitals and institutes. I was returning with
independent proof: dramatic and overwhelming evidence that a new age
of health was being ushered in. I was returning home to present my
discoveries and to fund all research and development in this field.
Armed with X-rays, blood tests, preliminary data from the Colorado
University Medical School, UCLA, Cedars Sinai Medical Center and
undoubtedly the strongest proof: patients in remission from cancer,
AIDS and heart disease - rescued after all other options had been
exhausted. This should have been the realization of my life’s goals.
Via the media, millions would meet the success stories and hear of
my offer of A$100,000 to initiate investigations in Australia of
this new therapy. Then, suddenly, silence. All research institutes
were eligible for the $100,000 grant but none came.
I found myself suddenly in the vacuum of a media blackout.
Interviews were cancelled, news stories were not run. The public
returned to its comfortable staple of cancer "breakthroughs" that
may come to be in the next 10 years, the almost weekly announcements
from the familiar research institutes. Soon, to the public, I became
a forgotten memory. To other interests, however, I was a threat that
needed to be destroyed.
A direct frontal assault on Australian soil was not the way, though.
I am a medical doctor in Australia; that gives me certain powers and
rights. I had offered money to have my therapies proved or
disproved, and I had reached out to the public. Attacking me overtly
would have raised too many questions. Backed by data from some of
the world’s most prestigious research institutes, I was offering my
technology with no strings attached.
Australian Medical Board representatives attempted to chastise me
for what they believed were obvious lies and deception. They
demanded to know who had evaluated my data and where. They accused
me of falsely raising hope in poor, dying individuals. It seemed
okay to announce that you can cure an occasional rat and raise
millions in public donations if you are an institute; however, to
say that you can help people and not ask for, but offer money to
prove your point was not quite the done thing. Interestingly, the
Medical Board enquiry into my "unprofessional"
behavior was the
first time I had divulged details of the contacts and institutes
investigating my technology. Incredibly, within days, these centers
would not only cancel their collaboration with me but also,
paradoxically, begin to deny that one had ever existed.
In the USA and Mexico clinics opened up, offering my therapy but
delivering heaven-knows-what to unsuspecting patients. I initiated
legal action to shut them down, but then became a victim of intense
personal and professional attacks as well as physical attempts on my
life. I was disgusted to learn that members of UCLA and
took part in my denigration, but I was in for an even greater shock.
When the names of individuals from the Australian Medical Board were
used against me, I asked them to intervene; they would not. It
seemed that my own Medical Board was supporting the attacks, even if
only by inaction.
What is even more incredible is that amongst all the lies were
claims that my MB, BS (the Australian medical degree) was not that
of a doctor but rather of a nurse or undergraduate. In court,
American expert witnesses testified to that and the Australian
Medical Board seemed to go along for the ride. Despite incredible
resistance and bias, I won the court battle-but the war to save
lives still rages.
Unlike stories of conspiracies and cover-ups from long ago,
happening now. I am still alive; the dream need not be lost, then
mourned. The proof is there if you would only look.
I would never have imagined that the hardest part of healing cancer
and AIDS would be to get people to listen.
This is my story and our dream. Please read; read and remember.
Every child has dreams and aspirations, major contributions to make,
marks to be left, fame to be found-and what feels like an eternity
in which to accomplish these objectives. Curing cancer, growing up
to be a hero, saving mankind-these must be some of the commonest
fantasies of the young. Impossible tasks seem achievable because
there is so much time-time to study, time to grow, time to prepare.
Time allows for attainable fantasies, for pleasant dreams. When time
is shortened by age or situation, when there is a need for rapid
realization of the dream, reality destroys fantasies and dreams are
either abandoned or are often transformed into tangible despair that
mourns its loss by cutting harsher than reality ever could.
My father was first diagnosed with cancer in 1975. He was aware of
the multiple myeloma (a cancer of the bone marrow) several months
prior to submitting to investigations and therapy. Multiple myeloma
at the time was treated only when symptomatic, as therapy was felt
to decrease lifespan, so he felt no rush to confirm his diagnosis.
He also felt no rush in informing me of his condition. My brother
and sister had already entered medical school; I had entered
puberty. My father worried that the news would devastate me and
affect my studies. Even when faced with death, his concerns were for
my life and future. So much changed in the next few years. My
father, the workaholic, became much more the family man; always my
hero, now my best friend.
