Respectful Insolence

I debated a while about whether I should take this particular post on. It’s not because there isn’t a lot of fodder there deserving of that special form of not-so-Respectful Insolence that only Orac, in his usual inimitable fashion, can provide. There most definitely is. The problem, as is sometimes the case when I get on a roll, is that it represents going back to a topic that I’ve already covered very recently. In fact, it’s a topic I’ve already covered twice, namely Steve Jobs and the insulinoma that ultimately killed him. Last week, I reposted what I wrote about him back in 2009 after he underwent his liver transplant, and then lambasted quack and skeptic alike for their appropriation of Jobs’ story to try to make a point. In particular, a post by all-purpose quackery promoter Mike Adams irritated me because he did what he predictably does after the death of any famous person and tried to point to it as “proof” that conventional medicine killed him. After that post, I thought I was done and could move on to other topics.

Little did I know that Joe Mercola had other ideas; so I guess I’ll take one more bite at the Apple. (Sorry, I know that was horrible pun. I don’t know what came over me.) Then I’ll move on tomorrow. I promise; that is, unless someone tops both Mercola and Adams. Then all bets are off.

Yes, Mike Adams’ main competitor for the title of King of Internet Quackery (in my opinion, of course) couldn’t let Adams have all the fun or monopolize the cranks’ effort to co-opt the story of Steve Jobs’ cancer to their ends. If Adams had a rant blaming conventional medicine for Jobs’ death and asserting that Jobs could have been saved if only he had used “alternative” remedies instead of that nasty surgery, radiation, liver transplant, and chemotherapy, then Mercola has to do him one better and publish not just a long article saying in essence the same thing but do an interview with Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez as well using Jobs’ story as a jumping off point to promote quackery.

You remember Dr. Gonzalez, don’t you? He’s the creator of the (in)famous Gonzalez protocol for pancreatic cancer. This protocol involves various vegetable and fruit juices, meat extracts, supplement pills by the handful, and, to top it all off, at least daily coffee enemas. Well, it turns out that Gonzalez thinks he could have saved Steve Jobs. Not only that, but he thinks various cancer quacks alternative practitioners (like himself) have been unfairly vilified by physicians, scientists, and the press. You can see his interview and read it all in Mercola’s article from yesterday entitled A Tragic Decision That May Have Cost Steve Jobs His Life? Here’s the video:


It’s a long video and a long interview, full of broadsides against conventional medicine and boasts of the number of celebrities who have come to Dr. Gonzalez for consultations. Even though I will quote it extensively, what I quote will be but a small, small fraction of what is there.

Mercola first passes judgment on the decision to undertake a liver transplant:

This is not routinely done for two primary reasons. The first is that it in no way, shape, or form addresses the original cancer, and it can easily spread to the new liver. But more importantly, he had to be placed on large doses of drugs to suppress his immune system so he would not reject his new liver. Tragically this is the very system your body uses to help control cancers. The liver has enormous regenerative capacity, and if they only removed the portion of his liver that contained the malignant cells, he would not have to take those dangerous anti-rejection drugs.

Conventional cancer experts disagree with the approach that was taken for Steve.

” In contrast, with a liver transplant “the overall costs and complications … override its benefits, especially when compared with partial [removal of the liver].” Indeed, liver transplants for metastatic cancer “have been largely abandoned,” says Columbia’s Chabot, because the immune-suppressing, anti-rejection drugs “lead to such a high recurrence rate.

Interestingly, it appears Steve was not given any chemotherapy or radiation treatments after his liver transplant, which undoubtedly contributed to his living over seven years after his surgery.

I’ve discussed the issue of liver transplant for neuroendocrine tumors like insulinoma (which is what Jobs had) before. While it is arguable whether a liver transplant was the best decision for Jobs in 2009, it was certainly not outside the standard of care, nor was it unreasonable. Mercola also makes a very silly statement when he states that “if only” they had removed the portion of the liver containing the cancer, Jobs wouldn’t have needed all those nasty immunosuppressants. Well, duh! Give that man a prize for stating the obvious as though it were some brilliant insight! Here’s the issue: Transplant is not even considered for insulinoma metastatic to the liver unless the metastases are unresectable (i.e., they involve two or more lobes or are too close to major vascular structures). And what defines resectability? To boil it down to its essence, although there are certainly other considerations (the aforementioned vascular structures, for example) it’s basically the ability to remove the liver tissue containing all of the metastase(s) and still leave enough liver tissue behind to survive on. Contrary to what Mercola thinks, the liver’s regenerative capacity, although truly impressive, is not limitless, particularly if the liver is compromised by cirrhosis. Take too much liver, and the patient will die of liver failure because the liver can’t regenerate fast enough (or just enough) to achieve function consistent with life. In addition to that basic equation, we just don’t know whether Jobs’ liver had been damaged or otherwise compromised by the insulinoma; it’s possible that his liver wasn’t in the best shape at the time, leaving less capacity to regenerate.

Be that as it may, although somewhat controversial, liver transplantation remains an accepted standard of care for the treatment of neuroendocrine cancer metastatic to the liver, as long as the metastases are not rapidly growing and as long as there is no evidence of metastasis elsewhere. Indeed, a very recent analysis of the UNOS database examining transplantation for neuroendocrine tumors concluded:

Although surgical resection still should be considered the treatment of choice in patients with liver metastases from NETs [neuroendocrine tumors], transplantation for unresectable disease is indicated in patients with stable disease without disseminated metastases.

In other words, liver transplants for neuroendocrine tumors metastatic to the liver have not been abandoned and can produce a pretty decent chance of long term survival, compared with other metastatic cancers.

Mercola’s nonsense aside, let’s move on to Gonzalez’s nonsense instead. I must admit that I couldn’t watch the whole video; about 15 minutes in, I had to go to the transcript instead. The interview was long and repetitive. And, because I’ve already written so much about Jobs, I’d like to emphasize that abusing Jobs’ memory in order to promote quackery is only part of what Mercola and Gonzalez are about in this interview, although they do that with gusto, in particular in this exchange:

DM: There were some comments that he was leading up to his death, and people would post comments on Facebook and are asking why I couldn’t get in touch with him and offer him some therapy. I’m not a cancer expert like you are, of course, but I believe someone like you could have really made a difference. My understanding is that your therapy was offered to him, but could you go to that process of why he chose not to undertake a natural or alternative approach to cancer?

DG: He wanted to see an alternative. In fact when he was first diagnosed, he got some dietary program – again, he was very secretive of that – So I don’t exactly know what he did at that point. But through his acupuncturist, there was communication. He was getting acupuncture, and he was doing some alternative things as far as I know. This acupuncturist actually talked to me, discussing the situation. She was really anxious for him to come and see me. But he chose not to do that.

You know, I always respect the patients’ right to choose the therapy they want to choose, so I would never dispute that. The patients have to make the decisions based on what they want to do. But she was very adamant; in fact, she knew about all my works in the alternative world. He had seen alternative-type practitioners. She really wanted for him to come and see me. He chose not to do that. From my perspective, it was unfortunate, because he was such a gift to the world in terms of his inventions and genius in the past 30 years.

Ah, yes. How convenient. An anecdote from some unnamed acupuncturist who may or may not have treated Steve Jobs and told Gonzalez about Jobs’ situation and that she wanted Jobs to see him. There’s no way of verifying the story, no way of knowing if Jobs ever actually saw an acupuncturist, much less that an acupuncturist discussed his case with Gonzalez and tried to persuade Jobs to see Gonzalez. Particularly vomit-inducing is the way Gonzalez turns around the argument based on a “patient’s right to choose.” Frequently, those of us who support science-based medicine, when confronted with the story of a patient who chooses quackery instead of medicine and suffers harm or dies as a result, will sadly say that a competent adult has the right to choose quackery if that’s what he wants, mainly because he does. Self-determination is a basic human right. Here, we have Dr. Gonzalez turning that argument on its head, sadly shrugging his shoulders and expressing regret that Jobs had the right to choose his own course and chose SBM instead of quackery. After his flirtation with some sort of diet and unknown “alternative” therapies, Jobs appears to have turned to scientific medicine and never looked back, at least as far as we can tell based on the limited information available from press accounts. There’s one thing that’s for sure, though. If SBM couldn’t save Jobs, Gonzalez sure as hell couldn’t save him either, his claims otherwise notwithstanding. Now that Jobs is dead, Gonzalez’s claims have the added bonus for him of being unfalsifiable, even though Gonzalez’s methods have already been shown to be worse than useless for pancreatic cancer.

As an aside, interestingly the surgeon quoted above, Dr. John Chabot, was the first author on the paper that demonstrated that the Gonzalez protocol was far, far inferior to even chemotherapy, which doesn’t do very much for metastatic pancreatic cancer to begin with. However, as wimpy as chemotherapy is for metastatic pancreatic cancer, Gonzalez’s therapy was far worse. Indeed, median survival in patients who got the Gonzalez therapy was about 1/3 of that of those who underwent standard-of-care chemotherapy. To me, that makes the following passage, where Gonzalez claims just the opposite in light of boasting about how he consulted with Michael Landon after his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and how Landon died within three months, both hilarious and appalling at the same time. After Gonzalez says, “If I had a patient who died in three months, I’d walk in front of a bus,” Mercola, sycophant that he is, chimes in:

DM: That may sound like a boast, but you have two decades of experience that shows that when patients with pancreatic cancer come to see you, they don’t die in three months.

DG: Not everyone, of course, gets well. But even the ones who have failed, live a lot longer than they should have. One of the limitations of pancreatic cancer is – since the pancreas is a major digestive organ – their digestion is often compromised, and often they’ve had crazy surgery that interferes with their ability to eat or take supplements. So sometimes there could be management problems, and sometimes they can’t do the full program – they need to do half of it. They just look well beyond expected.

Once again, I’ll point out that the best study done thus far has shown resoundingly that, not only doesn’t Gonzalez cure anybody, but his patients do very poorly. In fact, if you compare the survival curve of patients on the Gonzalez protocol, you’ll see that not only do these patients do worse than patients receiving chemotherapy, but they do worse than historical controls as determined by the SEER database. Those are the cold, hard numbers. Gonzalez might have anecdotes. He might have his infamous eleven patient case series in which his patients appeared to do a lot better than historical controls with pancreatic cancer. What he really appears to have had is a massive case of selection bias. Kimball Atwood has covered the whole sordid saga of the original case series by Gonzalez in extensive detail (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5). It’s well worth reading.

Much of the rest of the interview consists of Nicholas Gonzalez whining long and loud about how he just “don’t get no respect.” And, boy, does he whine! He goes on and on, complaining that conventional oncologists who take care of celebrities are lauded as heroes, while he’s widely viewed as a quack. For example, he is particularly incensed about Linda McCartney getting a bone marrow transplant for metastatic breast cancer back in the 1990s. This was a therapy that was thought to be efficacious at the time but was ultimately shown not to result in any better survival than chemotherapy, while producing a high level of morbidity and mortality. In particular, he was incensed by press coverage that painted McCartney’s oncologist as heroic, while he and his fellow “alternative” practitioners are portrayed as quacks. Of course, the difference is that at the time there was evidence that bone marrow transplant could improve survival in advanced breast cancer. More importantly, when the evidence came in that it didn’t work, oncologists abandoned the procedure. Contrast this to Dr. Gonzalez. When his protocol was shown to be worse than useless, what did he do? Certainly, he didn’t give it up. Rather, he lashed out at the investigators and threatened to sic his buddies in Congress on them. Now he lashes out against all oncologists with viciousness and then invokes the old “science as religion” canard, one of the oldest canards in the book of crank strategies. In order to give you a flavor of his rant, I’m going to quote a rather long passage. There’s a lot more there–painfully more–but this should give you an idea:

That’s why you have to look at this as a religious phenomenon rather than scientific issue. Conventional academic medicine is the last religion left in America. We’ve become an irreligious society. The media would never trust a politician, a religious leader, or anyone in the position of the government. But when it comes to academic medicine, if some guy in white coat says, “Boo,” everyone would say, “Oh my God he said ‘boo,’ let’s go right an article.”

