Dr. Andrew Weil's Negative Posting about Protocel
I do not know Dr. Weil personally, and have never spoken with him, so I can't say exactly what he was thinking when he posted the following negative comments about Protocel on what looks like his own blog. I can only say what my own reaction was and share my comments with visitors to my site.
Here is what was posted on Dr. Weil's blog in October of 2010. (Areas of text in color were highlighted in red by myself and commented on afterward.):
Q Protocel: A bogus Cancer Cure?
I've been reading about Protocel to cure cancer, including lung cancer. What do you think of this treatment?
A Answer (Published 10/22/2010)
Not much, and I urge you to avoid it. Protocel® is one of the names given to a mixture of chemical compounds developed in the 1930's by a chemist named James Sheridan who claimed that the formula came to him from God in a dream and would cure cancer and other diseases. He called his product Entelev® and eventually gave it to someone else for manufacturing and distribution. According to the American Cancer Society the name of the preparation was then changed to Cancell® and was marketed for about five years before the FDA got an injunction that prohibited sale of the product across state lines on the grounds that it was an adulterated, misbranded, and unapproved new drug. Cancell has now also been renamed, and as Protocel is being sold as a supplement that helps the body remove "unwanted and unproductive cells."
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Promoters have advanced rather interesting theories about how and why it is purported to work, including mechanisms that have to do with cellular energy and the conversion of normal cells to cancer cells. One theory holds that a bacterium called Progenitor cryptocides is activated in the body by improper diet and causes cells to turn malignant. Protocel, which is also marketed as Cantron, supposedly cures the disease by blocking energy production in cancer cells.
In addition to cancer, these supplements have also been promoted for treatment of AIDS, herpes, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, endometriosis, Crohn's disease, fibromyalgia, diabetes, emphysema, scleroderma, Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS), multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, hemophilia, high and low blood pressure, mental illness and some forms of epilepsy.
There is no evidence to support the existence of the bacterium invoked in the theory on how normal cells become malignant. What's more, there is no evidence to show that Protocel (or whatever else it is called) has any anti-cancer effect. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) performed animal studies of Entelev/Cancell in 1978 and 1980 and found that it had no anti-cancer activity whatsoever. Another series of NCI tests in 1990 and 1991 using human cancer cells did not find sufficient activity to warrant further testing. And beware: the manufacturer of the supplements claims that chemotherapy interferes with their effectiveness.
If you have cancer, I urge you to rely on tested and proven treatments. They may be imperfect, and should not be used without weighing the risks and benefits, but they have a much better track record than supplements unscrupulously promoted as cures.
Andrew Weil, M.D.
Quite frankly, I was shocked when I read this posting. I respect Dr. Weil's knowledge of diet, nutritional supplements and herbs for health, and had always thought of him as a supporter of alternative medicine in general. But, when one discovers that he also doesn't believe there is any evidence that Dr. Burzynski's Antineoplaston Therapy works for cancer (scroll down to see his posting on that below), nor does he have any respect for Dr. Gonzalez's Metabolic Therapy approach that has also shown great success, it begins to look like Dr. Weil is simply not open to supporting any cancer treatment not already approved by the NCI or the FDA.
Indeed, Dr. Weil's posting against Protocel comes across as the result of a VERY brief and badly done Internet search, without any real understanding of the product or its efficacy. Indeed, he includes inaccurate information in some areas and appears to be somewhat confused in other areas. For instance,
(1) Dr. Weil says that Jim Sheridan's formula was marketed for about 5 years before the FDA got an injunction that prohibited the sale of it across state lines. This is historically inaccurate, since the version called Cancell, which he is referring to, was NEVER "marketed" or "sold." It was produced by a man named Ed Sopcak who spent his own money to make it and who gave it away for free to cancer patients who asked for it. No marketing was ever done on Cancell. It is true that the FDA enforced an injunction to stop the "distribution" of the product across state lines, which basically meant that they were legally stopping Ed Sopcak from making it at his own expense and giving it away to people who begged him for it, by blocking him from "mailing" it across state lines. This effectively kept most people from getting CancellÃ¢ and benefiting from it. But that injunction was illegal, since there wasn't a single customer complaint about Cancell and no real plaintiff involved. Rather, it was obviously one of the FDA's many actions to suppress good treatments that might interfere with Big Pharma's profits.
(2) Under "Related Weil Products," Dr. Weil advertizes his own products or information people have to pay for to anyone with cancer in the middle of this blog posting. I suppose one can't fault him for promoting his own products, but it does seem a bit unethical to turn the public away from one product that has been used with quite a lot of success for decades and steer people towards his own products instead.