STEPPING STONES, ALTERED PERCEPTIONS
Cancer is a disease that has repeatedly thwarted a cure. To defeat
it, surely one did not simply need to understand current teachings,
one needed to excel. Curing cancer was not within current knowledge,
therefore one needed not only to master existing technology but to
When seen as stepping stones to achieving my dream, teachings were
devoured. I top-marked in several exams and received the T. F. Ryan
Roentgen Prize in physics. I tried to apply every new nugget of
information to my father’s situation. Biochemistry taught of new
agents that could increase the efficacy of chemotherapy and
radiotherapy, and of cellular toxic agents that were presented in
other contexts. Review of old and new medical research often showed
that these agents had been used, and failed to demonstrate efficacy.
Chemical therapy of cancer was receiving such intense worldwide
scrutiny that it was virtually impossible to generate an original
thought or concept from within the field.
Perhaps the answer then lay in the application of unrelated
technology to the cancer problem. In physics we were taught that
ultrasonic waves would have different heating coefficients depending
on the density of the target; that is, the harder something was, the
hotter it would become when exposed to ultrasonic frequencies.
Cancer was usually denser than normal tissue, and my father’s
cancer, being surrounded by bone, could be heated up much more so
than surrounding soft tissue. Perhaps such preferential heat damage
could kill the cancer.
I approached several cancer researchers. They seemed as excited as I
was but cautioned me to check past publications on the subject.
Thirty years previously, someone had applied that effect to cancer
with marginal and occasionally harmful responses.
If preferential attacks on cancer were not the answer, perhaps
protection of normal structures against toxic agents would allow for
more savage attacks against cancer. I discovered entire fields of
science on the topic of radioprotective and chemoprotective agents.
It was almost impossible to generate an original thought within the
confines of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, yet despite continued
failure these modalities seemed so powerful, so alluring. Cancer was
killing my father; I wanted to hit back, hard!
Searching for metabolic weaknesses; poisoning some pathway essential
to cancer but not to normal cells; combining modalities of
chemotherapy with each other, with radiation, with
hormones-everything had previously been done and had failed.
Cancer was seen as a disease of excess (too much smoking, radiation,
pollution etc.); the generation of an evil, foreign life-form which
battles and invariably destroys its host. Excess must be cut down,
taken away, burned or poisoned. This logic, combined with the
frustration and hatred generated by this invulnerable nemesis, had
locked us into the mindset that dominates current
therapies-therapies that have failed us for so long, yet which we
refuse to abandon.
STANDARD CONCEPTS OF CANCER
I would like to outline the concepts that have dominated cancer
research and therapies over the past few decades. Understanding
failure is a useful tool in attaining success.
By definition, cancer is a rogue cell which multiplies without
respect for normal systems of cellular control and develops into a
mass that invades and destroys normal tissue and structures. It is a
powerful, mindless beast that spreads, grows more rapidly than
normal tissue and ultimately leads to the death of the host.
Cancer growth rate may be slowed or accelerated by a variety of
infections. Even in its natural history, cancer growth is not
constant, for during the life of the patient the disease often grows
in spurts. It is not uncommon for some cancer metastases to shrink,
while most increase in size.
Cancer, the "mindless beast", starts in a localized area, invades
circulatory and lymphatic systems, then spreads throughout the body.
Certain cancers exhibit specific patterns of spread, long held by
conventional teachings to be dictated by the pattern of circulatory
distribution of micro-tumor emboli. This belief furthers the
concept that cancer is a rampaging monster, cast by chance to spread
its deadly seeds. Passively carried by blood and lymph to their new
targets, cancer cells are undifferentiated, non-specific parcels of
destruction that care not where they lodge and are not part of the
decision-making process in their travels to new organs.
SEARCHING FOR MISSING DEFENSES
A few observations regarding cancer in its population and age
distribution are cited repeatedly in immunotherapy literature.
Essentially, increased cancer incidence occurs with
immunodeficiency; and age, particularly past puberty, also appears
to be a promoting factor.
If one considers only these observations, one can conclude that
after puberty there is a loss of some vital immune-protective agent.
If only we could identify it and replenish it, perhaps we could then
triumph over this living nightmare.
The most likely candidate for our source of white blood cells in
shining armor seemed to be the thymus gland, a master immune-cell
generator which atrophies by early teenage years. Its degeneration
seemed to correlate with increased appearance of cancer.
