Introduction to What Went Wrong:
The Truth Behind the Clinical Trial of the Enzyme Treatment of Cancer
Nicholas J. Gonzalez, MD
From 1998 to 2005, my colleague Dr. Linda Isaacs and I worked closely with physicians and scientists from Columbia University, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), developing and pursuing a formal clinical trial comparing our nutritional treatment to chemotherapy in patients diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. When the project first began we were excited by, and grateful for, this opportunity to have our regimen tested under what we hoped would be rigorous academic supervision. In a personal sense, the study represented the culmination of nearly 15 long years of our own research efforts and our battles to have our therapy properly evaluated and eventually mainstreamed. We also hoped that in a more global sense, this effort would help usher in a new era of cooperation between mainstream institutions and serious alternative practitioners with promising new treatments. In those long ago days we truly believed that the endless and fruitless war between academic medicine and more unconventional approaches might be coming to an end, to everyoneâï¿½ï¿½s benefit.
From the outset, the project generated praise and enthusiasm in the alternative medicine press, as well as considerable interest in more traditional venues such as the New Yorker Magazine, but also some dismissive attacks. At times, we both felt we were in the middle of a firestorm. Nonetheless, whatever the obstacles we were determined to soldier on, prove to the scientific community the seriousness of our intent, and show once and for all that a treatment developed outside the academic world could come under scrutiny and be vindicated.
Now, some 14 years later, I am sorry to report that despite our early optimism the study collapsed in a morass of poor management and indifference by those assigned to supervise the project. Our enthusiasm long ago died, along with our faith in the academic research world, its concern for such noble ideals as scientific truth and compassion for the seriously ill. In a more practical sense, at this point we strongly believe that any serious-minded alternative cancer practitioner or researcher should avoid working with NCCAM, the NCI, and academic medical centers at all cost, and instead search for other avenues of support, either from industry or private foundations.
So what went wrong?
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