Respectful Insolence

R.I.P. Patrick Swayze


i-f585b856e9ac838002cb27cf196347a7-Swayze.jpg

I just learned that earlier today Patrick Swayze finally died of his pancreatic cancer after having survived far longer (20 months) than the average patient diagnosed with stage IV disease (less than 6 months). All I can say is: Rest in peace, Patrick. Not only did Swayze deal with his terminal illness with courage, humor, and panache, but he was awesome when he slapped down the quacks offering bogus cancer cures:

If anybody had that cure out there, like so many people swear they do, you’d be two things. You’d be very rich, and you’d be very famous. Otherwise, shut up.

The recent revelation of how badly pancreatic cancer patients undergoing the quack therapy known as the Gonzalez protocol did is just one more bit of evidence of how right Swayze was.

Despicable ghoul that he is, I can only wonder how long it will be before Mike Adams of NaturalNews.com publishes another nauseating abuse of a dead celebrity designed to proclaim how, if Patrick Swayze had only pursued “natural” therapy instead of that nasty, awful, evil science-based medicine, he would have eliminated his pancreatic cancer and would still be Dirty Dancing today, perfectly cancer-free.

Not long, I suspect.

Comments

  1. #1 Monado, FCD
    September 15, 2009

    Sad to hear this; good that he was brave about it. Very nice put-down of the quacks.

  2. #2 Patrick
    September 15, 2009

    The Lasting Tribute website has updated its memorial pages to include Patrick Swayze.

    http://www.lastingtribute.co.uk/tribute/swayze/2793195

    It’s a respectful memorial to Patrick and somewhere to pay tribute to his family’s fortitude at this difficult time.

    EVERY comment is monitored so that nothing offensive or inappropriate is published.

  3. #3 Kevin Champagne
    September 15, 2009

    Patrick Swayze did bad mouth alternative medicine doctors but he died while using a mainstream big pharma experimental drug called “Vatalanib”.

  4. #4 Ace of Sevens
    September 15, 2009

    Kevin, what’s your point? He made it a long time for someone with pancreatic cancer. Maybe the drug works.

  5. #5 Kevin Champagne
    September 15, 2009

    Umm …the point of this post was how Patrick Swayze put down quack medicine and my point was …look where it got him …. A pine box!

    Maybe the drug works? If Patrick Swayze is part of the clinical trial results …dump your shares of stock in Bayer Schering and Novartis now!

  6. #6 snerd
    September 15, 2009

    KC, what in the name of Cthulhu are you on about? You’re being more incoherent than usual.

  7. #7 MisterMarcus
    September 15, 2009

    KC showing all the class and decency we’ve come to expect from the alties.

    He must feel like a real man.

  8. #8 Christophe Thill
    September 15, 2009

    I wasn’t really a fan, but it’s sad news. The “good” side of things is that apparently (cf. Orac’s post from yesterday) 2 years of survival is not bad at all. I hope the research will progress.

  9. #9 cb on bonanzle
    September 15, 2009

    Another talented star gone. May he rest in peace and may his death be an inspiration in finding a cure for pancreatic cancer. As he said earlier this year “I want to last until they find a cure, which means I’d better get a fire under it.”

  10. #10 daijiyobu
    September 15, 2009

    P.S. is quoted: “if anybody had that cure out there, like so many people swear they do, you’d be two things. You’d be very rich, and you’d be very famous. Otherwise, shut up.”

    Well, here are some other cancer quacks that haven’t shut up

    and get rich promising much [that the nonscientific is science],

    but if their claims were true, they’d have Nobels:

    “Melanoma Treatment: Naturopathy”

    per http://www.cancercenter.com/melanoma/naturopathic-medicine.cfm

    “naturopathic medicine […which is a] science […based upon a] life force.”

    Quite a promise.

    And per http://www.cancercenter.com/complementary-alternative-medicine/naturopathic-medicine.cfm

    naturopathy is a “science […and is] scientifically grounded […and] backed by scientific research.”

    Quite a promise, again.

    The video at that second link tells us naturopathy is:

    “evidence based [per ND Keats…of] natural therapeutics […like] homeopathy […that] we firmly believe in the healing power of nature [life force].”