Therapies have proliferated over the years where part or all of the
thymus, its products and hormones were used to treat
patients. Results were marginal to non-existent, yet, of all the
borderline alternative therapies, thymus supplementation persists
most stubbornly. Propelled by a romantic notion, hope does not
fade-even when it is a false hope.
This restricted logic may have been sound. Perhaps we had fixated on
the wrong atrophied organ.
A common observation, even in the most advanced of malignancies, is
that some organs and tissues appear resistant to cancer spread and
invasion. The small intestine not only resists spread but also very
rarely develops primary cancer. Perhaps there is specific
immunologic capacity in the small intestine that prevents cancer
from developing and protects it from tumor spread.
A quick search of anatomy and immunology books revealed that the
small intestine is blessed with its own immune protection in the
form of lymphoid aggregates called "Peyer’s patches". Much of the
function of this line of defense is restricted to the small
intestine and does not circulate. This could account for the cancer
resistance being local.
Studies of lower animals, particularly birds, indicated that their
main immune-processing organ was not the thymus but was located in
their embryonic and foetal intestine. Could this part of human
immunology have been delegated an unfairly low status? In the
animals, their capacity to transfer immune resistance to the entire
body is optimal early in life. What if human correlation exists
whereby there is transfer of resistant factors between Peyer’s
patches (and immune responses localized to the small intestine in
later life) and the rest of the body early in life?
In view of the logic supporting thymic supplementation and the hope
that restoration of an atrophied organ would destroy disease, there
was another interesting observation with relation to Peyer’s
patches. Intestinal lymphoid aggregates atrophied with age. We had
been so obsessed with the thymus that perhaps we had overlooked the
THOUGHT TO ACTION
I had yet to start medical school but spent a good deal of time at
the Peter McCallum Cancer Institute in Melbourne where my father was
receiving treatment. He had introduced me to several oncologists and
I approached them with my ideas. The general response was
condescending but usually polite. Dr Ian Cooper, chief haematologist,
was not only supportive but also advised me to formulate my ideas as
an experimental protocol and present it to Dr Jose of the Immunology
The reply to my preliminary correspondence was surprisingly
encouraging: I was invited to address the weekly group meeting of
the immunology research team. I prepared theory, protocol and an
The presentation was informal and pleasant. Researchers from around
the world had submitted protocols for review by this unit.
Immunostimulants, interferon, interleukin, lymphocyte harvest
pre-chemotherapy: the suggestions were complicated but the themes
familiar. I had heard or read about all these concepts before; worse
yet, the experiments had been done and repeated years previously. I
felt encouraged; my protocol was the only original idea being
presented on that day. Surely a new concept would be more appealing
to a research unit on the cutting edge of technology than simple
repetition of prior failures?
To demonstrate that Peyer’s patches could be stimulated to produce
anti-cancer activity, I proposed that lymphocytes isolated from
these aggregates be tested against those taken from the spleen and
other sources for efficacy against cancer. For obvious reasons I
chose multiple myeloma as the cancer system to attack. An important
design feature was the testing of ordinary extracts to check for
inherent activity and the evaluation of lymphocytes exposed to the
cancer during the animal’s life to search for induced activity.
I was aware that the members of the unit had not been previously
exposed to this approach; it was new to them. I was also aware that
they were not in the least interested.
The first question I was asked was by Dr Jose, requesting the
sources and literature supporting this concept as well as data on
previous trials and their conclusions on this issue.
"This experiment hasn’t been done before!" I claimed proudly.
"But we need to see prior work in this field," he countered.
is a key factor in our accepting experimental protocols!"
In that instant, I understood an intrinsic flaw in the cancer
research industry. In order to realize easy acceptance of ideas and
receive grants, it was important to show that you were traveling
down the same well-worn path of prior investigations.
"I don’t understand," I replied. "Are you telling me that you won’t
do this because it hasn’t been done before?"
"It is hard for me to allocate funds to work lacking prior
experimental and data references." (In essence, he meant "yes".)
"We have no cure for cancer; we aren’t even close. How will we find
it if we don’t explore new avenues?"
I did not mean to sound cocky,
but all of my hope and courage were suddenly dissipating. I was
"We are on a strict budget and have defined guidelines."
