Several weeks ago we held our Surviving Cancer conference. For those of you who didn't attend (and if you couldn't and wish to hear it, the audiotapes of the conference will be available in a few weeks), I wanted to give you a glimpse into what turned out to be an astonishing day.
All the speakers were cancer pioneers, and all had prestigious credentials. Dr Stanislas Burzynski, one of the youngest men ever to earn a PhD and medical degree in Europe, clearly is Nobel prize material. All have been brave in the face of prosecution, harassment or bad press. Burzynski has a foot high stack of clinical trials in support of his discovery about cancer treatment, demonstrating that two-thirds of his patients get better. Nevertheless, for 14 years he has hounded by the Food and Drug Administration, who have tried and failed to put him in jail. In place of Dr Ryke Geerd Hamer, we had to hear from his partner and mouthpiece Fredericke Beck, as Hamer is serving time in prison on a trumped up charge over his treatment.
What impressed me most about the day is that all these eminent men and women provided evidence of good results, even though they were coming at the problem from so many different angles. Amplifying the body's anti-cancer system in the form of amino acids or blood proteins worked for certain cancers, as did detoxifying the body, using one of a number of very different diets, "vaccinating" the body with an element of the placenta, or even homeopathy.
If we are going to get anywhere in treating cancer, we need to be as flexible and openminded as we were required to be at our conference. By the end of the century, it's estimated that one in two of us may get cancer. In the face of this crisis, no new discovery should be allowed to be stifled or suppressed, and no new cancer treatment should remain hidden, so long as it is practiced and studied by credible and sincere practitioners.
The other day, I met Dr William Lane, the man most associated now with shark cartilage. As he tells it (and he is a charming and irrepressible enthusiast), Lane noticed that sharks don't get cancer during his work as a fisheries consultant. Lane doesn't have a medical degree. His doctorate is in biochemistry and nutrition. What he does have is street smarts, an unflagging belief in his discovery and an innate understanding of the power of publicity. Lane says he conducted two small studies in Mexico and Cuba, both impressive. In the Cuban one, half his patients, all stage IV (that is terminal, with months to live), are still alive and well some years later.
Lane couldn't get his results published, so he turned to the media, and interested 60 Minutes and Mike Wallace (the American equivalent of Panorama) in doing the story. Wallace believed him and did a positive television story. In the enormous publicity that followed, the authorities were forced to sit up and take notice. Lane says he got the Food and Drug Administration to approve two clinical trials, the results of which will be available in about 18 months.
Now at the moment, shark cartilage doesn't have much in the way of proof besides Lane's studies and anecdotal evidence, and some of our doctors say they haven't had much luck with it. But the point is that through Lane's tenacity, shark cartilage is going to be studied scientifically. And maybe it will turn out to help in curing certain cancers.
Cancer is such a complicated umbrella term for a collection of illnesses that it is vain to hope for one single magic bullet that will magically cure all cancers. Every credible new cancer pioneer should at least be given a hearing. We were proud to be able to do so.