    Fascinating.

    -r.c.

  11. #11 Orac
    September 15, 2009

    Patrick Swayze did bad mouth alternative medicine doctors but he died while using a mainstream big pharma experimental drug called “Vatalanib”.

    He also lived far longer and did far better for far longer than the average patient with stage IV pancreatic cancer. The reason was probably part biology (probably a less aggressive than typical tumor) plus the modern medicine he used to prolong his life.

    Alternative medicine would not have helped him, and he realized that–even staring death in the face.

  12. #12 pinky
    September 15, 2009

    Sad to hear of his death.

  13. #13 Vindaloo
    September 15, 2009

    Snerd, “KC, what in the name of Cthulhu are you on about? You’re being more incoherent than usual.

    You obviously don’t know KC very well. In this thread he actually sounds almost sober. A lunatic, yes, but at least he’s no longer tweeting from the “hyperbaric” chamber in Buttar’s office in which he’s knocking out dual chelation and urine injection “therapies”.

  14. #14 sophia8
    September 15, 2009

    Could KC be the same Kevin Champagne who used to run the Readers Digest prize draws in the UK?
    It would be quite amusing if it was – from pulling in the punters by promising huge prizes that you had only the most minute chance of winning, to pulling in the punters by promising miracle cures that you had no chance at all of winning…..

  15. #15 MadScientist
    September 15, 2009

    It’s good to know that there are sensible people in the entertainment business who tell people what they know. Far too often we hear the obnoxious dimwits like Jenny McCarthy. I still miss folks like Johnny Carson who could make a show out of exposing frauds like Uri Geller, and Johnny is so long gone I don’t know how many folks out there would remember him. Christina Applegate made the best decision for her health; it’s really horrible that she had been diagnosed with such an illness at such a young age, but it’s very brave and decent of her to tell the world and to remind people that cancer really doesn’t care about age (despite what people might believe from watching the TV news). So goodbye to Patrick Swayze; I hope he serves as an example of how entertainers can have a far greater effect on people than simply quelling their boredom for an hour or so.

  16. #16 Aj
    September 15, 2009

    RIP to the greatest Cooler in the world.

  17. #17 BB
    September 15, 2009

    Very sad to have heard about it when the news broke last night.
    He was a great spokesperson for the cause. Deepest condolences to his loved ones and friends.

    BB, a researcher on pancreatic cancer

  18. #18 FreeSpeaker
    September 15, 2009

    Years ago, when he danced for the Joffrey Ballet, I met him. He was a heck of a nice guy who you could hang with and feel comfortable.

    Now, watch for the GOULS to use his death.

  19. #19 Brad Pitcher
    September 15, 2009

    Sorry to break the bad news. Mike Adams has already pounced and he’s still spouting the same drivel as before:

    http://www.naturalnews.com/027030_cancer_chemotherapy_Patrick_Swayze.html

  20. #20 Scott
    September 15, 2009

    Could Patrick Swayze have saved his own life with natural medicine? Absolutely. Without question. Even late-stage pancreatic cancer can be reversed (yes, reversed) with full-on naturopathic treatments involving Chinese herbal medicine, deep body detoxification that includes sweat saunas and colon cleansing, radical changes in diet from “dead” foods to “live” foods, a healthy dose of vitamin D and the daily consumption of raw anti-cancer living juices made from fresh, organic produce like cabbage, broccoli and garlic.

    Yeah, Mike’s angling for Another Heapin’ Helpin’ of Not-So-Respectful Insolence, I’d say. Or maybe not, since there’s nothing new there, just the same old tired BS.

    Ah well, I’m sure Orac doesn’t need our help finding said article or deciding whether to lay the smack down on it.

  21. #21 Guy
    September 15, 2009

    RIP Patrick.

    I am also skeptical of alternative treatments for cancer.

    There is some science based evidence that a “natural” diet that promotes health can help prevent cancer and other diseases. Starting that type of diet while pursuing modern medical treatment probably wouldn’t have hurt, but it’s a bit like closing the barn-door after the horse is already out.