I would not be dismissed; my chance to save my father demanded their
"Okay, I’ll pay for it!" (The first of many times that this phrase
would pass my lips, and about the only time that I would not regret
Dr Jose smiled and relented.
"We’ll see," he said. "Go do an
intensive literature search; we’ll start arranging things next week.
Your ideas are interesting and worth exploring."
My father, Isaac, was by now confined to a wheelchair and my mother,
Catherine, catered to his every need and whim. He had been a
whirlwind, an active workaholic who delighted in helping the ill.
Now confined to a chair and to bed, he exhibited a spirit and
attitude that I have since come to realize is far from common. Isaac
wasted no time cursing his debility but would focus on how long he
was able to stay in his garden, tending to his plants, or on how
active and pain-free he could be on a particular day.
That day, my father and mother awaited my return from the conference
with anticipation. That night, my home was filled with intense
happiness, hope and prayer.
The experiment I had proposed was amateurish in its simplicity. The
small intestine dealt with foreign challenges from ingested food on
a continuous basis. Mechanisms for immunologically dealing with
harmful agents had to be dramatic, rapid and effective. Every time
an organism entered our intestine, we did not have the luxury of
mounting a slow response with temperature, lethargy and all the
normal physiologic and metabolic features of an immune response. It
had to be eliminated with prejudice and finality.
Neighborhood lymphocytes in the blood and other organs would never
meet such overwhelming numbers of challenges, as several barriers
needed to be passed first; their response therefore could afford to
be more delayed. Immune cells from respiratory passages would also
be expected to act rapidly, but they did not appear resistant to the
spread and appearance of cancer. Peyer’s patches would protect the
small intestine against direct invasion from the large bowel cancers
as well as blood-borne metastases. I reasoned that their
cancer-killing ability should be visible within minutes.
Others in the laboratory were skeptical, and with reason. Data
repeated from decades of studies indicated that it would take the
incubation of 50,000 to 100,000 white blood cells for three days
with cancer cells and immunostimulants for some of these cells to
kill one cancer cell. The effect was often so subtle that
radio-uptake and leakage studies had to be undertaken to detect
differences. This involved incubating cancer cells with radioactive
isotopes of an agent such as caesium, to allow the cancer cells to
absorb it. When damaged, cancer cells would then leak the
radioactive caesium and that leakage can be measured to indicate
cell damage. I reasoned that the effect would be easily seen on
light microscopy with oesin uptake. This technique is one where a
red dye is added to the cells. Living cells have an active pump
system and patent membranes that stop dye entry, whereas damaged and
dying cells would be coloured by the oesin.
Control studies using cells from Peyer’s patches that had not been
exposed to cancer, showed cancer viability close to 95 per cent.
Spleen cells from unexposed animals did the same. Spleen cells from
animals that had been carrying the cancer gave me a surprising
finding of 100 per cent viability of cancer and an actual increase
in cancer count after short-term incubation. It appeared that spleen
extract from a diseased animal was actually promoting tumour growth.
I did not pay much attention to that finding at the time; I was
searching for a cure, not riddles.
Cells from Peyer’s patches of mice that had been carrying the cancer
surpassed my expectations. As opposed to the 50,000 to 100,000 cells
destroying one cancer cell as previously mentioned over a three-day
period, it took one lymphocyte from sensitized aggregates to kill
400 cancer cells in a one-hour-or-less time period. The cancer cells
would uptake the red oesin dye and soon collapse.
The experiment would be repeated over and over before I would let
myself believe it, before I would show others. Exposed to a very
small amount of Peyer’s patch extracts, the cancer cells would turn
red with embarrassment, then shrivel and die. Mass slaughter of an
invulnerable enemy - it was intoxicating and delicious.
I beckoned for Dr Jose to review the carnage. With just a hint of
excitement he exclaimed, "They’re all dead!" He then added in
standard clinical "Vulcan" coldness: "Interesting."
The following weeks were filled with more magic. Tests confirmed no
toxicity to healthy cells from my lymphocyte extracts. They were
able to protect animals against cancer inoculations, and single
low-dose treatment was able to keep the animals living longer once
they had the disease. Other cancer systems were tested, including
the hepatoma rat model, with identical successes.
I asked when this discovery could be put to use in terminally-ill
humans. "Not for a long, long time," I was told condescendingly.