(3) In the next paragraph, Dr. Weil states that promoters of Protocel support the Progenitor Cryptocides theory of how cancer develops. This has NEVER been a theory supported by the Protocel manufacturers or distributors, or by Jim Sheridan himself. There may be other websites that support this theory and also support Protocel, but as I mentioned, it is not a theory that the Protocel group or Jim Sheridan ever promoted. (Which makes me wonder where Dr. Weil was really getting his information from for this blog posting.) Possibly, the Cantron group may have supported this theory of cancer development at some point, but Cantron is a similar product to Protocel, but not exactly the same product. They have completely separate manufacturing and are a group of people who have been at odds with the Sheridan family and Protocel supporters for years. Two paragraphs later, Dr. Weil returns to arguing against the existence of the Progenitor Cryptocides theory as if it has anything to do with Protocel. Please let's put this to rest! This is NOT a theory that Jim Sheridan or the Protocel manufacturers or distributors ever promoted. I believe it was actually Dr. Virginia Livingston who was the main promoter of the Progenitor Cryptocides theory of cancer development, and she had an excellent track record of curing cancer for many years with her own alternative method based on this theory before she died. So I'm not saying that the theory is wrong, it is just not something that was promoted by Jim Sheridan or anyone else directly involved with the Protocel product. And, in a way, it is quite unlikely that it would be connected to Protocel in any way, since it has always been known that Protocel has no anti-bacterial effect whatsoever.
(4) Yes, the NCI performed animal studies on Jim Sheridan's formula between 1978 and 1980, and yes, they did claim it had no anti-cancer activity. What Dr. Weil doesn't seem to know is that the NCI never correctly followed Jim Sheridan's requirements for administering his formula to the laboratory mice used to test Cancell. On page 153 of my book, I explain how the NCI completely ignored 3 specific and important requirements that Jim Sheridan said must be followed for accurate animal testing results. After the NCI ignored his 3 requirements on the first test, Jim Sheridan complained and asked them to re-do the test correctly. After the NCI completely ignored his instructions a second time, Jim Sheridan either gave up, or he may have asked them to run the animal testing one more time. At any rate, every time the NCI did animal testing on Cancell, they did it completely wrong on 3 different levels. This information was given to me by Jim Sheridan's son, James E. Sheridan, after his father, James V. Sheridan passed away. James E. Sheridan had been involved with the communications between his father and the NCI and was also a district court judge in Michigan at the time. (Quite a credible witness!) Either the NCI was incapable of following instructions for their animal testing of a new product, or they deliberately ignored Sheridan's instructions for administering his formula to the mice so that the results would be negative and they could then claim that the treatment didn't work.
(5) The cancer cell line (in vitro) tests performed by the NCI later in 1990 and 1991, were indeed done on Cancell and deemed by the NCI and FDA to not warrant further testing . . . but not because they weren't effective. In fact, after the NCI and FDA claimed that Cancell didn't warrant further testing, Jim Sheridan's son, the above-mentioned Judge Sheridan, called the NCI to find out why they weren't following up on his father's formula. Dr. Ven Narayanan, head of drug testing at the NCI at the time, agreed that the in vitro tests showed the formula to be extremely effective at killing cancer! (See pages 156-157 of Outsmart Your Cancer for the details.) According to Judge Sheridan, Dr. Narayanan then said, "I could also obtain these results with chemotherapy, if I wanted to, but anything that would get results this good would be too toxic to humans!" Sheridan's formula had been proven over and over in toxicity tests to be completely non-toxic, but the NCI and FDA did not want to admit that. They merely wanted to find a way to block its use. If Dr. Weil doubts this information, I suggest he take it up with Judge Sheridan.
The substance of what Dr. Weil says above about the animal testing and the in vitro cell testing of Jim Sheridan's original formula called Cancell (later to be renamed Protocel Formula 50) looks suspiciously like he got his information directly off the NCI website. If that is correct, then either:
(1) Dr. Weil is naive enough to think that the NCI and FDA are to be trusted and he is not aware of how many truly effective non-toxic treatments these cancer organizations have actively suppressed to protect Big Pharma's profits, or . . .
(2) Dr. Weil is simply trying to remain "accepted" in mainstream medicine and he knows that promoting general health dietary supplements is not controversial, but promoting alternative treatments for cancer would get him kicked out of the inner circles of the medical world.
Either way, if Dr. Weil is simply going to quote whatever the NCI says about an alternative treatment, then I would recommend that the public stop asking him his opinion of any alternative cancer treatment altogether! They can assume that he will be against it because he will just parrot whatever the NCI and FDA say about it.
Keep in mind that Dr. Weil also has expressed just as negative a view about Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski's Antineoplaston Therapy and Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez's Metabolic Therapy. (Information below.)
Dr. Burzynski in Houston, Texas, is a famous oncologist who has file drawers full of cases proving that he's been curing cancer at a better rate than conventional medicine for decades. (I devoted a full chapter to his approach in my book, Outsmart Your Cancer.) These are documented cancer recovery cases through the use of Antineoplaston Therapy alone. And, of course, if one knows anything about the history of Burzynski's famous court case with the FDA, they know that scores of patients picketed outside the court who had been completely cured of their cancer by Dr. Burzynski. Many patients wanted to testify in court on Burzynski's behalf, but were not allowed to by the FDA, because the FDA really didn't want to have the truth come out that Antineoplaston Therapy can be effective. The FDA also did not want to have a fair evaluation of Burzynski's documented file drawer success cases.
