At Last, A Breakthrough Against Cancer:
The Gonzalez-Isaacs Program

By Parris M. Kidd, Ph.D.

With permission from totalhealth Magazine, Volume 22, No. 1. For subscription information, call 1-888-316-6051.

In recent columns I tackled many of the issues surrounding cancer causation and treatment. I discussed the usefulness of certain nutritional supplements against cancer including mushroom extracts and thymic extracts, vitamins and minerals. Now I can announce that all the really useful anticancer supplements have been put together in a comprehensive program to treat cancer. This program I call the Gonzalez-Isaacs Program, since it was developed and implemented by medical doctors Nicholas Gonzalez and Linda Isaacs. These dedicated practitioners have now received a $1.4 million U.S. government grant to compare their program against the mainstream cancer therapies under strictly controlled conditions and the political and medical implications of this development are nothing less than enormous.

It's been no secret in the anticancer field that after more than three decades of throwing money at conventional strategies for treatment, almost no progress has been made. It has also been no secret that so-called "alternative cancer therapies" were not being given a fair shake. The U.S. government's bias against alternative cancer therapies went so far that unconventional anticancer researchers were often harassed and practitioners sometimes were hounded all the way out of the country. Now, for the first time, an unconventional anticancer program is being given a fair and balanced chance to prove that it works. This amounts to a major positive turnaround by the Feds - at last they are doing their jobs of serving the public interest against the current cancer epidemic.

This groundbreaking controlled trial is for real: adequate funding is being provided, the protocols are not being modified to fail and the practitioners who developed the program are being allowed to manage their part of the trial. The patients in the trial will have to do their part. For the program to be fairly tested, they will need tremendous discipline day by day, to do lots of scheduled activities and take lots of capsules and tablets. But if they can hang in there, the rewards may be markedly better - higher quality of living AND an extension of one's life with cancer, hopefully by years if not decades.

Doctors Gonzalez and Isaacs well deserve this chance to vindicate their program. These two doctors are not like the others. They have been reserved about their work from the beginning, not rushing to claim they could cure cancer. They didn't produce wondrous mixtures of herbs and vitamins for mass consumption. They didn't just assume that the government would never listen to them. Instead, they worked cautiously and conservatively, kept good records and opened a line of communication with the authorities. After a while, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) invited them in to visit at Bethesda, Maryland and present their best case histories. An NCI official then suggested they do what's called a "pilot study" - a kind of preliminary, explorative study - then submit their findings for consideration. They secured funding and went ahead with the pilot study.

Beginning in January 1993, for this pilot study Gonzalez and Isaacs monitored eleven (11) pancreatic cancer patients treated in their program. They picked a very tough cancer: patients with inoperable pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Treated with the conventional chemotherapy, such patients have 20 percent one-year and 10 percent two-year survival rates. That is, of every 10 such patients only one will survive more than two years. This cancer was chosen because definitive results from the program could become evident after only a few years, since currently only one percent of the patients survive five years. As of November 1999, Gonzalez and Isaacs could report that nine of their 11 patients (81 percent) survived one year, five (45 percent) survived two years, four (36 percent) survived past three years and two (18 percent) survived past four years.

So what do they do in this program that's so different? A wide variety of things, all designed to help the body successfully fight the cancer without itself becoming weaker. According to their report on the pilot study findings that Gonzalez and Isaacs recently published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer (Volume 33, pages 117-24, June 1999), the program consisted of (a) large doses of pancreatic enzymes taken by mouth, (b) detoxification procedures, (c) a wide range of dietary supplements and (d) an organic diet. The program did not include any conventional therapies (chemotherapy, radiotherapy). Let's consider these components of the program in more detail, starting with the diet.

Individualized Diet for Autonomic System Harmonization

The Gonzalez-Isaacs program has no one magic diet. Different diets are worked out for the different patients, except that the foods must always be organically grown and free of toxins. Procedures are in place by which patients are evaluated according to their individual metabolic patterns (genetic, biochemical, physiological) and the type of cancer they have. Some patients function better with a plant-based diet, as from vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts, seeds and with minimal or no animal protein. Other patients do best on an animal-based diet with minimal to moderate amounts of plant-based sources. Gonzalez and Isaacs are convinced from their clinical experience, and from other lines of research, that cancer is linked to imbalances in the autonomic nervous system, the hard-working "automatic pilot" circuitry that runs our basic functions without our having to consciously participate. They found they could use customized diets to normalize each individual patient's balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic arms of the autonomic system. The vegetarian diet, for example, tends to reduce sympathetic activity and increase parasympathetic; the animal diet does the opposite. As the autonomic system comes into greater balance, the immune system and all the physiological systems tend towards more optimal function.

Pancreatic Proteolytic Enzyme Therapy

The use of pancreatic enzymes against cancer was pioneered by John Beard of the University of Edinburgh nearly 100 years ago. He proposed that the pancreatic proteolytic enzymes, in addition to their known digestive function, represented the body's main defense against cancer. Several case reports of success with this therapy were reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 1907-8. Beard believed the enzymes had to be injected rather than taken by mouth, but research since then has proven that when taken by mouth such enzymes resist stomach acid, pass intact into the small intestine, and are absorbed into the bloodstream. Just how they work is unclear, but animal experiments in the 1960s confirmed their anticancer effect.

Each patient may be prescribed up to 40 grams of freeze-dried porcine pancreas daily, taken in capsule form, away from meals and spread evenly throughout the day. The Gonzalez-Isaacs formulation is thoroughly vetted for freedom from contamination and for potency tests out at 30-80 USP units of proteolytic activity per milligram with 15-40 units of lipolytic activity per milligram.