None of my colleagues or superiors in the laboratory seemed to share
my excitement; worse yet, they seemed to resent my success - and me,
too, for that matter. Perhaps their egos were bruised. I was often
reminded that I had no formal training or education in the field,
whereas they had years of it. My work at the Clinical Sciences
Building (Royal Melbourne Hospital) and the Ludwig Institute became
more and more isolated.
Other affiliates and collaborators who had donated animals and lab
space to me included the Department of Biochemistry at Melbourne
University. Dr Schreiber, the department head, called me in to
advise me personally that in the few days I had been there I had
created friction as I was not qualified, paid or a member of their
’group’ and that structurally they could not support another worker.
I had not fought with anybody, or argued or insulted anyone. I was
unpaid and, above all, my work was yielding incredible results. How
could they terminate investigation on such a promising avenue? These
extracts were killing cancer more effectively and more safely than
anything else in history!
"It doesn’t matter," Dr Schreiber replied.
Dr Jose reminded me that publication was the only way for a
scientist to achieve recognition, and offered me a poster
presentation at the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA)
annual meeting in 1981. Hopes rekindled; I prepared for the big
time. Perhaps amongst doctors, the idea of an effective therapy
would be better received than in the sterile field of research.
A few months later I was standing proudly by my poster; the
youngest-ever presenter of an original project at the prestigious
COSA meeting. Few people stopped by my exhibit and most did so only
to advise me to leave research and concentrate on my medical
studies. I was simply too young and naïve, they said. "What about
the work?" I asked. "Interesting," they replied, and moved on.
Most people spent their time around a diagnostic antibody exhibit.
The attractive researcher’s mini-skirt and plunging neckline were
also on exhibit. Hell, even I found myself distracted by her
I had come with aspirations of recognition, of encountering someone
who would carry the investigation where I could not: in the human
field. If I had harbored any illusions of discovery, fame or
acceptance, they were quickly shattered. Scientists and doctors
alike had greeted me and my discoveries with the same warmth one
reserves for an acute attack of hemorrhoids or outbreak of herpes.
While I found the displays worthwhile, the conferences themselves
were electrifying. I learned of new techniques being used and the
latest trials of hormonal agents, immunostimulants and
Immunotherapy remained an exciting field, whereas the latest
chemotherapy evaluations were delivered in gritty, realistic and
defeatist manner. Hormones were finding increasing application in
general disease management. Bone damage and pain in cancer such as
multiple myeloma were shown to be preventable and treatable with
anabolic hormones. Just that tidbit of information was worthwhile.
It represented a concrete, usable way to help my father.
During the presentations I was to strike a friendship with an
oncologist who would later do his best to destroy me. It would be a
recurring theme of my life. My greatest enemies would always start
as respected friends.
When I suggested to my father’s oncologist that anabolic hormones be
added to strengthen his bones and diminish his pain, he became
annoyed. I had stepped on his toes by daring to suggest a therapy.
Had I hurt his ego? Was there a better way to ask him? Who cares? I
just wanted the best for my father. He refused to recommend it and
my father refused to try anything his specialist did not recommend.
In one presentation I managed to offend my father’s doctor and be
ignored by virtually all others. I had presented a technology for
curing cancer, and no one cared.
EGOS AND LIES IN THE HEALING ARTS
One of modern medicine’s greatest achievements is the claim that no
one needs to suffer, for there is supposedly no pain that cannot be
eliminated by modern pharmaceuticals. That is perhaps true even in
severe terminal pain, if one does not mind existing instead of
living; existing with clouded perceptions, blunted emotions, a
drug-induced stupor; a waking coma where you struggle to comprehend
the world racing around you, where you try to communicate but mouth
gibberish, where you dig deep, searching for the spark, the joy, the
will to continue but find not even a memory of it.
This desperation, this depression, this torment, this torture is
often the price paid for physical comfort. "We can prevent suffering
in terminal disease" is a statement often made by a medical fool
more concerned with perpetuating and reaffirming his illusions of
godhood without any regard for reality.
Cancer is nothing if not relentless. Chemotherapy and
radiotherapy had failed to arrest the progress of my father’s disease. As the
multiple myeloma spread its physical domination, shattered my
father’s skeleton and destroyed his immune function, fractures,
recurrent infections and pain, constant pain, became features of his
life. As he lay bedridden with bone compression, multiple rib breaks
and a disintegrating pelvis, my father refused painkillers except at
night so that he could sleep. He would not permit any loss of mental
clarity during his waking hours: time was short and he wanted to
live it, experience it fully. With his body deteriorating, his mind
remained the only undesecrated sanctuary, haven, drive to continue.