Following is Dr. Andrew Weil's negative blog posting about Burzynski's treatment for cancer, for your information:
Dr. Andrew Weil's Negative Posting about Antineoplaston Therapy
Q Antineoplastons: A Bogus Cancer Treatment?
What can you tell me about Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski and his antineoplaston treatment for cancer? Does it really work?
A Answer (Published 7/28/2006)
Stanislaw Burzynski, M.D., is a Polish-trained physician who immigrated to the United States. He was performing research at Baylor College of Medicine in the 1970s when he isolated natural compounds from urine which he called antineoplastons. He described them as a natural form of cancer protection and began producing synthetic versions in his laboratory. In 1977, Dr. Burzynski opened a clinic in Houston, Texas, and ever since has been treating cancer patients there with his antineoplaston therapy.
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Over the years, Dr. Burzynski claims to have treated more than 8,000 patients, but his success rates are unknown. His Web site states only that he has helped "many" people. If antineoplaston therapy works, we should have scientific studies showing what percentage of patients treated have survived and for how long, as well as evidence showing how Dr. Burzynski's method stacks up against conventional cancer treatment. The only study I know that documents how Dr. Burzynski's patients have fared was done in Canada in 1985. It found that of 36 patients treated, 32 died without showing signs of improvements. One patient died after slight improvement, another died after being stable for a year and, at the time of the study, the other two had widespread cancer.
The cost of antineoplaston therapy at Dr. Burzynski's clinic reportedly ranges from $30,000 to $60,000 per year. After initial treatment there, patients may be able to continue therapy at home with follow up clinic visits every two months.
While antineoplastons are said to be nontoxic, reported side effects can be unpleasant and include stomach gas, slight rashes, chills, fever, changes in blood pressure and unpleasant body odor during treatment.
Until we have credible scientific evidence showing what antineoplastons are, how they act in the body, and what realistic expectations of treatment with them might be, I see no reason for any cancer patient to take this route.
Andrew Weil, M.D.
Once again, Dr. Weil promotes his own products within this posting, as he did in his posting against Protocel's effectiveness.
He also refers to some obscure study done in Canada that showed no positive results, a study I've never come across and wonder if they even administered the Antineoplaston Therapy correctly. It may be true that this Canadian study is the only trial outside of the Burzynski clinic using Antineoplastons, but more than one highly respected doctor has reviewed documented cases and talked to people who have been cured with Antineoplastons from the Houston Clinic, a place where they are administered to patients correctly. For instance, as I explain in my book, Dr. Julian Whitaker has looked into Burzynski's approach in depth and endorses it, Dr. Robert E. Burdick, M.D. (an oncologist) studied many of Burzynski's patient records and claimed it to be far more effective than conventional treatments for brain cancer, and researchers in Japan carried out their own clinical trials using Antineoplaston Therapy with very promising results. The only reason that fair trials have not been done in the U.S. on this powerful therapy is because the FDA and NCI are against it and won't allow the trials!
It is also strange that Dr. Weil claims there is no scientific evidence supporting Dr. Burzynski's approach. I truly can't imagine what Dr. Weil means when he says, "Until we have credible scientific evidence showing what antineoplastons are, how they act in the body, and what realistic expectations of treatment with them might be, I see no reason for any cancer patient to take this route." Dr. Weil chooses to ignore the many, many medically documented recovery cases that have been brought about by Antineoplaston Therapy, and there is a great deal of evidence from Burzynski's own research that proves what antineoplastons are, how they work in the body, etc.
Plus, in a Dateline television show about Suzanne Somers' excellent book on alternative cancer treatments called Knockout, Dr. Burzynski, and Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez were featured in interviews and Dr. Weil played the role of skeptic on the show. Dr. Weil was not only disparaging about Dr. Burzynski's Antineoplaston treatment for cancer, but also put down Dr. Gonzalez's Metabolic Therapy approach as well. (Discussed in Chapter 7 of Outsmart Your Cancer, Dr. Gonzalez in New York has cured many cancer patients with his non-toxic approach, some of whom I have spoken with.) In one of Weil's disparaging remarks about Gonzalez's approach, he referred to coffee enemas as some sort of old hippie treatment. This truly shows Dr. Weil's lack of knowledge on the subject he is speaking about on television! Anyone who knows anything about the history of cancer treatments, knows that it was the brilliant Dr. Max Gerson who introduced the use of coffee enemas for cancer to the world. Dr. William Donald Kelley followed his example and also cured many people of cancer. Hippies never played a role whatsoever!
Yet, Dr. Weil wants to steer people away from Protocel, Burzynski's Antineoplaston Therapy, and Dr. Gonzalez's Metabolic Therapy -- three non-toxic approaches that have brought about long-term cures for many, many cancer patients for decades. And he chooses to answer blog questions with what looks like no more than a cursory search online, revealing that he has little real understanding of the approach he is writing about.
One has to wonder why Dr. Weil chooses to do these things.