Conventional academic medicine is like religion. Of course, they have their temple – if you look at Sloan-Kettering, it looks like the Mormon tabernacle. It looks like a temple. The priests – the doctors – they wear their own robes, like the ancient Hebrew priests. They have strict regulations about their dress or robe. These guys were robes, too, and they have the priesthood as the status quo. You know, the white code. They’re very distinguished-looking, always impeccably dressed and with shiny shoes and all. And they have their own language – the priesthood or whatever religion always has its own specific spiritual religious language that the rest of the mortals don’t understand. Of course, doctors have this scientific gibberish that the media don’t understand. The most cynical journalist who wouldn’t trust anything a politician says, when Sloan-Kettering sends out a press release, reprints it as literally the word from God.

So the way you have to look at medicine is not as a scientific profession, but rather a religious profession. It’s the last reigning religion in America. The NIH, NCI, or American Cancer Society has its temples, priesthood. It has its irrational beliefs. It has its own special language. It has its tools, it has its rituals. The doctor known for making rounds is a ritual. You learn very little making rounds as a doctor. It’s all ritual for the patient – it’s a religious ritual that doesn’t have much of a value to the patient. So they have rituals and all these things that are equivalent to kind of a priesthood class of religion, rather than an objective thing. Once you realize it, you’ll go, “Oh, that makes perfect sense.”

The reason Linda McCartney went for a bone marrow transplant is not because she read the data and realized it would work for her. It’s because she believed in it – it was a faith issue. She was going to this priesthood kept in a temple in New York City. They had resources, and she could pay for them. So it was religion to her. Patrick Swayze to the best of the best – Stanford is the West Coast mecca. It’s a religious temple. When he went there, it was faith, even though there’s not a single piece of evidence they gave him that chemo would cure him and would lead to substantial results. He did it because of faith – irrational faith, because it’s the belief that academicians really have these special secrets that none of us have and none of the lay people (we mortals) know. Their special knowledge, wisdom, or rituals would make us better.

The fact that they don’t make us better – Landon died, Patrick Swayze died, Linda McCartney died; I could list 20 celebrities that consulted or called me, never did my program, and are dead because they went to the conventional route.

Why didn’t they do mine?

I don’t have a temple. I don’t even own a white coat. I can wear a white coat – a good one – but I don’t have one on purpose. I’m not part of the academic priesthood, so I don’t wear a white coat. Yes, I have a stethoscope and a medical office like any because I need that, but I’m not part of the academic priesthood.

Michael Landon picked that up right away. In fact, his press agent, Harry Flynn, wanted him to come and see me. Harry and I remained close friends. He was really upset, and one of Landon’s comments about me is that I wasn’t fancy enough. I wasn’t fancy enough, so he went to the priesthood. He went to Cedars-Sinai.

I find this entire rant very telling. The resentment is palpable, as is the inferiority complex. Gonzalez is clearly intensely envious of oncologists and very angry because he isn’t taken seriously. Of course, to be taken seriously, it helps to have the goods, as far as science goes. He doesn’t. What he has is an idea based on long-discredited notions of how cancer forms and grows that doesn’t work and harms cancer patients. He has chosen his path, the path of medicine not based on science, and now he is paying the price. He is not respected because he does not deserve respect. He is not taken seriously because he has not earned it. And he’s really mad about it.

He’s not so angry, however, that he can’t recognize an opportunity when he sees one. Steve Jobs dies of a form of pancreatic cancer, and there’s his opening. He can tell some unverifiable story that some acupuncturist who was allegedly treating Steve Jobs after he was first diagnosed had urged him to go and see Gonzalez and that Jobs had declined. He can spread the claim that if only, only Jobs had listened and had come to see him, he could have saved Jobs’ life with his woo. Again, how convenient.

On the other hand, it’s good for business, and the types who are prone to falling for Gonzalez’s woo will likely eat it up.

Comments

  1. #1 herr doktor bimler
    October 10, 2011

    I could list 20 celebrities that consulted or called me

    Evidently the concept of “patient confidentiality” is one of those quasi-religious aspects of medicine that Gonzalez is keen to set aside.

  2. #2 herr doktor bimler
    October 10, 2011

    Why didn’t they do mine?

    Perhaps more celebrities would put themselves in Gonzalez’ hands if he didn’t radiate such a palpable ‘starf*cker’ vibe of caring about them not as patients, but as — well — celebrities for him to use in his future advertising.

  3. #3 Ajax
    October 10, 2011

    Do you mean Dr Nick Riviera? That guys famous!

  4. #4 Karen
    October 10, 2011

    Steve Jobs was a man of many personal faults, but he was also a visionary and justifiably an icon. He was also a damn smart individual, certainly able to ask the right questions of what (I assume) were a whole host of doctors, and he probably made all the right decisions, based on their advice, as to which treatments to pursue.

    Sometimes people die.

  5. #5 delurked
    October 10, 2011

    Of course Steve Jobs did not contact Gonzalez, he would be the last person on earth to fall for that schtick. He would have taken one look at the data and dismissed it outright after all this was Steve Jobs we are talking about here. I agree with the sentiment that Gonzalez appears very annoyed. I actually think he should be very scared.

  6. #6 sophia8
    October 10, 2011

    “But through his acupuncturist, there was communication. He was getting acupuncture, and he was doing some alternative things as far as I know. This acupuncturist actually talked to me, discussing the situation. ”
    Assuming the story is true, this woman was breaking patient confidentiality. And Gonzales seems perfectly happy about encouraging her to do so. Does he even know what the word “ethics” mean?

  7. #7 Lawrence
    October 10, 2011

    I guess if they aren’t “real” doctors, then Doctor-Patient confidentiality doesn’t apply, right (snark).

    Given the current legal focus on PI (personal information) and the sanctions in place should there be a release (whether on purpose or inadvertent), I believe it will only be a matter of time before one of these quacks gets themselves in some real trouble.

  8. #8 anarchic teapot
    October 10, 2011

    …Linda McCarthy…

    Shome mishtake, surely?

    I just fielded a comment on my own blog from an antivaxer who urged me to do my research on Youtube. Where of course this sort of mendacious, misleading idiocy is rife.

    Good post, says stuff that needs saying. Repeatedly, unfortunately.

  9. #9 Mattand
    October 10, 2011

    I’m still trying to wrap my head around the concept that someone who calls himself a doctor thinks blasting caffeine into your ass cures cancer. Unreal.

  10. #10 palindrom
    October 10, 2011

    It’s weirdly ironic to have such an obvious person-who-sounds-like-a-duck claiming that conventional medicine is like a religion.

    It reminds me of Richard Feynman’s wonderful “cargo cult science” essay, but in reverse … it’s as if some crank were claiming that the LHC and the Hubble Space Telescope are instruments of “cargo cult science”.

    As so often happens, he has it exactly inverted.

  11. #11 Dianne
    October 10, 2011

    It is interesting that Gonzales seems to believe that he can use the same protocol to treat cancer of the endocrine and exocrine pancreas. They’re not the same tissues and the cancers are radically different. The very fact that he doesn’t know that marks him as a completely useless quack.

  12. #12 Dangerous Bacon
    October 10, 2011

    I always find it bizarre that alties, who are heavily into faith-based woo like “spiritual medicine” and deride skeptics as being atheists, think the worst insult they can fire back is to call their opponents “religious”.

    Really, fellas. If you view “religious” as a term demonstrating utter contempt, your quotient of self-loathing must be very, very high.

  13. #13 Denice Walter
    October 10, 2011

    I wonder why woo-meisters circle seriously ill ( or recently deceased) celebrities- like the vultures they truly are? Instant advertisement that is complemented by income from folks who have real money- how can they lose? If the person dies after treatment, they can blame SBM, if someone dies without their “care”, they can say “If ONLY!”

    I am sickeningly familiar with this trope courtesy of veteran woo-slinger Null: he reaches out to the ill (Aretha Franklin) offering up Gonzlez and Gerson or relates sadly how Arthur Ashe was brainwashed into accepting SB treatment for HIV/AIDS. The list includes many of those cited above and many others. ( continued)

  14. #14 Denice Walter
    October 10, 2011

    In our culture, celebrities have status that inflates far beyond their area of expertise or talents. They are visible and news worthy- all is like red meat to woo-meisters ( even if they’re vegans). Ride upon the stars’ Armani coattails ( or Vera Wang gown’s train ): could you imagine if Michael Douglas chose *not* to eschew woo? What press for alt med.

    If pseudoscience is more advertisement than information aren’t the famous perfect spokes models, fitting right in? Woos surely love Suzanne Somers not performers with breast cancer who chose SBM and are well- there’s a long list -btw-

    Celebrities and woo-meisters have something in common: their opinions about science and medicine usually are not based upon a reality-based education.

  15. #15 Herb
    October 10, 2011

    In all the years reading this and other blogs that smear Gonzalez, I’ve yet to see any serious specific, and detailed scientific critique of the trophoblast theory of cancer causation first laid out by Dr John Beard over 100 years ago. This theory is the basis for Gonzalez’ work all these years. All that you ever say is that we know that’s not how cancer originates, without any supporting arguments. Very scientific!

    You might start by getting a hold of Gonzalez’s book ‘Tropblasts and the Origins of Cancer’ by New Spring Press. In it Gonzalez makes a strong and compelling case for this theory (while I’m not a scientist, I am quite scientifically literate and asked several friends with the relevant scientific background to read the book and they all said the same thing – that the theory was very plausible and deserves more research.)

    Of course I’m biased. I’ve been a patient of Gonzalez for over 20 years, I’ve been cured by him of metastatic cancer to the liver, and I know him as a man of dedication, honesty and integrity.

    And as far as the so called NIH study that ‘discredited’ his work, if you read the detailed rebuttal on his website, you’ll see that the irregularities if not outright corruption of the study by Dr Chabot of Columbia among others makes the results utterly worthless. Soon Gonzalez will be publishing a book detailing the study’s history and irregularities in great detail. It’ll be an eye opener.

    I know I’ll get a bunch of snarky and nasty responses to this note. That seems to be the M.O of those who follow Orac and others of his ilk.

    As an example of snark, comment #9 shows complete ignorance of the Gonzalez protocol – Gonzalez never says that enemas cure cancer – they simply help to remove the toxic byproducts of cancer cell breakdown from of the body – that’s it. it’s primarily the pancreatic enzymes that neutralize the cancer cells. And if coffee enemas were so absurd why were they listed in the Merck Manual for decades before being arbitrarily removed in the 1970’s?

    And for those who claim pancreatic enzymes can’t kill cancer cells, how do they explain the article in Pancreas in 2004 (a very respected journal) whose abstract is as follows:(The enzymes given the pigs were the exact same enzymes that Gonzalez uses, and the dosage was just an informed guess, and without the other parts of the Gonzalez program – and yet the treated pigs lived significantly longer and were healthier. Explain that skeptics.)