He would not allow this most cherished possession to be tainted; he
would not allow his loved ones to see him as anything less than the
best he could be.
I was beginning to have major problems at medical school. I could
not see the relevance of many topics, nor fathom the time-wasting
techniques in teaching other subjects. We learned, for example, how
to launch a projectile into orbit around Jupiter (useful knowledge
if your practice caters for outer-space aliens and you wish to post
them a prescription; of course that would necessitate a pharmacy on
Uranus, which could prove uncomfortable). Plutonium purification in
the manufacture of nuclear warheads was another priceless inclusion
in our study of the healing arts. Important topics were noted by
their absence. Preventive medicine was never discussed. In the late
1970s and early 1980s, when I undertook my formal medical studies,
diet and nutrition were considered alternative heresy.
The study of anatomy was done in a particularly inefficient manner.
We were given cadavers to dissect for two years. A group of eight
students would spend hours, scalpels in hand, digging at a corpse,
hoping to find and trace nerves and arteries to their origins and
distributions. Dead bodies do not handle the same as living tissue,
and rarely look the same as in book illustrations. I studied my
anatomy from a book. Much more could have been learned had each
group been assigned one person who was well-trained and who could
have guided and educated us. My memories of these sessions are ones
of the stench of formalin, of a student eating someone’s biceps on a
dare, and of others skipping rope using a corpse’s small intestine
or playing football with a hardened lung. This abhorrent lack of
respect for men and women who had donated their bodies to science
and medicine sickened me.
MEDICAL RESEARCH: STAGNANT, DIRECTIONLESS
In this era of genetic engineering and daily promises of medical
marvels, it is hard to imagine a period where innovative thought
seemed to be at a standstill; yet back then, as now, in the playing
fields of clinical trials, one finds variations of intricate
protocols and slight modifications of rules and tools to search for
slightly improved responses from the same tired players: surgery,
radiation and chemotherapy. This points to the stagnant nature of
real options available to the public.
As a medical student, I was now becoming exposed to rigid, inhumane
insanity often associated with clinical trials and questionable
measures of success. Only in cancer, for example, would a
chemotherapeutic agent being evaluated be considered a success if it
shrank a cancer mass, even if it shortened patient survival.
Decades ago, hospitals had carried out unethical and repulsive
procedures in the name of science. Pregnant women were injected with
high doses of radioactive isotopes to gauge the effect on embryos;
prisoners’ testicles were irradiated to study changes; relatives
were inoculated with patients’ cancers to study their response (at
least one case of cancer transfer and death of a patient’s mother
Modern-day inhumanity was present, but not quite as overt. It lay in
protocol objectives and structures.
I remember the case of a patient, a 22-year-old mother, who entered
a monitored trial situation where she was slotted into the
hormone-blocker evaluation group. This breast cancer study was
designed to evaluate survival with various treatment options:
surgery alone (localized), surgery alone (extensive), with
radiation, with chemotherapy, with hormonal blocker therapy, with
combinations of the preceding.
This data had already been gathered to reasonable precision from
studies too numerous to mention worldwide, and certain guidelines
for combinations had been enforced for many years. This particular
design protocol did not allow for such flexibility. How could we
achieve accurate readings if we contaminated one group with the
therapy of another group?
The cruelty of the last statement could be seen in the plight of the
patient referred to above. Having been assigned to the hormone
group, other therapy was withheld-even when it became obvious that
it was not working, and spreading cancer had broken several bones in
(This was not an unusual occurrence in breast cancer. The
standard therapy of the time, which remains to this day, is the use
of radiation to allow for fracture-healing and to resolve the
associated pain. This was denied her; actually, never offered, for
the ’sake’ of the trial.)
The insanity of this situation must be
restated: this trial was confirming many others which had already
outlined the relative merits of therapy. Why this theme of
repetitive rediscovery of the known, regardless of human
consequence? Because it gives the illusion of work, progress and
motion in a stagnant cesspit of medical impotence.
In Australia, the natural health revolution had only just begun and
was struggling for acceptance. The adamant claims of this new field
of medicine were both inspiring and confusing. The response from
conventional medicine was cutting. Alternative medicine was deemed
fraudulent and rejected outright, its practitioners shunned and
persecuted. Disgrace and deregistration awaited doctors who preached
or practiced its beliefs.