  22. #22 Calli Arcale
    September 15, 2009

    Very sad news. Swayze was a good actor, a fabulous dancer, and a fine figure of a man. ;-) But he faced what is otherwise a horrific illness with grace and determination. I immensely impressed by that. The world is a little bit darker today, with him gone.

    Brief digression:
    [quote]I still miss folks like Johnny Carson who could make a show out of exposing frauds like Uri Geller, and Johnny is so long gone I don’t know how many folks out there would remember him.[/quote]

    Carson had one big thing in common with James Randi — he was a professional illusionist before he became famous for other things. Magicians tend to have more insight than most into the ways people can be deceived, and although they’ll deceive people for entertainment purposes, it is expressly understood that their “magic” is an illusion. This often gives them very little patience for those who deceive for their own personal enrichment. What’s worse is that most of the con-artists aren’t even very good illusionists. It’s amazing how lousy a trick you can pull off if you don’t tell people that it’s fake. Of course, this is why Teller, of Penn & Teller, is so highly regarded among professional magicians. Even when you’ve just been told precisely what he’s really doing, you’re still amazed. Some of his tricks, you’re actually amazed *more*, because you can appreciate the skill behind them. Geller doesn’t have skill. What he’s got is the chutzpah to lie to people. That’s all.

  23. #23 Scott
    September 15, 2009

    On the other hand, the sort of diet that there’s some indication might be somewhat helpful is the same sort of diet mainstream medicine’s been advocating for decades. Plenty of fruits and vegetables, moderate fat and sugar intake – not new recommendations.

  24. #24 Pablo
    September 15, 2009

    On the other hand, the sort of diet that there’s some indication might be somewhat helpful is the same sort of diet mainstream medicine’s been advocating for decades. Plenty of fruits and vegetables, moderate fat and sugar intake – not new recommendations.

    Seriously. Since when has “eat a healthy diet” become the realm of “alternative medicine?”

    I listen to a lot of Dr Radio on satellite radio, and gotta say actually, I get tired of them constantly going on about eating a healthy diet. Yeah yeah yeah, we get the picture… (of course, we DON’T get it, which is why they keep harping on it)

    OK, they don’t overhype stupid crap like “organic” foods or stupider crap like “raw foods” and extreme diets, but they certainly focus on generally eating healthily. Anyone who thinks that current medicine ignores nutrition is misguided. Of course, the problem is that doctors actually talk about real nutrition, and not loading up on worthless vitamin supplements (but they will go that way when warranted – the dermatologists constantly promote supplements for a healthier approach to Vitamin D, instead of exposing the skin to cancer risk). That drives the altters nutso, because, as much as they bemoan Big Pharma foisting another pill on us, they so insist that they get their vitamin supplements…(see the Gonzalez approach – 150 frickin pills a day! Those aren’t free….)

    OBPatrick Swaze: I have enough experience watching dance to know that he wasn’t the best dancer in the world, but he was still very good and entertaining, and that is what matters. However, for me, Patrick Swayze will always be remembered not for “No one puts Baby in the corner,” but the Chippendales Try-Out skit that he did with Chris Farley on SNL. That was awesomely funny.

  25. #25 Clare
    September 15, 2009

    @21. A healthy lifestyle is a good thing but it’s a mistake to think of it as a kind of protective magic.

  26. #26 wanda
    September 15, 2009

    I just want to say I am so sorry that Patrick Swayze had such a hard way to death. I have had half of my pancreas taken out. The doctors don’t know why I didn’t have pancreatic cancer. And do not know what caused my pancreas to do what it did to this day. I have been dealing with my pancreas since 1991. I only have a sliver of my pancreas left. When it finally goes away I will be a diabetic.

    May Patrick rest in peace now and out of pain. The pain is hard.