    Pancreatic Enzyme Extract Improves Survival in Murine Pancreatic Cancer
    Saruc M, Standop S, Standop J, Nozawa F, Itami A, Pandey KK, Batra SK, Gonzalez NJ, Guesry P, Pour PM
    Objectives:
    The disappointing current therapeutic approaches for pancreatic cancer (PC) represent an urgent need for the development of novel methods to control the disease. Based on a recent report on the effectiveness of pancreatic enzyme therapy, we examined the effect of porcine pancreatic enzyme extracts (PPE) on human PC xenografts in nude mice.
    Methods:
    The malignant human PC cell line AsPC1 was transplanted into the pancreas of male beige XID nude mice that were treated or not with PPE in drinking water. The survival, size, and volume of tumors, plasma pancreatic enzyme levels, fecal fat, and urine were examined as were the expression of transforming growth factor alpha, insulinlike growth factor-I, epidermal growth factor, epidermal growth factor receptor, apoptosis, and proliferation rate of tumor cells.
    Results:
    PPE-treated mice survived significantly longer than the control group (P < 0.002). Tumors in the PPE-treated group were significantly smaller than in the control group. All mice in the control group showed steatorrhea, hyperglucosuria, hyperbilirubinuria, and ketonuria at early stages of tumor growth, whereas only a few in the treated group showed some of these abnormalities at the final stage. There were no differences in the expression of growth factors, epidermal growth factor receptor, or the apoptotic rate between the tumors of treated and control mice.
    Conclusions:
    The treatment with PPE significantly prolongs the survival of mice with human PC xenografts and slows the tumor growth. The data indicate that the beneficial effect of PPE on survival is primarily related to the nutritional advantage of the treated mice.
    Pancreas, 28(4):401-412, May 2004. PMID: 15097858

  16. #16 Knightly Q. Blowguns
    October 10, 2011

    Orac, I think you might be going a little hard on Gonzalez. You make it sound like Gonzalez knows exactly what he’s doing. I see no reason to suspect he doesn’t believe his own hype. Now, there are clear reasons why he shouldn’t and clearly his hype isn’t based on any sort of scientific evidence. It’s also clear that he is actively harming people, both by convincing them not to seek real medical treatment and by prescribing them something that makes their cancer worse. I just don’t think he knows that.

    That said, if someone started to berate me for getting a resection, radiation and chemotherapy, and tried to make some money off my suffering, I’d be quick to remind them that I can still break their nose.

  17. #17 Vicki
    October 10, 2011

    What universe is Gonzalez living in where many Americans, and the American media, don’t listen to religious leaders? In mine, the pope gets press attention for statements on politics and ethics; and newspapers routinely run columns that offer the opinions of ministers and rabbis, presenting those men as experts on relationships and ethics. Presidential inaugurations include speeches by men whose “qualifications” begin and end with leading a Christian church.

    But Gonzalez claims, not just that medicine is a religion, but that it’s America’s only religion, at the same time that “he’s not a real Christian” is considered a reasonable comment about a presidential candidate?

  18. #18 Cynical Pediatrician
    October 10, 2011

    “The priests – the doctors – they wear their own robes, like the ancient Hebrew priests. They have strict regulations about their dress or robe.”

    I would think those breastplates with the precious stones would start getting heavy after a few hours. But I’m only a Levite, what do I know.

  19. #19 anarchic teapot
    October 10, 2011

    Knightly Q. Blowguns
    I must make a will immediately. There are things I want included in my funeral service, and they mostly involve saying “Fuck you, you charlatan” to anyone who says I’d still be alive if I’d turned to woo.

    Appointment made with lawyer!

  20. #20 Cynical Pediatrician
    October 10, 2011

    “The doctor known for making rounds is a ritual. You learn very little making rounds as a doctor. It’s all ritual for the patient – it’s a religious ritual that doesn’t have much of a value to the patient.”

    Then maybe you’re doing it wrong.

  21. #21 Militant Agnostic
    October 10, 2011

    @5 and @9

    I suspect it was hearing about the coffee enemas that did it for Steve Jobs. I wonder how often someone has laughed in Gonzales’s face when he told them about that part of his treatment.

  22. #22 Chris
    October 10, 2011

    Militant Agnostic, what about the hair analysis done by a spa owner using a DelaWarr device, which is only powered by “intuition”?

  23. #23 ebohlman
    October 10, 2011

    I find this entire rant very telling. The resentment is palpable, as is the inferiority complex. Gonzalez is clearly intensely envious of oncologists and very angry because he isn’t taken seriously. Of course, to be taken seriously, it helps to have the goods, as far as science goes. He doesn’t. What he has is an idea based on long-discredited notions of how cancer forms and grows that doesn’t work and harms cancer patients. He has chosen his path, the path of medicine not based on science, and now he is paying the price. He is not respected because he does not deserve respect. He is not taken seriously because he has not earned it. And he’s really mad about it.

    This really reminds me of L. Ron Hubbard and his attitude toward psychiatry. When the psychiatric community refused to treat Dianetics as the mental-health breakthrough he thought it was, he went on a lifelong rampage against the profession (he started by writing SF stories in which psychiatrists were part of some galactic invasion force; the ones he couldn’t sell became upper-level $cientology “scriptures”).

  24. #24 lilady
    October 10, 2011

    @ Cynical Pediatrician:

    “The doctor known for making rounds is a ritual. You learn very little making rounds as a doctor. It’s all ritual for the patient – it’s a religious ritual that doesn’t have much of a value to the patient.”

    Then maybe you’re doing it wrong.”

    Gonzalez discounts the value of clinical rounds because he has no hospital affiliation.

    When Gonzalez was brought before the NYS OPMC (Office of Professional Medical Medical Conduct) in 1994, a decision was rendered to suspend his license for 3 year…the suspension was “stayed” with the provision that he would undergo training in oncology and perform 200 hours of “community service” in a program providing palliative care to terminally ill cancer patients.

    The OPMC based their decision on a review of 6 patients who were terminally ill with end stage cancers. The OPMC found that “In the treatment of all the patients in this case, the respondent demonstrated that he lacked the basic understanding of the disease from which all the patients were suffering”.

    In 1998 Gonzalez sought to appeal the OPMC decision with this statement, “The respondent asserts that oncology training is inappropriate because the respondent practices nutritional medicine.”

    Jeez, rightfully so, we categorize some lawyers as “ambulance chasers”…I propose we categorize Mercola, Gonzalez, et alia as “hearse chasers”.

  25. #25 Dangerous Bacon
    October 10, 2011

    “I propose we categorize Mercola, Gonzalez, et alia as “hearse chasers”.”

    Interesting, but I prefer “Celebrity Cancer Vultures”.

  26. #26 Denice Walter
    October 10, 2011

    NG’s religious metaphors/ similes tossed SBM’s way are all the more ridiculous if you recall that woo is faith ( not science or data) based and woo-meisters love to preaching about SBM’s lack of spirituality as well as its materialism/ reductionism, coldness etc.

    I am so happy to be an evangelism of that lack, et al.

  27. #27 DW
    October 10, 2011

    Oops! “evangelIST”; see I got carried away by the (non) spirit!

  28. #28 Prometheus
    October 10, 2011

    So, let me see if I have this right…

    Nick Gonzalez claims that Steve Jobs went to an (un-named) acupuncturist who wanted him (Steve Jobs) to go see Gonzalez for a round of coffee enemas and so talked to Gonzalez about Steve Jobs’ personal medical information (e.g. the fact he was getting acupuncture). Is that about right?

    For starters, these days my doctor can’t even tell another doctor she’s seeing me without getting my written consent, but I guess that just shows that acuptuncturists and cancer quacks don’t consider themselves bound by the laws of mere mortals.

    Secondly, it seems more than coincidental that Gonzalez pipes up with this story about how Steve Jobs refused the Gonzalez high-caffeine-colonic only after Jobs’ death. Now, only the anonymous acupuncturist can contradict Gonzalez’ story – if we could find her (a long-shot, since I’d be willing to bet hard cash that she doesn’t exist).

    I suppose that I could make up a similar story about how Steve Jobs’ barrista wanted him to try the McIlhenny Therapy (Tobasco sauce enemas) – which would have, of course, stopped the cancer in its tracks – but Steve wouldn’t consider it and now, sadly, he’s dead because he couldn’t see past the high priests (and priestesses) of “mainstream” enema therapies. Steve Jobs can’t contradict me and I doubt that anyone will get around to questioning all the barristas in the Bay Area to check my story.

    If someone – anyone – finds these clowns (Mercola and Gonzalez) more credible than the least expert “real” doctor, they deserve all they get and more.

    BOHICA

    Prometheus

  29. #29 Prometheus
    October 10, 2011

    Oooops! That should be “Tabasco sauce”. Wouldn’t want someone putting the wrong sauce up their bum.

    Prometheus

  30. #30 Sauceress
    October 10, 2011

    ..she knew about all my works in the alternative world.

    I got an earworm when I read that bit.
    It goes like this…
    ♫♪
    She said…
    My friend the witch doctor, he taught me what to say
    My friend the witch doctor, he taught me what to do
    He said that ….
    Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang
    Walla walla, bing bang
    Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang
    Walla walla, bing bang…
    ♪♫♪

  31. #31 Mu
    October 10, 2011

    Prometheus, in case you need a recipe …
    http://www.zity.biz/index.php?mx=forum;ox=display;topic=2531

  32. #32 jake
    October 10, 2011

    To all: Get a hold of that dateline episode that featured Suzanne Sommers and Dr. Gonzalez and see for yourself what the MD that the NIH sent to investigate Gonzalez said about him (hint: It was very positive). Envious of oncologists??? Someone that went to Brown for journalism, Cornell for his MD???? He certainly could have gone the conventional route, don’t you think??? You all can certainly question many of Gonzalez’ methods, but unless you had the chance to investigate Gonzalez like the MD sent by the NIH did, you are all just hot air.

  33. #33 jake
    October 10, 2011

    To all: Get a hold of that dateline episode that featured Suzanne Sommers and Dr. Gonzalez and see for yourself what the MD that the NIH sent to investigate Gonzalez said about him (hint: It was very positive). Envious of oncologists??? Someone that went to Brown for journalism, Cornell for his MD???? He certainly could have gone the conventional route, don’t you think??? You all can certainly question many of Gonzalez’ methods, but unless you had the chance to investigate Gonzalez like the MD sent by the NIH did, you are all just hot air.

  34. #34 Chris
    October 10, 2011

    jake, where did you think I learned that Gonzalez sends hair samples to a spa owner where she analyzes them using a DelaWarr device powered by “intuition”?

    You might want to check out the articles on Gonzalez linked to in his article (the blue text indicates it is a link, hover your mouse over and click).

  35. #35 jake
    October 10, 2011

    Chris, I did say: “You all can certainly question many of Gonzalez’ methods…” If you are going to mention the hair sample stuff, and rightly so, how about mentioning what the NIH appointed investigating MD said about Gonzalez’ work??? Or is that a case of “If it doesn’t fit, you must omit”???

  36. #36 anarchic teapot
    October 10, 2011

    I don’t know who jake is seeing for his echolalia, but the treatment ain’t working.

    Also, repeat after me: multiple question marks do not a valid point make.

    Anyway guys, keep up with the hot air. I like hot air. It does more for what ails me than any of the quack remedies this nutter Gonzalez touts. Andit’s compatible with my other treatments.

  37. #38 Chris
    October 10, 2011

    (a “Jake” made almost the same exact comment on the other two year old article, it could be someone different, but I doubt it)

  38. #39 MI Dawn
    October 10, 2011

    Somehow, I’d have found Jake more believable if he’d actually *named* the NIH doctor who was so impressed. I’ve never heard of the NIH doing investigations like that…

  39. #40 Jake
    October 10, 2011

    Chris, again I ask you to mention to everyone here what the NIH appointed investigating MD said about Dr. Gonzalez’ work in the dateline program with Suzanne Sommers and Dr. Gonzalez. You indicated in post 33 that you saw this program.