Coffee Enemas, Maligned but Proven Beneficial

Perhaps the most difficult part of the program to get people to accept is the coffee enemas. Yet the coffee enema is a long-standing, proven medical protocol in the United States. Coffee enemas were a feature of the orthodox medical literature for the better part of the twentieth century. Nursing manuals routinely recommended the coffee enema, and the prestigious Merck Manual advocated its use in all the additions from 1897 through 1977, when it was dropped for lack of space. The contemporary literature featured articles in such first line journals as JAMA/Journal of the American Medical Association, New England Journal of Medicine, and Medical Clinics of North America. There is no "high" or other caffeine-type effect from the enema; rather, people tend to fall asleep while having it and wake up energized with an increased sense of well-being.

During the 1920s and '30s coffee enemas were prescribed for a variety of conditions and studies from the earlier part of the century indicate that they stimulate gallbladder emptying and more efficient liver function. Gonzalez and Isaacs believe this is the main means by which the coffee enema supports detoxification, as cancer is well known to increase the burden on the liver. As the body attacks tumors, enormous amounts of toxic debris can be produced, much of which must be processed by the liver. Gonzalez reports seeing the benefits of the coffee enema in thousands of his patients and has been doing it himself since 1981.

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Nutritional Supplements, Lots and Lots of Them

Likely the most challenging feature of the program for the patients is the huge mass of nutritional supplements they have to take by mouth on a daily basis. I've never heard of anything like it - each patient is expected to take a total 130-160 capsules per day, taken with and away from meals. The supplements are carefully picked one by one from a number of sources, with the emphasis being on purity and potency. In addition to the freeze-dried pancreas as source of proteolytic enzymes, the supplement regimen includes vitamins, minerals and trace elements, providing support over and above any strictly anticancer effect. This simple reality is all too often ignored by mainstream oncologists who scoff at their patients taking vitamins with "I guess they won't do you any harm."

The strategy of prescribing so many and varied nutritional supplements is to do everything to support the cancer patient's organ systems so weakened by the presence of cancer. Survival-level functions, energy for well-being and daily living, the immune system's ongoing attack activity against the cancerous tissue and the repair of the ensuing tissue damage, all must be supported nutritionally by diet and supplementation. Glandulars other than pancreas are also recommended, such as thymus and liver from beef or lamb, as additional nutrient concentrate sources. I suspect other subtle benefits also accrue from taking these glandulars.

This, then, is the Gonzalez-Isaacs program. It owes a substantial debt to William Donald Kelley, D.D.S., a practitioner active in the cancer underground from the '60s through the '80s. Dr. Kelley said that his inspiration for developing a nutrition-based anticancer program was his own pancreatic cancer. It was Kelley who blazed the trail for this later, more sophisticated program. Dr. Gonzalez came onto the Kelley trail in 1981, while a student at Cornell Medical College. He became more deeply involved in the project while on a postgraduate fellowship with the famed immunologist Robert Good, formerly director of the Sloan-Kettering Research Institute. By the mid-1980s he had reviewed 1,306 of Kelley's case histories which had not been previously reviewed. By 1987 he was using the basic Kelley program on his own patients.

This history exposes the sad consequences that can result from political suppression of any medical procedure. Had Dr. Kelley received the degree of tolerance that Drs. Gonzalez and Isaacs are now experiencing, even as he was coming to the end of his work in the mid-1980s, surely the chances would have been greater that he would have been allowed to publish these case histories. Consider the consequences for victims of pancreatic cancer alone. Pancreatic adenocarcinoma killed 27,800 people in 1996 (the last year of good records). With the roughly 15-year delay we have now experienced since Kelley stopped and Gonzalez and Isaacs made their report, we can now estimate that more than 400,000 people might have had better quality of life and longer life span after their diagnosis of inoperable pancreatic adenocarcinoma. This is a heavy burden for the government bureaucrats and prejudiced mainstream physicians to bear. Maybe that's why the system finally decided to give Gonzalez and Isaacs a chance to prove the worth of their program.

I had positive, hands-on experience with Drs. Gonzalez and Isaacs during the formative years of their program. During the early '90s I was supervising quality control for the company that provided the many specialized dietary supplements and ancillary products to the patients in the program. I gained a very good impression of the program, especially after doing my own review of the 25 best case histories that Gonzalez and Isaacs had provided to the government's cancer experts to review. I observed that they were highly professional about their practice and they imposed rigorous standards for my client to meet concerning the purity and potency of the supplements. The proteolytic enzymes especially had to be prepared to very high potency under strict organic conditions. Other commercially available proteolytic enzyme products are unlikely to match the Gonzalez-Isaacs enzymes and cancer patients should be clear that they cannot expect to self-medicate with such products off the street.

The trial to come will be conducted at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons. They are currently recruiting between 70 and 90 newly-diagnosed pancreatic adenocarcinoma patients (Stages II, III or IV) for the study, half of whom will be given the best conventional chemotherapy currently available and the other half placed on the Gonzalez-Isaacs program. The patients must be 18-65 years old and not have received chemo- or radiotherapy prior to entering this trial. A crucial feature of the trial is that the nutrition-only group will actually be seen and managed by Gonzalez and Isaacs, rather than by physicians who don't know as much about nutrition and may harbor biases against this type of cancer management.

While the trial proceeds Gonzalez and Isaacs will continue to offer their lifesaving program for patients with other kinds of cancers. I've recommended this program to friends of mine and there is no doubt in my mind that if I am diagnosed with cancer, this is where I will go. The program is not a cure for cancer; they're the first to state that after a patient decides he's cured and stops the program, the cancer is likely to come back. But patients who go into remission and stay on the program have a good chance to stay in remission for a long time - the case histories indicate for as many years as they can maintain the discipline that the program requires.

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