  27. #27 ctenotrish
    September 15, 2009

    A point for KC to consider: vatalanib is a protein kinase inhibitor. Specifically, it is an inhibitor of VEGFR1 and 2, both of which are involved in angiogenesis. Unlike pads that ‘draw toxins’ out of the soles of your feet, or whatever bunk is the cure du jour, the biological mechanisms that makes this drug worth studying are understood. A drug being experimental does not mean that it is bad, or fake, or whatever it was that you were implying. It simply means that it is not yet known whether this particular drug (or drug combo) works better than other studied treatments. That is why we *have* clinical trials, to collect data to determine if one drug works better than another. Thus, science and the art of medicine move forward, leaving behind the “but it worked for me!” crowd.

    http://www.cancer.gov/Templates/drugdictionary.aspx?CdrID=43530

  28. #28 daijiyobu
    September 15, 2009

    I should mention, as an addition to my CTCA mention above, that they specifically have a pancreatic-naturopathic page,

    http://www.cancercenter.com/pancreatic-cancer/naturopathic-medicine.cfm

    “safe, evidence-based natural therapies (e.g., vitamins, minerals, herbal medicines, homeopathy) […] acupuncture […] to strengthen your immune system, boost your energy level, and reduce treatment-related side effects.”

    And they got a CRAPLOAD of NDs:

    http://www.cancercenter.com/cancer-doctors/specialties/naturopathic-medicine.cfm

    many of whom are ‘board certified in naturopathic oncology.’

    Yikes.

    -r.c.

  29. #29 legio_noctis
    September 15, 2009

    Could Patrick Swayze have saved his own life with natural medicine? Absolutely. Without question. Even late-stage pancreatic cancer can be reversed (yes, reversed) with full-on naturopathic treatments involving Chinese herbal medicine, deep body detoxification that includes sweat saunas and colon cleansing, radical changes in diet from “dead” foods to “live” foods, a healthy dose of vitamin D and the daily consumption of raw anti-cancer living juices made from fresh, organic produce like cabbage, broccoli and garlic.

    (NaturalNews)

    I just don’t know how anyone actually believes this. How could you possibly reverse the uncontrolled growth of genetically damaged cells with broccoli?

    Very sad.

  30. #30 Joseph C.
    September 15, 2009

    I think death might be preferable to having to chug a mixture of broccoli, cabbage, and garlic juice. That’s about the foulest-sounding concoction I can think of.

  31. #31 Bobby Ewing
    September 15, 2009

    I am really surprised that he lasted as long as he did. In these pictures from April he looked like he had only days to live

    http://www.jlaforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=7312932

    In comparison to the pictures there too from days past – it really shows what this horrible disease does to a person. What a shame!

    RIP Patrickc

  32. #32 Kismet
    September 15, 2009

    Nooo.. in the name of gawd, why vitamin D? Why do they have to associate one of the few remaining and extremely promising vitamins with quackery?

    But, say, ORAC or someone knowledgable, what makes pancreatic cancer so deadly? It is usually diagnosed too late and the pancrease does not seem like an easily accessible position, anatomically, but is there something special about the cancer (and the cells it arises from) making it that immune to chemo? Even after complete resection the cancer has one of the lowest survival rates, right?

  33. #33 T. Bruce McNeely
    September 15, 2009

    But, say, ORAC or someone knowledgable, what makes pancreatic cancer so deadly?

    As a Pathologist, I can speak to the diagnostic part of your question. What you say is pretty much correct. It’s very difficult to diagnose pancreatic carcinoma because:
    – presnting symptoms are vague, and usually only appear at a relatively late stage. Surgical treatment is possible in only about 10 to 20% of cases.
    – the pancreas is probably the most inaccessible of major organs (except for the brain), for both diagnosis (routine xray, biopsy) and surgical treatment (not only that the location is difficult, but the complication rate is extremely high).
    – there are no blood markers for early detection (unlike PSA and prostate cancer, for example)
    – even histopathology is a problem. It can be extremely difficult to tell an invasive pancreatic carcinoma from chronic pancreatitis under the microscope, especially with a small biopsy such as a core sample. Of course, this is a tense situation, since giving the patient the wrong answer would be a disaster.

    As far as response to chemo goes, it’s my understanding that pancreatic carcinoma responds poorly to chemo. However, this isn’t my field, and I would also be interested in what any oncologists here have to say.

  34. #34 debt relief
    September 16, 2009

    RIP Patrick!

  35. #35 Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP
    September 16, 2009

    A fine man and a courageous fight. T. Bruce, thanks for the path point of view.