  40. #41 Chris
    October 10, 2011

    Why? When did you ask that? Not that it matters, because if you are the same Jake as the previous thread, you are a waste of time. I will not respond to you until you answer the following questions:

    1: What evidence do you have that the DelaWarr radionics machine actually can test hair samples with intuition?

    2: What evidence do you have that coffee enemas are effective in cancer, and do not cause more stress on the patients livers?

    3: Where is the report from the NIH official?

    4: Have you learned basic HTML?

    5: Have you read the books Charlatan by Pope Brock and The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee?

    Again, to see previous Jake performance, please read:
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/09/nicholas_gonzalez_response_to_the_failed.php

    It is an amusing read.

  41. #42 Jake
    October 10, 2011

    Chris, I ask you again for the 3rd time (in my post 34 and 39): Please mention to everyone here what the NIH appointed investigating MD said about Dr. Gonzalez’ work in the dateline program with Suzanne Sommers and Dr. Gonzalez. You indicated in post 33 that you saw this program. But before you answer, I will answer your questions:
    1) None and never said that I did.
    2) None and there is no known evidence that put more stress on the liver.
    3) I have no idea where that report is.
    4) Yes.
    5) No.
    Now it is your turn to answer my one question.

  42. #43 Chris
    October 10, 2011

    I am not re-watching the thing. If you think the dude is so important, then you tell us his name and find the report.

    And you forgot something in #2, the evidence.

  43. #44 lilady
    October 10, 2011

    Of course there is this from Quackwatch about the two medical malpractice cases instituted by patients of Dr. Gonzalez and the circumstances of the determinations of the court. No wonder Dr. Gonzalez feels “safe” about talking about people who died of pancreatic patients…who might have been “saved” if they used Gonzalez as a “nutrition” doctor:

    In 1997, a jury in New York City awarded $2.5 million in actual damages and $150,000 in punitive damages to a former Gonzalez patient. The woman testified that she had been diagnosed with an early stage of uterine cancer in 1991 and underwent a hysterectomy. Instead of following through with medically recommended radiation and chemotherapy, she consulted Gonzalez who discouraged her from following her cancer specialist’s advice. Based on his interpretation of a hair test, Gonzalez prescribed up to 150 dietary supplement pills a day plus frequent coffee enemas. Later he claimed that the cancer was cured even though it was progressing. It eventually damaged her spine and left her blind. An appeals court upheld the $2.5 million verdict but dismissed the punitive damage award. In April 2000, a jury awarded $282,000 in damages to the husband of a 40-year-old college professor who had died of Hodgkin’s disease in 1995. According to an article in The New York Daily News, the jury found him negligent because he failed to arrange “appropriate testing” to track the cancer, relying instead on an unproven method of hair analysis [38].

  44. #45 herr doktor bimler
    October 10, 2011

    In the previous Gonzalez-related thread, Sevika explains the rationale for coffee enemas as follows:

    Dr. Lee W. Wattenberg, MD (Univ. of Minnesota/NCI-Designated Masonic Cancer Center) was able to show that substances found in coffee – kahweol and cafestol palmitate – promote the activity of a key enzyme system, glutathione S-transferase. This enzyme is responsible for neutralizing free radicals, harmful chemicals now commonly implicated in the initiation of cancer and needed for detoxification. Consuming coffee orally does not produce the benefits experienced when it is taken as an enema.

    Which is all very well, until you look up the actual research by Lam & Wattenberg, and find that all their results were observed by administering (green) coffee grounds to mice orally. Once again we are left wondering about the preoccupation with enemas.

  45. #46 John
    October 10, 2011

    The quality (certainly not the creativeness!) of both your article and several of the respondents is so typical of today’s brainwashed society.
    You ‘Orac’ diminish Mercola to quack status, yet like your minions, likely donate to the multi-billion dollar, amazingly ineffective, traditional cancer research industry!
    If the cancer industry really gave a crap about stopping the proliferation of cancer they’d teach * at least a little bit * about prevention. ‘Stop eating all the bloody sugar – cancers favorite food (offered as a treat in some chemo treatment centers in the form of Tootsie Rolls and cookies)- and trans fats, and stop your exposure to hazardous plastics and food additives.’
    Mercola (like Mike Adams) may not be God, but they’re a damned site closer to telling the truth than most industry driven traditional practitioners.
    Most of your respondents likely also support fluoridation of city water, amalgam (mercury) dental fillings, GMO crops and the 38 vaccinations children are now scheduled for before they reach the age of 6.
    When are we – the world – going to wake up?
    Dr. Gonzolez is, in my opinion, not the best answer to healing cancer. He, like Gerson and many others leaves out ‘aspects’ of healing that can’t be left out.
    Some even promote chemo (I’ve a real challenge with that, as chemo and radiation reduce the body’s ability to protect itself by diminishing the immune system). But what I surmise (I’m sure you’ll have a picnic with this :o) with all the ‘Alternative’ practitioner methods I’ve looked at, is that they’ve the common sense to know that the more natural (body identifiable)approach you use, the more likely the body is to heal.

  46. #47 lilady
    October 10, 2011

    Here is Dr. Gonzalez’s “explanation” on vitals.com a website to check for a physician’s practice and malpractice history:

    Personal Statement:
    I OFFER AN AGGRESSIVE NUTRITIONAL THERAPY FOR THE TREATMENT OF CANCER AND OTHER DEGENERATIVE DISEASES. AS MY RECORD ON THIS SITE INDICATES, I HAVE LOST TWO MALPRACTICE CASES. IN ONE CASE, THE PATIENT FELT SHE HAD BEEN HARMED BY CHOOSING TO PURSUE THIS TREATMENT RATHER THAN ENTERING A CLINICAL TRIAL-EVEN THOUGH EVERY PATIENT THAT WAS IN THE CLINICAL TRIAL HAS NOW DIED AND SHE IS STILL ALIVE AND APPARENTLY CANCER-FREE 13 YEARS LATER. IN THE OTHER CASE, THE PATIENT HAD ALREADY RECEIVED EXTENSIVE ORTHODOX THERAPY INCLUDING EXPERIMENTAL CHEMOTHERAPY AND CHOSE TO PURSUE THIS TREATMENT INSTEAD OF GETTING MORE. AFTER DEATH, HER HUSBAND STATED THAT SHE WOULD HAVE BEEN WILLING TO GET A BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT HAD SHE NOT BEEN TREATED BY ME- EVEN THOUGH SHE TOLD ME ON MANY OCCASIONS THAT SHE WOULD NEVER DO THAT. BECAUSE WHAT I DO IS DIFFERENT FROM WHAT MOST ONCOLOGIST WOULD DO, IT IS DIFFICULT FOR ME TO GET A FAIR TRIAL. NONETHELESS, AS MY RESEARCH PROGRESSES, THE OVERALL BIAS AGAINST MY WORK IN THE MEDICAL AND LEGAL SYSTEM IS DECREASING.

  47. #48 Chris
    October 10, 2011

    Jake:

    None and there is no known evidence that put more stress on the liver.

    In case I was not clear, you just made a claim that coffee enemas do not put any stress on the liver. You need to back that up with some evidence. Just cite the journal, title and date of the paper that shows coffee enemas do not cause stress on the liver. I mean, you totally failed to show it had any benefit. Now just show it does not cause any harm (oh, and if you look at the previous thread, I provided some case studies of harm).

    You had over a year to read either of those books. It is quite shameful that you did not read The Emperor of All Maladies.

    Everyone else,this is Jake. Enjoy.

  48. #49 Jake
    October 10, 2011

    Yes, everyone, that is me!!! I stand by what I say. I don’t avoid questions like you, Chris. You are a coward for never answering my question. Furthermore, I said that there is no evidence that coffee enemas put more stress on the liver, if you paid attention. The fact is “everyone” that on that dateline program there was an MD that was chosen to investigate Dr. Gonzalez after he lost a malpractice case. In the end, the MD said that there was a place for Dr. Gonzalez’ treatment in the medical world. This MD investigated Dr. Gonzalez and made this conclusion. Has anyone else on here done what he did? Like I said to Chris “If it doesn’t fit (with your opinion), you must omit”.

  49. #50 Chris
    October 10, 2011

    More Jake. Enjoy.

  50. #51 lilady
    October 10, 2011

    @ Chris: Thanks for the “heads up” about Jake, who IMO is some sort of shill for Gonzalez or other quacks. I hope you read the NYS OPMC decision on Dr. Gonzalez and his incompetent cruel treatment of 6 terminally ill patients.

    The OPMC findings and decision were a result of intensive investigation of Dr. Gonzalez’s records and are a grim documentation of his quackery and his callous disregard for the six patients who underwent his therapies. The OPMC followed through with hospital records where these patients were finally admitted for palliative care. As I stated above this quack has no hospital affiliations and ignored patients complaints. Gonzalez told patients that the progression and growth of tumors that caused them excruciating pain were evidence that his bogus therapies were “working”.

    I don’t have to “imagine” what pain these patients went through as I have seen during my clinical practice patients whose pain was managed quite satisfactorily with effective pain medications. It must take a particularly callous individual to deny a patient palliative care while pushing alternative treatments, depleting their financial resources and abandoning them in their time of need.

  51. #52 novalox
    October 10, 2011

    @Chris

    Thank for the link. It was very amusing to read jake’s overwhelming stupidity again. Great for a laugh.

  52. #53 Chris
    October 11, 2011

    Well, he must be a shill when he ended this comment with: “GONZALEZ IS THE MAN!!!”

    Oh, and it was not an NIH guy, it was someone from the New York State Medical Board, Julian Hyman, a retired oncologist — I wouldn’t be surprised if he was paid handsomely for his endorsement. It does not change the utter failure of the Gonzalez protocol as noted in Pancreatic Proteolytic Enzyme Therapy Compared With Gemcitabine-Based Chemotherapy for the Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer (J Clin Oncol. 2010 April 20; 28(12): 2058–2063).

  53. #54 Chris
    October 11, 2011

    By the way the answer to his one of silly questions, mainly why was Gonzalez still allowed to practice, was to read the book Charlatan by Pope Brock. You will notice he has not done that. Makes sense, he was shown to be a bit lazy by wanting us to spoon feed him info Orac that is readily available.

  54. #55 Heliantus
    October 11, 2011

    @ Herr Doktor Bimler

    Re: Sevika explaining the rationale for coffee enemas

    This enzyme is responsible for neutralizing free radicals, harmful chemicals now commonly implicated in the initiation of cancer and needed for detoxification.

    Implicated in cancer initiation/free radical detoxification (in other words, cancer prevention), ergo cures cancer?
    Well, that makes perfect sense, it’s like closing the door of the chickens’ den to stop the fox from entering. It works.
    And if the fox has found its way inside the den and is busy slaughtering chickens, the first thing I do is to go close the door.
    Oh, wait.

    @ John

    Poe? You forgot the Illuminati. Oh, and the fake Moon landing. Talk about being anti-conformism and original.

  55. #56 Foster Disbelief
    October 11, 2011

    Give me five bucks and ten minutes and I’ll provide anecdotal “evidence” that I can cure cancer with a kick to the shin.

    Then I’ll be getting infomercial-interviewed by “Dr.” Mercola.

    *reality goes wavy as we cut to the fantasy segment*

    FD: The treatment is safe and as effective as the treatments of “Dr.Gonzalez”. The only side effect is a deep bruise on the lower leg. If they only would have used this treatment, Steve Jobs and Patrick Swayze not only would still be alive, but feel 20 years younger as well

    Mercola: Dr. Disbelief, how exactly would kicking the patient in the shin treat cancerous tumors?