Supporters of this emerging field dealt in an inexact science, yet
the detractors refused to carry out investigations to disprove the
claims of alternative medicine. What resulted was a slinging match
with a confused public as the victim. Patients were often punished
if they saw a naturopath or asked a doctor advice on supplements;
they would be treated curtly, and it was not unusual for the doctor
to refuse their ongoing care. New options had been thrust onto
patients, yet proof of efficacy was as lacking as proof of
My mother and I had been searching constantly for anything in
research, folklore or overseas programs. The sudden influx of claims
from natural medicine brought a range of new modalities to try: mind
power, herbs, vitamins, vegetarianism, macrobiotics. My father tried
them all, to no avail.
Fasting, juices, meditation, simple do-it-yourself techniques with a
universal appeal could restore a person’s capacity to help
themselves against a condition so foreign, so overwhelming that
grown adults would revert to child-like dependency on their doctors.
Even if only of marginal efficacy in the physical long-run, the
psychological advantage of regaining some measure of control of
one’s life was a feature conventional medicine could not compete
with. There was also a link that had only been hinted at previously.
Alternative medicine heavily promoted the concept that proper
activation of immune function could eliminate cancer-again, an
Perhaps in an effort to compete with the new challenger, or perhaps
finally disgusted with the toxic failures called "standard therapy",
the powers-that-be launched a major thrust into immunotherapy. I was
part of the "IF" generation. Conventional medicine brought out a new
warrior, an immunostimulant called "interferon"-the "IF" drug. I
cannot claim to know or understand what changes the emphasis of
investigative pathways in modern medicine, only to say that the
industry is particularly well tuned to public views and needs. In
the 1970s it was immune function, so interferon and
occupied the forefront of research for a decade or so. In the 1980s
the public cried out for natural medicine, so Taxol, a natural
extract, was released.
If the above passage alluded to a sinister, manipulative arm to the
industry, it is because I believe it to be inherent in this field.
Interferon, hailed as the new champion in the 1970s, had actually
been discovered at least 50 years previously and then shelved. Why
turn to it now unless the above were true? Public manipulation and
public gullibility are extreme in many areas; cancer, however, leads
The interferon onslaught was savage. Newspapers, magazines,
television and radio programs were at saturation levels with details
of miraculous cures. Like a well-oiled machine, the Cancer Institute
announced it would commence interferon trials; then, soon after,
hospital fundraising events were commenced. This ’dance’ of
announcing breakthroughs, then a program for implementation followed
by appeals for public donation, was monotonous and obvious, year
Many controversial figures have been accused of preying on desperate
victims and profiting from false hope. With decades of failure
behind them but excellent marketing and publicity, with daily
announcements of breakthroughs and assurances of imminent success,
with billions raised within this format, could the cancer industry
not also be accused of the same? Yesterday’s heroes fade into
oblivion and new hopeful contenders are found to blaze in glory for
a time, then fail. They may fail in living up to therapeutic
expectation but always succeed in maintaining the illusion of
dynamic progress and in raising phenomenal income.
Interferon was showing initial remarkable activity in several cancer
types; most importantly, and repeatedly, cases of advanced multiple myeloma were shown recovering with this new therapy. My father’s
hospital had announced that it would investigate its efficacy in the
treatment of multiple myeloma. A dream come true, a hope reignited!
My father was a doctor. He had worked at the Peter McCallum Cancer
Institute and was on first-name basis with most of the specialists
there. He was also one of few long-term survivors of multiple myeloma at that hospital, so surely he would be one of those
enrolled in the trial now that all other therapies were failing him.
Reality hardly ever fulfils all your dreams and prayers. It is also
not usually as needlessly cruel as it was to my father. Following
months of anticipation and planning into what had seemed a bleak
future, we awaited notification of the interferon trial. My father
was not accepted.
In medical trials, patient selection is often optimized for
demonstrating good results. The healthier the patient, the more
likely they are to survive the trial (no point investing in someone
who may die prior to accumulation of data), and the more likely they
are to make the product look good. My father was a risk. Death
loomed closer; cancer laughed and marched on, its progress
accelerated by a weary body and a spirit shattered not by disease
but by hope that was taken away.