    I’m also very skeptical of alternative “cures” for cancer. I think that if I had a glio or pancreatic carcinoma I would not be very pleased with the survival rates and side effects of the current conventional regimens. But, I’d be even more leery of unproven alternative remedies guaranteeing to cure me.

    The real answers lie in pursuing the work begun by the great Dr. Judah Folkman (may he also rest in peace.) There might actually be a cure in knowing how to selectively deal with tumor angiogenesis.

    Jay

  36. #36 Kevin Champagne
    September 16, 2009

    What a bunch of bullshit!

    Come on, you bunch of horse blinder wearing peer reviewed science diluted knuckleheads …he survived 2 years because he was wealthy and had the best care, best testing, and access to experimental drugs that most people would not have access to but, …the fact is, Swayze chose conventional medicine and he is now no longer with us.

    When someone chooses alternative medicine and it doesn’t work out, …the doctor was a quack, the patient or the patient’s parents were idiots and, Oprah, and/or Larry King played a part and so on and so on.

    This is what mainstream/conventional medicine has to offer ya, “at least he survived 2 years”, “He made it a long time for someone with pancreatic cancer”, “maybe 20 or 30 people will die from a vaccine but thousands will be saved”, “maybe a few cases of cervical cancer will be prevented but several hundred others will suffer from Guillain-Barré syndrome and suffer life long paralysis”, and so on.

    And now we have a new untested vaccine (from Baxter that tried to spread Avian flu in Europe last year with it’s seasonal flu vaccine and is now using highly contagious African green monkeys to develop this vaccine) for children and pregnant women for the H1N1 flu that only seems to be killing people with predisposed medical conditions, but for some reason undisclosed to the public what those predisposed medical conditions are.

    700 deaths world wide from H1N1 in one year when supposedly the number of deaths from seasonal flu is 36,000 in the United States alone each year? Something doesn’t add up here folks.

  37. #37 Chris
    September 16, 2009

    Kevin Champagne:

    Come on, you bunch of horse blinder wearing peer reviewed science diluted knuckleheads …he survived 2 years because he was wealthy and had the best care, best testing, and access to experimental drugs that most people would not have access to but, …the fact is, Swayze chose conventional medicine and he is now no longer with us

    Okay, show us someone who had lots of money and lived almost two years with advanced pancreatic cancer but used alternative treatments! And do it with references (especially with the twice a day coffee enemas, since that has to be the most ghastly bit — first for the coffee going up the wrong way, and for it preventing the rest a cancer patient needs).

  38. #38 Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP
    September 16, 2009

    I was remiss in not mentioning that Dr. Folkman was absolutely reviled by most conventional scientists and doctors and oncologists for many years before finally being acknowledged the genius and visionary he truly was.

    I would guess that Mr. Swayze’s doctors gave him realistic statistics and that he also used his wealth and fame to gain access to the information he wanted and needed about alternative cancer treatment. He made the choice which worked for him and his family.

    J

  39. #39 Kevin champagne
    September 16, 2009

    “Okay, show us someone who had lots of money and lived almost two years with advanced pancreatic cancer but used alternative treatments! And do it with references (especially with the twice a day coffee enemas, since that has to be the most ghastly bit — first for the coffee going up the wrong way, and for it preventing the rest a cancer patient needs).”

    You can’t prove conventional medicine experimental drugs prolonged his life just like you can’t prove that alternative medicine would have shortened it!

  40. #40 Orac
    September 16, 2009

    I was remiss in not mentioning that Dr. Folkman was absolutely reviled by most conventional scientists and doctors and oncologists for many years before finally being acknowledged the genius and visionary he truly was.

    No, Dr. Folkman was not reviled. That is an utter myth, along the lines of the myth that Barry Marshall and Robin Warren were “reviled” for proposing H. pylori as the cause of duodenal ulcers. Far from it. In the surgery community, Folkman was a highly respected pediatric surgeon for many years and a respected investigator. That’s not to say that there wasn’t a lot of major skepticism of his ideas for nearly two decades, but that’s how science worked. When Folkman first proposed his idea (1973), there wasn’t even methodology to culture vascular endothelial cells, which Folkman’s lab itself figured out how to do in 1979. The fact is, in the surgical world Folkman has been very well respected for a very long time–dating back to even before the mid-1990s, when the evidence for his hypothesis started to gel.