    FD: Are you shilling for bigPharma and the medical-industrial complex now, “Dr. Mercola?” Are you claiming these people never had cancer? That they are deluded, or that I obtained their testimony through underhanded means? If he would have came to me, Mr. Jobs would slap you in the face for that comment.

    And then the money would just pour in…..

    …..
    Seriously. How do these people live with themselves?

  56. #57 lilady
    October 11, 2011

    @ Heliantus:

    I suspect that “John” wandered over here to post his brain droppings after he read all his crank emails today and then synthesized his basic…very basic…knowledge about human disease processes that he learned from Google U.

    His posting is chock full of thoroughly debunked conspiracies about big pharma, big government, vaccines and the poisoning of water and the diet. He then coupled that with “nutrition” as taught by his mentors Null, Adams and Mercola and the crap about “supplements” that he so readily purchases and consumes.

    Sad to say, he is the typical “educated” consumer that snake oil salesmen target, who disparage anyone and everyone who is educated in the sciences, has higher education and who practices and lives their own personal life based on science-based medicine.

    I bet he is also a charter member of the Tea Party and supports the Canary Party as well…is a “God-fearing” “true American” who is clueless about immunology, disease treatment and lacks the ability to plan his diet to provide all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals to maintain homeostasis and to maintain a healthy immune system…without taking the nostrums that Joe Mercola and the other “nutritionists” hawk. He is the perfect chump for them.

    John, I think you are out of your element here and suggest you peddle your crappy science and your crappy conspiracies theories somewhere else…because we ain’t buying them

  57. #58 Mandy
    October 11, 2011

    Brilliant post it is one of the best that I’ve seen, keep up the good work, thanks.

  58. #59 Composer99
    October 11, 2011

    jake:

    Gonzales is a quack and his would-be cancer cure is a pile of BS.

    No television programme featuring, as you allege, an NIH doctor investigated Gonzales and made positive comments about him, is going to change the above.

    It really is that simple.

    If you would like more background information, there is a series examining the trial of Gonzales’ purported “treatments” over at the Science-Based Medicine blog.

  59. #60 sophia8
    October 11, 2011

    Mandy @58 is a drive-by spambot.

  60. #61 Denice Walter
    October 11, 2011

    My take on woo-supporters like the above:
    Not a shill, not a patient, or an employee but people want to believe in a good miracle – overturn the laws of the universe now and then- even old David Hume was on to this. It’s a good *story*. It’s *fun*. Who wants stodgy old rules anyway? Entertainment for the masses. I think this is some of the appeal of woo-meisters like those I survey. People want to know/ be “in” on the bringer of miracles or whatever- be first on your block. Rants by the usual suspects ( and tea partiers / canaries) fit the bill.

  61. #62 Jake
    October 11, 2011

    This site reminds me of the program “Crossfire”, where republican backers “debated” democrat backers and the end result was shouting over one another and nothing was accomplished in the end. As an electronics engineer, I can tell you the following: Many times I, and my colleagues, have seen things that we could never explain, but if the end result was good and repeatable, it was good to go. The human body is much more complicated than electronics, so there must be many things that have not yet been explained in medicine. As Chris (finally!) mentioned, Julian Hyman, a retired oncologist, was summoned by the New York State Medical board, to investigate Dr. Gonzalez, and gave his “endorsement” to Gonzalez. This must be have been based on the successes of his patients. Has anyone ever proven that pig pancreatic enzymes that Gonzalez uses to help reduce or eliminate someone’s cancer do actually work? No. Has anyone ever proved the converse? No. So the answer is that we don’t know if they are useful or not. The same applies to coffee enemas in their purported use for helping the liver eliminate “toxins”, when done correctly. Useful or not, there is no proof of either (and Chris please don’t bring up the incident about the people that suffered a burn or an “overdose” from them because then we can go to the story of the woman that spilled the McDonald’s coffee on her lap and say that coffee taken in orally or rectally is bad). The same applies to the supplements. As far as the diet goes, we know that a high quality diet is effective in helping the body perform at it’s peak. As far as the hair test, I won’t even comment (sounds bizarre to me). Getting back to my point about my engineering experience. My work is primarily high frequency in nature (up to 18 GHz). Some call some of this work “black magic”. In most cases, it is very explainable, but in some cases, it is not, though with enough investigation, it can all be explained. If Gonzalez’ patients do well and there is no clear scientific reasoning for why, then who cares? This is evidence based. This is most probably what Dr. Hyman and Ralph Moss (and no, Ralph Moss is not a strict “woo” guy…he investigates all forms of cancer treatments…conventional and alternative…and slams both if they show that they are ineffective…he is not an MD, he is a cancer treatment “investiagator”, so don’t just be ignorant and call him another “woo” guy or whatever) saw with his records and his patients. If you want to comment in a respectful, positive, way, that’s great. If you want to resort to name calling, sarcasm, etc., what does that say about you? Thoughtful debate impresses me. “Crossfire-like” tactics don’t.

  62. #63 Beamup
    October 11, 2011

    Has anyone ever proven that pig pancreatic enzymes that Gonzalez uses to help reduce or eliminate someone’s cancer do actually work? No.

    True.

    Has anyone ever proved the converse? No.

    False. It’s been subjected to good testing and demonstrated to be worse than useless – see the link to sciencebasedmedince in the main post. His patients die faster than if they were entirely untreated.

    And that’s not even mentioning the fact that there was no basic science support for it in the first place, so the trial was grossly unethical.

  63. #64 Orac
    October 11, 2011

    Has anyone ever proven that pig pancreatic enzymes that Gonzalez uses to help reduce or eliminate someone’s cancer do actually work? No. Has anyone ever proved the converse? No.

    Yes, someone has shown the converse:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/09/the_gonzalez_protocol_worse_than_useless.php

    Gonzalez’s treatment for pancreatic cancer is, as I pointed out above, worse than useless.

  64. #65 Prometheus
    October 11, 2011

    Jake,

    I have just one word that will immeasurably improve your writing:

    Paragraphs.

    Beyond learning about paragraphs, you might also try learning a bit about making a rational argument. And how to tell when you’re digging yourself deeper.

    The Gonzalez treatment has been shown to be less effective than current therapy for pancreatic cancer (which isn’t very effective, itself). Frankly, I’m amazed that an IRB would approve the study, since the Gonzalez treatment is laughable, not to mention biologically improbable.

    But, they did the study, the Gonzlalez treatment had worse survival than “conventional” treatment and that is that. Except, of course, that it sticks in the craw of iconoclastic “rebels-without-a-clue”, who feel they must reflexively defend the quack over reason and science, feelings over facts.

    You go, boy! Don’t let the truth get in the way of your crusade, Mr. Quixote.

    Prometheus

  65. #66 Chris
    October 11, 2011

    Jake:

    This must be have been based on the successes of his patients.

    Or he was paid off. My theory is just as valid as yours. Or more so since the data show his patients fare worse.

    It looks like Jake is too lazy to use paragraphs, craft a rational argument, or even read the book Charlatan. He was definitely too lazy to figure out that Orac is a surgical oncologist specializing in breast cancer.

    Even more Jake, which is followed by a post listing several incidences of coffee enemas causing harm.

  66. #67 Jake
    October 11, 2011

    Beamup & Orac: I appreciate your posts, and I understand that you are making the conclusion that if the trial was fair and accurate and if the patients did not benefit from the Gonzalez regimen, then it must follow that the pig pancreatic enzymes do nothing to slow down or eliminate pancreatic cancer. However, you are assuming that the trial was completely fair, which is fine, but I do not believe that it was. Anyway, Dr. Gonzalez has the following in his favor: The case study of 10 patients sent to the NIH, the purported success of his patients, the investigations done by Dr. Hyman and Mr. Ralph Moss (I don’t refer to PhDs as doctors), and the letters of support from the VPs of Nestle and Proctor and Gamble. Gonzalez has the aforementioned trial going against him. I have spoken to one of his patients who lived for 4-5 years after a stage 4 melanoma diagnosis and ultimately died. This person told me that the tumors in his liver did disappear while on Gonzalez’ program. Knowing all of the above, I just wish that the NIH would look into all of the information it has and get to the bottom of it. Either endorse Dr. Gonzalez for treating certain cancers under certain conditions, or shut him down. I know that there are lots of scam artists out there in every field, including medicine, but I don’t believe that this guy is one of them.

  67. #68 Orac
    October 11, 2011

    However, you are assuming that the trial was completely fair, which is fine, but I do not believe that it was.

    Why was it not fair? Your “belief” counts for nothing. Be specific about its flaws and then show that they invalidate the study’s findings.

    Anyway, Dr. Gonzalez has the following in his favor: The case study of 10 patients sent to the NIH,

    Pure selection bias with no control group. To see just how bad the science and how unethical the trial was, read Kimball Atwood’s account of both the original case series of 11 and the subsequent clinical trial:

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/the-ethics-of-cam-trials-gonzo-part-i/
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/the-ethics-of-cam-trials-gonzo-part-ii/
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/the-ethics-of-cam-trials-gonzo-part-iii/
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/the-ethics-of-cam-trials-gonzo-part-iv/
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/the-ethics-of-cam-trials-gonzo-part-v/

    Note that this series was written before the results of Gonzalez’s trial were published.

    the investigations done by Dr. Hyman and Mr. Ralph Moss (I don’t refer to PhDs as doctors),

    Citations? And tell us how these studies trump the 2009 study that I and others have cited that showed Gonzalez’s therapy to be at best the same as doing nothing and at worst worse than doing nothing.

    and the letters of support from the VPs of Nestle and Proctor and Gamble.

    Who cares? What makes you think that the VPs of Nestle and Proctor & Gamble know more than physicians and scientists?

  68. #69 Chris
    October 11, 2011

    More Jake, where he exclaims

    GREAT NEWS REGARDING COFFEE ENEMAS AND THEIR SUPPOSED “DANGER, TORTURE, AND USELESSNESS”

    Don’t we just love ALLCAPS!?

    By the way, a link in Dr. Shinya’s wiki page goes to “Scientific Misconduct.” You really know how to choose them.

    So Jake, the book Charlatan is not as long as The Emperor of All Maladies. Why won’t you read it?

  69. #70 Calli Arcale
    October 11, 2011

    Honestly, I would think that letters of support from the VPs of large multinational corporations would tend to work against his case; their interests are generally business and marketing, not science and medicine (except insofar as they can market medicine).

  70. #71 Jake
    October 11, 2011

    Orac: So you hang your hat on this trial in which many people with pancreatic cancer were sent to do Gonzalez’ program did not or could not comply with his regimen, in which the same selection bias that you speak about was used against him??? A program whose success depends on the patient doing exactly as prescribed. If the people in the chemo arm got the chemo 33% of the time that they were supposed to get it, how would they fare?
    You want to discount the findings of a fellow oncologist (Hyman), a cancer treatment investigator (Moss), the VPs of Nestle and Proctor and Gamble, and of the NIH???
    If the guy is a fraud, then why is he not shut down?
    You don’t see Madoff on the street, do you?
    Have you ever spoken to any of Gonzalez’ patients like I have? Of course not.
    Just discount EVERYTHING that does not fit with your beliefs. If it doesn’t fit, then you must omit!!!

  71. #72 Gray Falcon
    October 11, 2011

    Orac: So you hang your hat on this trial in which many people with pancreatic cancer were sent to do Gonzalez’ program did not or could not comply with his regimen, in which the same selection bias that you speak about was used against him??? A program whose success depends on the patient doing exactly as prescribed. If the people in the chemo arm got the chemo 33% of the time that they were supposed to get it, how would they fare?

    Any evidence for this claim? You haven’t exactly shown yourself to be a reliable witness.

    If the guy is a fraud, then why is he not shut down?

