Alternative Cancer Care Pioneers
A look at some who led the way
Over the last several decades, a search for a cure for cancer has largely been focused on developing new chemotherapy drugs, radiation therapy and surgical interventions. Nonetheless, the incidence and mortality of cancer, in general, are increasing. The number of cancer-related deaths is expected to double in the next 50 years in spite of current advances in cancer prevention and treatment. Many of the clinically approved chemotherapy drugs exert deleterious side effects on normal tissues, many times with severe consequences on the overall health and strength of the cancer patient.
Dr. William Kelley was an early pioneer in the field of non-toxic cancer treatment. Kelley, a dentist by professional training, had survived terminal pancreatic cancer in the early 1960s using himself essentially as a ‘guinea pig.’ Dr. Kelley’s treatment protocol was based, in part, on the work of Dr. John Beard, a biologist in the early 1900s who studied human embryonic development. Beard postulated, after years of study, that the body’s primary mechanism for destroying cancer cells is contained in pancreatin, an enzyme secreted from the pancreas.
Beard arrived at his hypothesis based on research he performed detailing the steps of how the early human embryo invades and destroys part of the uterine lining before it embeds itself. This is accomplished by cells called trophoblasts which have the ability to divide rapidly, and are highly invasive. They are also capable of escaping the effects of the immune system. It was Beard’s contention that trophoblasts were very similar to cancer cells, and in fact, that trophoblasts and cancer cells developed from the same cell line. Beard further concluded that when the embryonic pancreas becomes active and begins secreting enzymes, the trophoblast ceases its cancer-like invasion of the uterine wall.
Beard published many of his findings in a book entitled The Enzyme Treatment of Cancer and is credited with the theory of the cancer stem cell. Much of what Beard discovered fell into scientific oblivion until Dr. Kelley began treating cancer patients several decades later.
Dr. Kelley’s program can be divided into six basic components:
- An appropriate diet, based on the patient’s metabolic type
- Intensive nutritional support
- Protomorphogen support
- Digestive aids
- Pancreatic enzyme therapy
Dr. Kelley was particularly known for his use of coffee enemas as part of the detoxification step. Other alternative practitioners, such as the late Dr. Max Gerson, also prescribed coffee enemas as part of a detoxification regime. During the 1930s and 1940s, Dr. Gerson developed his own nutritional therapy for degenerative diseases (including cancer) and recommended daily strong coffee enemas for all his patients.
Dr. Kelley believed in treating the patient and not just ‘their disease.’ He termed this protocol as a ‘metabolically-based’ approach. He also believed it was important to address energetic problems, often referred to in Chinese Medicine, as well as one’s spiritual health. In many ways, he was a true forerunner to the personalized and integrative medicine approaches that many alternative providers are turning to today.
Word spread quickly in the 1970s and 80s regarding the success Kelley was obtaining treating cancer. It was during this time that Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez began his study of Dr. Kelley’s treatment protocols using pancreatic enzymes. Dr. Gonzalez published a book entitled One Man Alone in 1987 after studying 1,000 of Kelley’s patient files and then selecting 50 cancer cases to chronicle. These cases involved 25 different types of cancer. All of these cases were given either a poor or terminal prognosis by the standards of conventional oncology. In all of the cases, Gonzalez documented evidence of regression of the disease, unusual long-term survival – or both – that he logically attributed to the Kelley program.
Dr. Gonzalez currently maintains a private practice in New York City treating chronic conditions including cancer. His website, Dr-Gonzalez.com details his cancer treatment program. It also includes testimonials from various researchers and scientists who have reviewed his patient files and validated the positive outcomes his patients have obtained using his protocols.
According to the American Cancer Society, there have been no well-documented studies showing that pancreatic enzyme therapy is effective for treating cancer. However, the significance of what men like Beard, Kelley, Gerson, and Gonzalez have brought to alternative cancer treatment, including the importance of detoxification and proper nutrition, is paving the way for more integrated approaches.
Dr. John Dixon can be reached at the Natural Medicine Group (760) 345.7300.
Sources: 1) Dietary Modulation of Cell Signaling Pathways, Packer et.al.2009 2) One Man Alone, Gonzalez, 2010 3) The Trophoblast and the Origins of Cancer, Gonzalez, Isaacs, 2009