    Even facing major skepticism and criticism in the 1970s and 1980s, what did Folkman do? Did he whine that “your” science was wrong and that he was being unjustly criticized, as anti-vaccine “scientists” like the Geiers do? No! He went to work and built the case for his hypothesis, never complaining, never lashing out at his critics, never telling them they didn’t understand and, above all, never engaging in special pleading, as you and the anti-vaccine movement do all the time when you say your “personal” experience or anecdotes should trump science. That’s because Folkman was a consummate scientist and a class act of a guy. I met him on three occasions; he was surprisingly humble.

    You would do well to emulate Judah Folkman, instead of whining about how you’re misunderstood and how you think your personal clinical experience trumps science and epidemiology.

  41. #41 Richard Eis
    September 16, 2009

    -You can’t prove conventional medicine experimental drugs prolonged his life just like you can’t prove that alternative medicine would have shortened it!-

    Well, no, the fact he lived 20 months instead of less than 6 is completely unrelated. You’re right we should wait for the full range of double blind testing that the medicine will undergo…
    Which of course your alternative theories have all been tested with…what…they haven’t been tested properly but they are still being peddled…how odd.

    Dumbass.

  42. #42 ChrisC
    September 16, 2009

    The difference between Patrick Swayze’s experience with conventional medicine versus a hypothetical situation in which he chose to use “alternative” treatments would be fairly obvious.

    In the real, evidence based world, Patrick’s doctors would have explained to him that he had a very serious illness, that kills most of its suffers quickly. With treatment, he may expect a few more months. Perhaps a few more years. Yet, they would have explained to him that this prognosis was dire, and he would most likely die within a year. I’m positive that when placing him on the experimental drug, that Patrick’s doctors would have explained that even with this treatment, he would be unlikely to go into remission.

    This would be starkly different to what would have happened had Swayze approached, say, Mike Adams. While acknowledging the seriousness of his condition, fools like Adam’s would have promised the world. Take the coffee enema and start doing your shopping at Whole Foods and you’ll be cured! Don’t worry that there is no evidence that any of their “treatments” make an iota of difference, that you’ll most likely live longer and with less pain if you undertake real treatment. Just flush out the “toxins” and you’ll be fine!

    Adams co are quacks, taking advantage of the vulnerable. This is what Kevin Champagne doesn’t seem to get. Pedaling false hope is a horrible thing to do to a person. Pedaling damaging false hope is … you fill in the blank.

  43. #43 Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP
    September 16, 2009

    Orac, sometimes you’re absolutely impossible.

    Judah Folkman was disdained and criticized for years and we all know that. He continued to aver that his understanding of angiogenesis inhibition would triumph in the end even without the support of many of his colleagues and without sufficient research to support his ideas.

    Obviously, when the initial research was done, he was proven right. If you don’t appreciate that kind of courage of one’s conviction, you may be stuck with old ideas and methods forever.

    You would do well to stop your whining about my misunderstanding your science: I understand it, respect it but disagree that it’s the only answer to all of life’s problems.

    Again, congratulations on being named the top site.

    Best,

    Jay

  44. #44 Orac
    September 16, 2009

    Dr. Jay,

    You said reviled, not “disdained and criticized.” But not just that, you said “absolutely reviled by most conventional scientists and doctors and oncologists” (emphasis mine). At the risk of your calling me a “potty mouth” again, I will tell you that your characterization is absolute bullshit. Dr. Folkman was not reviled; he was highly respected from the 1970s on–especially in the surgical research community.

    Now, Folkman was criticized, and his views on angiogenesis were greeted with a fair amount of skepticism, but that’s not the same thing as being “absolutely reviled.” In fact, it’s very different. Moreover, there is nothing wrong with his being criticized, either. That’s how science works. Folkman happened to be challenging the current paradigm of the time, and he didn’t yet have enough experimental data to win over the skeptics. He knew that. Unlike your “heroes” in the anti-vaccine movement, however, instead of engaging in special pleading or whining about the “dogma” of the scientists who didn’t accept his hypothesis, Folkman did what good scientists do: He went back into the lab and did more research. He kept generating data until it couldn’t be denied that he was on to something. It took until the mid-1990s, with the publication of several landmark papers in 1994, 1996, 1997, and 1998 before he really started to win over the skeptics, but good science won out, as it ultimately virtually always does. The process may be messy and take way longer than anyone thinks it should, but in the end science wins out.