    There’s more to being a good person that not getting caught.

    Just discount EVERYTHING that does not fit with your beliefs. If it doesn’t fit, then you must omit!!!

    That’s your policy, not ours.

  72. #73 lilady
    October 11, 2011

    “I just wish that the NIH would look into all of the information it has and get to the bottom of it. Either endorse Dr. Gonzalez for treating certain cancers under certain conditions, or shut him down. I know that there are lots of scam artists out there in every field, including medicine, but I don’t believe that this guy is one of them.”

    I did make reference to the NYS OPMC (Office of Professional Medical Conduct) and its deliberations and decision to suspend Gonzalez license for 3 years. The suspension was “stayed” if Gonzalez underwent training in oncology and performed 200 hours of “community service” (through an agency that provides palliative care to terminal cancer patients). Noticeable absent from my postings about this decision is my agreement that this decision was in the best interest of society. IMO, the decision of the OPMC was too lenient in light of the grievous needless pain inflicted on the six terminally ill patients whose charts and records were reviewed.

    The man is a charlatan snake oil salesman, totally unqualified (in his own words) to practice oncology and whose self-professed specialty is “nutritional medicine.” Gonzalez has no hospital affiliations, relies on hair analysis for cancer staging/progression and abandoned his patients when they reached the point of excruciating pain which required hospitalization for palliative care.

    Jake, in spite of prior postings stating that he was treated successfully by a surgeon and an oncologist for Stage III melanoma, has a paucity of knowledge about human physiology and absolutely no knowledge about pancreatic cancer. He is still stuck on the junk science theories of Dr. Gonzalez, possibly because of his deplorable lack of knowledge or because he is a shill.

  73. #74 novalox
    October 11, 2011

    It is bad to say that jake’s utter stupidity, idiocy and utter ignorance of basic science, rational thought, and common decency has me laughing at him?

  74. #75 Chris
    October 11, 2011

    Jake:

    If the guy is a fraud, then why is he not shut down?

    Why don’t you read Chalatan and find out. It is pure politics, and regulators with their hand tied. You can at least look up the wiki page of the person the book is about. Or are you even too lazy to check out Amazon and wikipedia?

    More Jake ALLCAPS. Enjoy.

  75. #76 Orac
    October 11, 2011

    One notices that Jake has not produced citations from the peer-reviewed literature from Hyman or Moss supporting the efficacy of the Gonzalez protocol. As usual, he’s full of bluster but can’t produce any evidence.

  76. #77 novalox
    October 11, 2011

    @Orac

    Personally, I think jake is full of something else, but that’s just my opinion.

  77. #78 lilady
    October 11, 2011

    @ Gray Falcon:

    Just discount EVERYTHING that does not fit with your beliefs. If it doesn’t fit, then you must omit!!!

    That’s your policy, not ours.

    That’s not Jake’s “policy”…it is a rip-off of Johnny Cochrane’s (in)famous quote. Cochrane was the defense attorney for O.J. Simpson who was accused of murdering his ex-wife and another person. During his summation Cochrane referred to the dried blood-encrusted leather gloves found at the scene that Simpson tried on during the trial and based much of his defense of Simpson with this statement:

    “If the gloves don’t fit you must acquit”.

    I simply don’t know what Jake’s “policy” is…aside from the annoying fact-less trolling and the spouting of pseudoscience regarding the “nutrition doctor’s” treatment protocol.

  78. #79 squirrelelite
    October 11, 2011

    On the cancer fighting foods front, I saw part of this video this morning during breakfast at McDonald’s.

    Hans Rueffert had gastric cancer which was treated with 11 rounds of surgery total eventually including the complete removal of his stomach, as well as chemotherapy and radiation therapy and antiobiotics to treat two rounds of infections in the brain.

    He is obviously not opposed to standard medical treatment. But, he touts the “cancer fighting foods” in the special diet he has developed to nourish himself under these extreme conditions.

    The video is a bit short on details.

    http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/health/2011/10/10/human-factor-hans-rueffert.cnn#/video/health/2011/10/10/human-factor-hans-rueffert.cnn

  79. #80 Jake
    October 11, 2011

    So there was an NIH sponsored trial that proved, without a doubt, that the Gonzalez treatment for pancreatic cancer was, at best, as effective as getting zero treatment, and, at worst, worse than getting zero treatment. Correct, Orac??? (by the why, the ethics of your field does not compare favorably with the ethics of mine….surgeries and treatments done solely for money, knowing that they will not help the patient…disgusting). Despite this trial, Gonzalez is allowed to continue his practice??? This is not enough evidence to shut him down? Don’t any of you wonder why? Oh, it’s the politics and the regulators hands being tied, correct, Chris??? Good luck to everyone!!! I’m done here.

  80. #81 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    October 11, 2011

    Jake,

    VPs of Nestle and Proctor and Gamble

    I’ve met VPs at Procter and Gamble; none I’ve met had any special knowledge of pancreatic cancer. That doesn’t mean that the one you mention didn’t; without a name it’s impossible to determine (s)he does.

  81. #82 lilady
    October 11, 2011

    “(by the why, the ethics of your field does not compare favorably with the ethics of mine….surgeries and treatments done solely for money, knowing that they will not help the patient…disgusting).”

    Jake “reports” his field as electrical engineering and I’m wondering how “ethics” are applied to electrical engineering?

    I suspect that Jake is “full of it”…his field is actually “shilling” for Gonzalez. And, Jake is also “full of it” when he posted prior to this about his history of and successful treatment of, Stage III melanoma where he expressed gratitude to the competent surgeon and competent oncologist who treated him…with nary a hint of “surgeries and treatments done solely for money”.

    I guess “shillers” have their own “code of ethics” and “shilling” pays more than electrical engineering, eh Jake?

  82. #83 novalox
    October 11, 2011

    @jake

    Ah, more ad homs, stupidity, and utter ignorance on your part, you will surely not be missed.

    Don’t let the proverbial door hit your butt on the way out.

  83. #84 Beamup
    October 11, 2011

    So there was an NIH sponsored trial that proved, without a doubt, that the Gonzalez treatment for pancreatic cancer was, at best, as effective as getting zero treatment, and, at worst, worse than getting zero treatment.

    Thanks for proving your ignorance of science, Jake. “Without a doubt” is not a standard any science can ever reach.

    With sufficient confidence to demonstrate that the Gonzalez protocol should never be used? Certainly.

  84. #85 Chris
    October 11, 2011

    Jake:

    This is not enough evidence to shut him down? Don’t any of you wonder why? Oh, it’s the politics and the regulators hands being tied, correct, Chris???

    So what proof do you have that Dr. Hyman was not paid off?

    And, yes, there is politics. It took years before regulators would look at the Geiers, and Rashid Buttar has gotten away way with dubious treatments and billing. I gave you an easy and entertaining way to figure that out with the Goat Gland Doctor, but you were too lazy to read that. I doubt you have the stamina and will to follow up on the shenanigans of the Geiers, Wakefield, Buttar, and other dubious doctors that have been discussed on this blog.

    Even more Jake bluster. Enjoy.

  85. #86 DrDuran
    October 12, 2011

    Jake above:

    My work is primarily high frequency in nature (up to 18 GHz). Some call some of this work “black magic”. In most cases, it is very explainable, but in some cases, it is not

    Engineering – You’re doing it wrong.

    If you don’t know why something does what it does, you find out. No engineer I know (or the many techs I work with) would just say “oh, that’s magic” and leave it at that.

  86. #87 herbert simmens
    October 13, 2011

    I think it’s telling that no one challenged my comment #15 above, particularly the abstract of the Pancreas study, where the only intervention was to give pigs Dr Gonzalez’ enzymes and to the best of my knowledge it was the first time that any intervention significantly extended the lives of pigs with pancreatic cancer. So I can only conclude that this study is highly inconvenient for those who disparage and are 1000% sure that there is no biological basis for the model behind Gonzalez’s work.

    Further the so called marketing motivation given by commenter #70 to explain away the endorsement of the heads of research at P and G and Nestle is a joke. The Nestle head was the former medical director of the Pasteur Institute and the head of P and G research made the following comments:(taken from Dr Gonzalez web site)

    Testimonial of J. P. Jones, Ph.D.
    I was Vice President, Research and Development, for one of the largest healthcare companies in the world. We subsidized some of Dr. Gonzalez’s research because, as we formally acknowledged, his work had “extraordinary importance and potential for commercial exploitation,” and his clinical pancreatic cancer trials “had extremely positive results”.
    We learned of Dr. Gonzalez by serendipity. An engineer at the company was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer. Another employee said he had heard about Dr. Gonzalez on television. We located Dr. Gonzalez, and the engineer thrived on his program, living three years. The engineer told me that his surgeon was astonished by his survival. He died when, for reasons unrelated to Dr. Gonzalez, he left the program.
    We investigated Dr. Gonzalez for a period of six to nine months before we subsidized him. We quickly decided to recruit him, investing substantial sums in the recruitment process because we were convinced he had a valuable program.
    During the recruitment period, I invited Dr. Gonzalez to present a seminar for our community. I then reviewed the project at the highest management levels of the company. Their reaction was, literally, that it was one of the most exciting projects ever seen in the history of the company. Everyone supported the idea of moving forward, including the president, the CEO, the businesspeople in healthcare, and research and development.
    We are a mainstream company. We believed that Dr. Gonzalez was the next Barry Marshall, and that the scientific implications of his work were phenomenal.
    I did considerable due diligence before we subsidized Dr. Gonzalez’s work. I interviewed some of Dr. Gonzalez’s patients, saw their files, spent many hours with Dr. Gonzalez, and studied his many lectures. I also consulted with my wife, a researcher in oncology and hematology. She became so impressed that, despite no illness, she went on Dr. Gonzalez’s program, as did I, and many others at the company. We did so despite lack of insurance reimbursement for the annual expense for dietary supplements. It was the one and only thing I had ever done that made an obvious difference in my health. The difference was “day and night”. Both my wife and I continue on the program to this day, more than a decade later, with extremely positive results. Our experience was shared by more than a dozen others at the company.
    Dr. John Paul Jones

    Dr Jones comments are Inconvenient facts aren’t they – and all you have to go on in rebuttal is a fatally flawed NIH study that Dr Gonzalez warned me and others about years before its publication that the methodology and patient selection made the study results absolutely worthless whether they would show his protocol to be effective or not.

    The bottom line is that to even begin to acknowledge that enzymes and diet could defeat cancer would cause the entire multibillion dollar cancer establishment to collapse, along with the reputations of thousands of MD’s and researchers. And the history of science has shown for centuries that orthodoxy must be defended at all costs, particularly when the livelihoods and prestige of the high priests of medicine would be mortally wounded.

    Knowing many of the patients who lived years beyond any reasonable prognosis of their survival on the Gonzalez program and even more cancer patients who were talked out of seeing Gonzalez and ultimately dying in short order breaks my heart.

    I’m still looking for the one person on this site who is open minded enough to read the theory behind the protocol, assess the weaknesses of the NIH study and advocate that further investigation is required to determine the degree of efficacy of his work.

  87. #88 herr doktor bimler
    October 13, 2011

    I think it’s telling that no one challenged my comment #15 above

    You are evidently under the impression that being Someone who is Wrong On The Internet (SIWOTI) necessarily creates an obligation for everyone else to correct your errors.

  88. #89 Agashem
    October 13, 2011

    @87: Shut it down, yeah right. Come to the oncology floor of the hospital I work at and say that. You have never seen someone suffer the way those of us in the hospitals have. As if we would ignore a cure. Besides, those of us in Canada don’t make the money the way you all do in the US so what motivation would we have and why wouldn’t the Canadian government pay for a cheap treatment??????