    Here’s a story that shows how science should work and how scientists should collaborate. I have personal experience of it, because I worked in one of the labs that Folkman helped. Around 1998, after Folkman had published papers showing that he could induce tumor dormancy with angiostatin or endostatin (two endogenous antiangiogenic peptides he had discovered), a number of labs contacted him, telling that they couldn’t replicate his results. Now, he could have just blown them off or defended his work. Instead, he worked with each of them to figure out what they were doing that was different from what Folkman’s lab was doing. He shared reagents and expertise. At times, he even sent lab members to other labs to help investigators troubleshoot. And guess what? In the end, other labs started replicating Folkman’s results. Usually the problem was how the angiostatin or endostatin were prepared or dissolved in solution. They are somewhat finicky peptides, hard to synthesize and to get to fold correctly and easily inactivated. Folkman helped our lab to get our assays working as we tried to determine the effect of combining antiangiogenic therapy with radiation therapy.

    I do, however, see something in your initial choice of words. You initially chose the word “reviled” instead “viewed with skepticism” or “Folkman’s hypothesis was harshly criticized.” I think I know why. You don’t understand science. You have to have a thick skin if you want to do science that is the least bit controversial, because you will encounter harsh criticism, often in public when you present your work as scientific meetings. You need to be able to defend your work if you want to be taken seriously. It’s intellectual combat, a Darwinian process where the best-supported hypotheses survive the battering they take from scientists looking for weaknesses and the least-supported die off. You, however, seem to view everything personally. You see harsh criticism of Judah Folkman, and conclude that he must have been “reviled” when nothing could be further from the truth. I suspect your conflating of scientific criticism with “revulsion” for the person comes from the echo chamber of anti-vaccine views that you’ve inhabited for the last several years. You appear unable to separate the battle of ideas from ad hominem attacks. In other words, my take is that when you see someone’s ideas being criticized you take it as “reviling” that person.

    You may want to read a couple of posts that I’ve done about Judah Folkman:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2007/02/surgery_and_the_spread_of_cancer_tumor_a.php

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2008/01/judah_folkman_a_true_scientific_giant_ha.php

  45. #45 Chris
    September 16, 2009

    ChrisC:

    Adams co are quacks, taking advantage of the vulnerable. This is what Kevin Champagne doesn’t seem to get. Pedaling false hope is a horrible thing to do to a person. Pedaling damaging false hope is … you fill in the blank.

    I suspect that Mr. Champagne is a victim of some quacks (see upthread where it mentioned that he did hyperbaric and chelation at a well known quack’s office, Rashid Buttar). He either does not realize he is a victim, or he does and is bitter about how much money he gave to Buttar (what ever happened at his disciplinary hearing?).

  46. #46 Tsu Dho Nimh
    September 16, 2009

    From a recent article (on the web somewhere, I can dig it up if you want) … pancreatic cancer is not very vascular compared to some tumors, which means delivering anti-cancer drugs is not very effective.

    Someone is working on a way to make it develop more blood vessels so it can be killed more easily.

  47. #47 Tsu Dho Nimh
    September 16, 2009

    Jay –
    I’m old enough to remember some intense discussions in the early to mid-1970s about Dr. Folkman’s hypothesis among the two groups most likely to be affected by it at my workplace (a major medical research center and teaching hospital), the oncologists and vascular surgeons.

    I was not hearing “reviling”, I was not hearing “disdain” … I was hearing scepticism and the knee-jerk pointing out of all the possible roadblocks and pitfalls from the oncologists (researchers are professional pessimists) and squeees of “if he can grow vascular endothelium, we can make better heart valves” from the vascular team.

  48. #48 ildi
    September 16, 2009

    Dr. Folkman was absolutely reviled by most conventional scientists and doctors and oncologists for many years before finally being acknowledged the genius and visionary he truly was.

    BS, Mr. J.

    Watch the NOVA episode. Maybe you’ll even learn a bit about the scientific method. As the episode shows, and Orac stated,

    Folkman did what good scientists do: He went back into the lab and did more research.

    Unfortunately, the J-man reinforces my personal experience that even though most MDs are not scientists, many of them think they are. Was it the one research methods course they took in med school, perhaps?

  49. #49 Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP
    September 16, 2009

    Gentlemen (Tsu Dho)–

    Thanks for the correction in my terminology. I’m sure you know much more about this than I do. This is still a fine example of a fine doctor who was ahead of his time dealing with a majority of other “scientists” who had data to show that his ideas were wrong.

    I love it.

    Jay

  50. #50 tl
    September 16, 2009

    Thanks for the correction in my terminology. I’m sure you know much more about this than I do. This is still a fine example of a fine doctor who was ahead of his time dealing with a majority of other “scientists” who had data to show that his ideas were wrong.

    Again, you’re full of it. His story shows nothing of the sort. It shows that convincing scientific evidence is accepted. It does not show any repression of new ideas at all. Quite the contrary. It shows that scientists are willing to listen to new ideas and will give people a chance to prove them. His case shows, quite simply, that all of your claims about the repression of new ideas by the scientific community are utter horsehockey!

  51. #51 Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP
    September 17, 2009

    No new ideas were repressed then and I’m not talking about any ideas being repressed now.

    Just that sometimes the majority of experts in a field of scientific endeavor can be wrong.

    That’s all.

    Jay

  52. #52 Orac
    September 17, 2009

    Dr. Jay. When it happens that most of the experts in a field of scientific endeavor have an incorrect understanding of something, how do you think that their understanding is shown to be wrong? It’s not through the whining and stomping of feet from cranks who rely on anecdotal evidence over science. It’s not through quacks playing the “Galileo” or “Semmelweis” gambits. No! It’s through scientists doing science until there is enough evidence to challenge the prevailing paradigm. In other words, the evidence challenging the prevailing paradigm has to meet and surpass the previous evidence that supported it. Moreover, the new paradigm has to include and explain the old (think relativity versus classical mechanics). That science was wrong before does not make pseudoscience right now.

    Also, there was a history of angiogenesis research dating back decades before Folkman upon which he built. I have a PowerPoint slide cribbed from a Nature Reviews article showing an appreciation that angiogenesis is important in cancer dating back at least to the 1940s–with very early work in the early 1900s. Folkman’s insight was to see that this process could be targeted for cancer therapy, not to appreciate that it might be important in angiogenesis.

    In the unlikely event that current understanding of autism that excludes vaccines as an etiological or contributing factor is wrong, it will not be Geier, Blaxill, Buttar, or any of the other quacks–there, I said it–pushing bogus therapies for “vaccine injury” who show it. It will be real scientists doing real science.

  53. #53 Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP
    September 17, 2009

    ORAC, I tend to agree that the therapies being promoted now do have a “cart before the horse” feeling to them. I also look forward to more real science focused on the treatment of children with autism.

    Thanks for the insight into Dr. Folkman’s work.

    Best,

    Jay

  54. #54 Janice Lyons
    September 19, 2009

    Late (and new) to the party.

    My late sister-in-law had pancreatic cancer. She was diagnosed late (one might even say the diagnosis was missed by about 6 months.) Surgery (Whipple) was not an option because of how the tumor had grown.

    She ended up taking an experimental drug combo at Sloan-Kettering, not knowing if the drugs would help slow the progress of the disease or not. She lived about 3 years (35 months? 37 months? I forget now.) after her initial diagnosis. Almost everyone else in the study group had died, IIRC.

    She had an amazing life, was an amazing woman, and her treatment allowed her to bless many people during her last couple years.

    Would she have lived as long using alternative medicine? I sincerely and completey doubt it. Did she think she would beat it? I think she knew the odds were astronomical, but she also knew that her response would help the physicians and scientists researching the drugs.

    That Patrick Swayze did so well was probably, as with my SIL, a combination of several things.

    The way he handled his illness with class before the public impressed me more than his movies.

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