  89. #90 Krebiozen
    October 13, 2011

    Herbert,

    I think it’s telling that no one challenged my comment #15 above, particularly the abstract of the Pancreas study, where the only intervention was to give pigs Dr Gonzalez’ enzymes and to the best of my knowledge it was the first time that any intervention significantly extended the lives of pigs with pancreatic cancer. So I can only conclude that this study is highly inconvenient for those who disparage and are 1000% sure that there is no biological basis for the model behind Gonzalez’s work.

    I think you will find this was a small study on mice (14 treated, 13 controls), not pigs. As the study itself admits:

    Because of the experimental design, an adequate survival comparison could not be made. Nevertheless, based on a few mice that were allowed to die spontaneously, treated mice survived considerably longer (58 days) than the control mice (44 days).

    The mice in the survival study group given the enzymes had larger tumors than the control group, which they suggested was because they lived longer.

    Forgive me for being a little underwhelmed.

  90. #91 lilady
    October 13, 2011

    “Doris” is spam.

  91. #92 Krebiozen
    October 13, 2011

    Slight error in my last comment – I skipped a page and quoted from the tumor size study group, in which they couldn’t make an adequate survival comparison. There were two identical studies, one in which the mice were left to see how long they survived, and another in which they were sacrificed and their organs examined after different lengths of time. In the survival group they could and did assess relative survival:

    The median survival rates in the treatment and
    control groups were 43.5 and 35 days, respectively (P =0.009).

    I’m still underwhelmed – it was a very small study on mice not humans (or pigs). The survival curve looks strange too, with a lot of deaths early on in the control group. It also seems odd that the control mice in the tumor size group survived longer (44 days) than the treatment mice in the survival group (35 days). It looks like there was a lot of variation in the survival of these mice, and the results could easily have been due to chance.

  92. #93 Prometheus
    October 13, 2011

    Mr. Simmens (#87):

    “I think it’s telling that no one challenged my comment #15 above…”

    Yes, it is telling, but what does it tell? Mr. Simmens seems to think that nobody challenged this because nobody (nobody?) could come up with an adequate rebuttal. However, there is an alternate explanation:

    Everybody realised that the human trial results trump animal experiments.

    This is especially true when the animal results are inconclusive or ambivalent. While animal experiments are an essential part of most cancer therapy trials, it remains true that mice are not humans. Again, this doesn’t mean that animal trials are useless, just that they are occasionally misleading. When human results – from properly designed and run clinical studies – are available, they should take precedence over animal studies.

    All of the chin-wagging from Gonzalez and his apologists re-emphasise the two Central Tenets of “Alternative” Medicine:

    [1] If you get better, it’s because of the “alternative” treatments, no matter what else was done.

    [2] If you don’t get better, it’s because you didn’t use the “alternative” medical therapy according to directions or you started too late.

    In other fields, this is referred to as the “heads I win, tails you lose” principle.

    No matter how badly you want something to be true, wishing won’t make it so, if it’s not.

    Prometheus

  93. #94 Krebiozen
    October 13, 2011

    Herbert,

    Dr Jones comments are Inconvenient facts aren’t they –

    They are comments, not facts, and we don’t even know for sure that Dr. Jones made them. I can’t find any reference to Dr. Jones’ comments anywhere but on Natural News or on Gonzalez’s website. Can you direct us to an independent statement from him? Even if he did make those comments, no number of opinions trump cold, hard science.

    and all you have to go on in rebuttal is a fatally flawed NIH study that Dr Gonzalez warned me and others about years before its publication that the methodology and patient selection made the study results absolutely worthless whether they would show his protocol to be effective or not.

    I’m sure Gonzalez did warn you and others about this, as he was well aware that the results were so devastating. As I recall it took several years after completion before the results were published.

    Could you explain precisely what these “fatal flaws” were? I have read more than I care to remember about this study, and the criticisms of it still make no sense to me. Gonzalez was happy about the study design before and during the trial, and only seems to have developed doubts when it had to be terminated due to the enzyme treatment’s terrible performance. Gonzalez predicted similar results to his 11 patient case series shortly after the study began (when he was well aware of the “methodology and patient selection”) saying:

    So, for example, if the average survival with chemo, which we suspect will be 5 months, you would want my therapy to be at least — the median survival to be at least 15, 16, 17 months, as it was in the pilot study. We’re looking for a median survival three times out from the chemo group to be significant.

    In fact the results were almost exactly the opposite of this – the Gonzalez patients lived for 4.3 months, and the chemotherapy patients lived for 14.0 months.

    Are we are supposed to believe that by chance the patients who chose pancreatic enzyme therapy were much sicker than those who chose conventional chemotherapy, despite them being in similar health and quality of life as measured by biochemical parameters and questionnaires? Were they then all either unable to keep to the protocol, or were all uncompliant enough for it to have no effect on them at all? Even if most of them were unable to stick to the protocol and were essentially untreated, you would expect the ones who were able to follow it to increase the average survival time somewhat over no treatment at all. I can’t see any way that anyone can spin this study that is consistent with Gonzalez’s enzyme treatment having any beneficial effects at all.

  94. #95 Matthew Cline
    October 13, 2011

    @Krebiozen:

    Are we are supposed to believe that by chance the patients who chose pancreatic enzyme therapy were much sicker than those who chose conventional chemotherapy,

    Given that those who chose the Gonzales therapy had to have enough of an appetite to eat 150 pills a day, while those who chose the chemotherapy arm didn’t, it seems pretty unlikely that those who chose the Gonzales therapy were sicker than those who chose chemotherapy.

  95. #96 Militant Agnostic
    October 14, 2011

    Gonzalez was happy about the study design before and during the trial

    Just like every unsuccessful challenger for the JREF million dollar prize.

  96. #97 herr doktor bimler
    October 14, 2011

    Pancreatic Enzyme Extract Improves Survival in Murine Pancreatic Cancer

    I am relieved that the lab mice were spared the coffee-enema component of the therapy.

  97. #98 lilady
    October 15, 2011

    Maybe they are not using the right type of coffee for their enema “treatments”:

    Kopi luwak (Malay pronunciation: [ˈkopi ˈlu.aʔ]), or civet coffee, is one of the world’s most expensive and low-production varieties of coffee. It is made from the beans of coffee berries which have been eaten by the Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) and other related civets, then passed through its digestive tract.[1] A civet eats the berries for their fleshy pulp. In its stomach, proteolytic enzymes seep into the beans, making shorter peptides and more free amino acids. Passing through a civet’s intestines the beans are then defecated, keeping their shape. After gathering, thorough washing, sun drying, light roasting and brewing, these beans yield an aromatic coffee with much less bitterness, widely noted as the most expensive coffee in the world with prices reaching $160 per pound.[2] (Wikipedia)

    This article from Wikipedia must be an old reference, as the latest price for this “civit coffee” is over $ 500 a pound.

    Dr. Mercola ought to look into this and offer civit coffee for enemas on his natural food market website.

  98. #99 LW
    October 15, 2011

    @89: “Besides, those of us in Canada don’t make the money the way you all do in the US so what motivation would we have and why wouldn’t the Canadian government pay for a cheap treatment??????”

    Agashem makes a point that I think should be really emphasized in dealing with alternative “medicine”. There are a lot of countries in this world besides the United States. Most of them don’t like us very much and would greatly enjoy proving us wrong. Many of them are also very poor (not Canada, of course).

    A cheap, natural cure for cancer (or anything else, really) would be very beneficial for other countries, in terms of keeping their citizens alive and healthy, keeping their limited foreign exchange funds from flowing to pharmaceutical companies in the U.S., bringing in more funds from desperate patients worldwide, and of course pulling the eagle’s tail.

    Is it really plausible that in all the countries in the world, there is not one single government that has not been suborned by Big Pharma?  That there is not one government willing to fund a proper study of the Gonzales protocol in order to show up the incompetents in the U.S.?  By the standards of a government, running such a trial would not be expensive.  There’s no requirement that Gonzales himself be involved, though I wonder why he hasn’t requested some other country — perhaps one that exports coffee — to fund what he considers a proper trial.

    Of course this applies to any cheap, natural cure claimed to be suppressed by the FDA and Big Pharma.

  99. #100 Militant Agnostic
    October 15, 2011

    @99
    Or Cuba – This is a country that has universal health care, needs hard currency, and has ventured into providing surgery for hard currency to Canadians who are on long waiting lists and definitely enjoy “pulling the eagle’s tail”.

  100. #101 Ted Nesterhaus
    October 15, 2011

    Anyone else notice how having Cancer and fighting cancer is so main stream now they even make comedy’s about having it-FTW?
    After what 70-100 years and still no cure-Good thing since more people work in cancer “treatment” than actually have it. Face it-modern medicine as it applies to cancer is at best a joke, but keeps so many employed, yeah for disease! There are several proven solutions that address cancer simply through nutrition. Gersen therapy is just one with real statistics and successes far beyond your “modern” medicine. It can be easier just to leave the responsibility to your trained medical professionals and die, and most do this. But going to medical school makes you know everything-wow that’s neat. Glad you can help keep your facility and big pharma in business!

  101. #102 Chris
    October 15, 2011

    Mr. Nesterhaus, please stay away from open flames with such delicate strawman arguments.

    1- Cancer is not one disease, it is several and they are all different: http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php?f=1162

    2- Once upon a time leukemia was a death sentence for children, no it is mostly survivable.

    3- The “Pharma Shill Gambit” is old, tired, boring and very lame. Try something more interesting, like actual evidence

    4- If you are willing to open your welded shut mind to new information then go to your local library and check out The Emperor of All Maladies.

    Though, since you are too lazy to read Orac’s article, the comments and even to hit the “enter” key to create paragraphs, I sincerely doubt you have the intellectual and physical stamina to read a skinny book, much less the thick, but very well written book, I mentioned.

  102. #103 lilady
    October 15, 2011

    @ Ted Nesterhaus: Obviously you haven’t read this article…or if you have…you simply don’t have the intellectual capacity to understand it.

    In a prior post I made reference to the New York State OPMC (Office of Professional Medical Conduct) and the action it took against Dr. Gonzalez to suspend his medical license for 3 years. This action followed an extensive investigation of the doctor’s records and his treatment protocol for 6 patients.

    He was found to have egregiously deviated from minimum accepted medical practice and neglected his patients. He had no hospital affiliations, used a bogus hair analysis to stage and monitor the progression of his patients’ cancers and refused to provide them with palliative pain relief for their severe pain.

    Furthermore, he ignored his patients telephone calls…once it became obvious that his “cash cows” were dying.

    During the many hearings, he asked to be evaluated not by the standards of his medical profession; instead he requested that he be evaluated as a practitioner of “alternative medicine”. He also stated in his own sworn testimony that he was NOT an oncologist but rather a “nutrition doctor”. Even you with a limited education could become a “nutritionist” through a mail order diploma mill.

    “There are several proven solutions that address cancer simply through nutrition. Gersen therapy is just one with real statistics and successes far beyond your “modern” medicine.”

    Prove it.

    When you make a statement like that on this site, you better be able to prove that with citations from peer-reviewed journals.

  103. #104 novalox
    October 15, 2011

    @ted

    [citation needed]

  104. #105 Krebiozen
    October 15, 2011

    @ted

    There are several proven solutions that address cancer simply through nutrition. Gersen therapy is just one with real statistics and successes far beyond your “modern” medicine.

    have never heard of “Gersen therapy”. I thought at first you meant Gerson therapy, but that can’t be right, because Gerson therapy doesn’t work.

  105. #106 Militant Agnostic
    October 15, 2011

    lilady

    During the many hearings, he (Dr. Gonzalez) asked to be evaluated not by the standards of his medical profession; instead he requested that he be evaluated as a practitioner of “alternative medicine”.

    The standards of a practitioner of “alternative medicine” is a bar so low that the Limbo champion of Trinidad and Tobago couldn’t go under it.

  106. #107 LW
    October 15, 2011

    “more people work in cancer “treatment” than actually have it.”

    Unless you’re counting laymen helping their loved ones to cope, that seems exceedingly unlikely. Even if it were true, what’s wrong with that?

  107. #108 lilady
    October 15, 2011

    @ Militant Agnostic:

    I think “alternative medicine” is whatever or however you want to ply your “trade”.

    The OPMC evaluated him on his fitness to practice medicine, not “alternative medicine”…and he was found incompetent.

    The interesting thing is that if my Registered Nurse license is suspended or revoked in the state where I practice, unlike medical doctors, I cannot relocate to another state and practice out-of-state.

  108. #109 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    October 15, 2011

    Ted,
    As several people have noted, you’ve made nothing but unsubstantiated statements that are contrary to experience.
    Do you actually have data to support anything you’ve said?

  109. #110 LW
    October 16, 2011

    “Anyone else notice how having Cancer and fighting cancer is so main stream now they even make comedy’s about having it-FTW?”

    Have you ever heard the comment, “You’re about as funny as a heart attack”? People tend not to find deadly medical conditions comical. If there are now comedies about having cancer (and I’ll take your word for that), then cancer must be regarded as less deadly than it used to be.

    Funny, that.

  110. #111 Bronze Dog
    October 16, 2011

    I do recall something about a comedy movie that involved trying to get a date for a cancer patient. The looked in good enough health from a casual inspection, so it’d be my guess he’s getting treated in the early stages. The topic of conversation with his friend was figuring out how to break the news to a prospective date. In one instance, he just blurts it out nearly first thing, and they agree that tactic didn’t work.

    Of course humor often has to deal with “dark” topics just to get anyone to talk or think about it. There’s a reason a lot of “polite” and “politically correct” people despise humor and laughter.

  111. #112 Antaeus Feldspar
    October 16, 2011

    I think Ted may be referring to the cable series “The Big C”, which airs on Showtime and is about a woman confronting her diagnosis of cancer. The show is described as a comedy; however, this is the same channel which runs “Nurse Jackie,” so any conclusions drawn about “it must therefore be mainstream” are dubious. (Seriously, I’m scratching my head at what point he’s trying to make by talking about “mainstream” here. Is he trying to be, like, a cancer hipster? “It used to be cool to have cancer, but that was before cancer sold out to the masses.”)

  112. #113 mikel
    October 16, 2011

    “Anyone else notice how having Cancer and fighting cancer is so main stream now they even make comedy’s about having it-FTW?”

    I think he’s referring to this:
    50/50

  113. #114 Steve
    October 25, 2011

    Just a tip, RUN AWAY from any person in the health field that sells their own supplements.

  114. #115 dell xps m1330 akku
    November 2, 2011

    It is bad to say that jake’s utter stupidity, idiocy and utter ignorance of basic science, rational thought, and common decency has me laughing at him?

  115. #116 Scott Warner
    November 10, 2011

    To all those slamming Dr. Gonzalez. Here are some FACTS. In 1988 my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a masectomy and was placed on Tomoxifin which has simple side effects such as uterine malignancies. She almost died at Beverly Hills Medical Center when they almost overdosed her with pain meds. Her Oncolgist, Barry Rosenburg at Cedars Sinai was a wonderful doctor however after a year the cancer had metasticised into her other breast and four lymph nodes deep. Through a referral we flew from LA to NY to meet with Dr. Gonzalez and my wife chose to undergo his therapy. Make no mistake it is an arduous and disciplined therapy and this is the reason I would suspect many do not endure the protocol. She did. It required 168 suppliments a day, 5 days on, days off. Detox protocols, liver flushes, purges and yes 2 coffee enemas each day. The detox is crucial. Many don’t die of their cancer they die from the toxicity of their conventional treatments. Do I shun Orthodox medicine, NO. But the fact is orthodox medicine does not practice detoxification in its treatments and the body many times is just overcome by the breakdown of the tumor waste and coupled with the toxicity of the chemo or related drugs. Bottom line: She is still alive almost 25 years later. So before you lambaste pioneers like Dr. Gonzalez you must accept the fact that there an many grateful people out there for his work and courage.

  116. #117 Jake
    March 10, 2012

    Great post by Scott in support of Gonzalez. Another very interesting piece for those naysayers that think that they know it all and part of that is in thinking that diet will have no effect on treating cancer:
    http://www.ketotic.org/2011/08/advanced-cancer-and-ketogenic-diet.html
    If you don’t believe this, then you can go to the pubmed publishing that was recently done for those from the Wurzburg hospital in Germany, who ran this trial.
    Notice the connection….ketogenic diet – Gonzalez protocol. If you geniuses can scientifically, and honestly discredit the ketogenic diet, then go to town. If you can’t, then you had better start spreading the word to any of your loved ones that have this dreaded disease.

  117. #118 Chris
    March 10, 2012

    Jake, if you make a claim that there are PubMed articles, then you should post the title, journal and date of those studies.

  118. #119 Antaeus Feldspar
    March 10, 2012

    Jake, do you really think there is absolutely no middle ground between “diet will have no effect on treating cancer” and “the right diet can cure existing cancer”? Attributing the first belief to anyone who opposes Gonzalez’s unproven claims, and pretending that those claims are suddenly rendered true, or even more plausible, by knocking down that straw man, is just sloppy.

    When someone claims something incredible, like being able to cure cancer, the burden of proof is on them, to prove their incredible claims. One study, which only 5 of the original 16 participants were able to see through to the end, is not the sort of proof you need to justify your smug declarations.

  119. #121 AdamG
    March 12, 2012

    From the abstract:

    One patient did not tolerate the diet and dropped out within 3 days. Among those who tolerated the diet, two patients died early, one stopped after 2 weeks due to personal reasons, one felt unable to stick to the diet after 4 weeks, one stopped after 6 and two stopped after 7 and 8 weeks due to progress of the disease, one had to discontinue after 6 weeks to resume chemotherapy and five completed the 3 month intervention period. These five and the one who resumed chemotherapy after 6 weeks report an improved emotional functioning and less insomnia, while several other parameters of quality of life remained stable or worsened, reflecting their very advanced disease. Except for temporary constipation and fatigue, we found no severe adverse side effects, especially no changes in cholesterol or blood lipids.

    Ahahahaha…I don’t think we even need to bother ‘scientifically, and honestly discrediting’ the ketogenic diet…their own study does just that.

  120. #122 jake
    March 12, 2012

    Antaeus and AdamG:
    What this small study showed is that 5 of the 10 people that were actually willing to stick to the diet had stable disease or better. Sure, it’s a small study and I would think that they would move on to the next phase. For those 5 people that were having “success”, I’m sure that they are very grateful. And I’m sure that there are many people doing the Gonzalez thing that are very happy that they did as well, like Scott Warner’s wife (post 116). The other point that I wanted to make is that Dr. Gonzalez’ “treatment” also relies on a carbohydrate and sugar restricted diet. Getting back to this ketogenic diet, is there any science that says that this diet is worthless? If there is, then let me know. If not, then maybe you may want to mention it to someone you know that has cancer?

  121. #123 AdamG
    March 12, 2012

    What this small study showed is that 5 of the 10 people that were actually willing to stick to the diet had stable disease or better

    No, that’s not what the study showed. First of all, ‘stable or better’ is an extremely misleading phrase. What the authors actually show, according to their own abstract, is that the subjects “report an improved emotional functioning and less insomnia.” These are entirely subjective ‘measures,’ and neither is a good indicator of disease progress. It is ENTIRELY MISLEADING to claim that this means their disease was ‘stable or better,’ especially when the very next sentence states that “several other parameters of quality of life remained stable or worsened.” Why do only ‘emotional functioning’ and ‘insomnia’ matter? Probably because they are the only variables that showed any improvement. That’s a dishonest tactic we like to call ‘cherry picking’ in the scientific community. Additionally, the authors show no evidence that similar results could not be produced entirely by placebo.

    Getting back to this ketogenic diet, is there any science that says that this diet is worthless?

    You fail to understand how the scientific method works. You hypothesize that this diet works. Then you claim that it’s up to us to ‘disprove’ you. Unfortunately, in order for us or any other rational individual to believe you, you need to back up this hypothesis with experimental data. The study you cited does not qualify. Asserting that something is true until it is disproven does not make it true. Just ask the invisible dragon that lives in my garage.

  122. #124 Beamup
    March 12, 2012

    Probably because they are the only variables that showed any improvement. That’s a dishonest tactic we like to call ‘cherry picking’ in the scientific community.

    Although one does have to give the authors credit – they DID correct for multiple comparisons. Which is all too rare in similar contexts.

    This doesn’t mean that the paper says what jake claims, of course, but it’s worth mentioning when people do things right.

  123. #125 AdamG
    March 12, 2012

    Beamup, you’re entirely correct…the cherry-picking I was referring to is all from jake, not the authors. They never claim anywhere in their paper that the diet caused the disease to remain ‘stable or better’ as jake claims. I’m actually somewhat impressed with the restraint the authors of the study show, they don’t really oversell their results too much. Perhaps the credit for that belongs with the reviewers, though.

  124. #126 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 12, 2012

    I notice that the study does not state, nor do the results support, that a ketogenic diet actually helped treat the cancer.

  125. #127 Beamup
    March 12, 2012

    @ AdamG:

    I did not mean to imply otherwise. I merely meant to say that cherry-picking of results by anyone generally implies that there are many different results (else there would be nothing to cherry-pick among). And when there are many different results in a paper, authors all too often fail to correct for multiple comparisons. These authors did not so fail, and should be credited for doing the stats right.

    Perhaps my choice of quoted lines was overly limited. I didn’t mean to impugn the authors in any way.

  126. #128 AdamG
    March 12, 2012

    @Beamup
    Haha no problem, I think we’re in violent agreement here.

    The question is, will jake return with more baseless claims regarding this diet? I don’t think we’ll ever be able to convince him that his position is irrational, given both his past statements and his personal experience with Gonzalez.

  127. #129 Chris
    March 12, 2012

    Adam and Beamup, is that study one that qualifies for Orac’s plea here:
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2012/03/in_which_orac_takes_advantage_of_his_rea.php

  128. #130 Jake
    March 14, 2012

    @Adam G: Contrary to what you say, the study does say that 5 patients had stable disease. The Time magazine article said that some tumors shrunk, but that is not mentioned in the pubmed article…maybe Time got the shrunk tumor wrong.

    The facts are as follows, folks:

    5 of the 5 patients that completed the 12 weeks on the diet had stable disease.
    3 of the 6 patients that reached ketosis had stable disease.
    5 of the 9 patients that were given a diet rating of good or very good had stable disease.

    Now, seeing the results of this limited study, would you or would you not tell a loved one with cancer to try this diet???

    Also, from this publishing: “When we started the study in 2007, except for two preliminary reports [26,54], no protocol was available on how to perform an LCHF or ketogenic diet study with cancer patients. Since then, a study protocol was published by Fine et al. [55], and four clinical trials were registered in the clinical trials database [56]. However, no patient’s data resulting from these studies have been published so far. Thus, it will be very interesting to see if the slightly different nutritional settings of LCHF or ketogenic diets will benefit the study patients as well.”

    Exactly, or maybe a restricted carb. diet plus pig pancreatic enzymes plus many other supplements. (i.e. – Gonzalez regimen), or maybe some combination of a restricted carb. diet plus some way of shrinking the tumor?

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