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THE CANCER INDUSTRY

kemias ''with some degree of success,'' according to the hospital staff


(ibid.:116). In 1952 a representative of the National Cancer Institute visited
Ferguson in Ecuador and reviewed the scientific data that had been gathered
there. He reported:

Ferguson did not claim to me that he had a cure for cancer in humans,
but did claim to have a cure for cancer in animals. He did say that he believed
that his drug caused regression of human cancer and showed me evidence of
this that was rather convincing. All of his treated patients still have cancer,
some have died, but the ones which I saw, providing the previous observations
were truthfully presented, had regressed considerably (ibid .).

The ACS report then adds that in the spring of 1953, the Merck Insti-
tute for Therapeutic Research, an offshot of the Merck Sharp & Dohme
pharmaceutical company, ''initiated studies with Ferguson anticancer mate-
rial. A report on these studies has not been published. ''
Again, there is nothing negative in this account, which comes from
the ACS article. Yet on the basis of the above facts the ACS added the
Ferguson compound to its list, claiming that there was no evidence it "re-
sults in objective benefit in the treatment of cancer in human beings.''
In some cases the ACS and its confreres have condemned a method
only to silently remove it from the list years later.
Coley's toxins is such an instance (see chapter 7). Another was the
case of Robert E. Lincoln, M.D. Lincoln's name was added to the ACS list
in 1964, when the controversy over his work was still alive.
Lincoln was a graduate of Boston University School of Medicine, who
had done postdoctoral work at Harvard, and then gone into general practice
in the small town of Medford, outside Boston. For many years he was an
unremarkable small-town doctor and a member in good standing .of the
American Medical Association and its state affiliate, the Massachusetts Medical
Society.
In the 1940s, in the midst of an influenza epidemic, Lincoln made
what he felt were some important discoveries concerning the bacterial origin
of various diseases---discoveries he later extended to cancer. He also be-
lieved that he had discovered a possible cure for some forms of these dis-
eases in bacteriophage-viruses that parasitically attack and destroy specific
bacteria.
Lincoln began to treat patients with injections of these viruses and
claimed to see some remarkable results, including remissions of cancer In
1946, therefore, he submitted these clinical results to the Journal of the
American Medical Association. His paper was rejected.

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UNORTHODOX THERAPIES

He then submitted the same paper to the New England Journal of


Medicine, published in Boston. This time it was rejected for "lack of space"
(Morris, I 977)
Undaunted, Lincoln wrote three letters in succession to an editor of
the New England Journal (NEJM) asking for his assistance in preparing the
article for publication. He received no reply to any of these letters. In March
194s Lincoln asked the director of a 1arge Boston hospital to visit him and
study the clinical results he had assembled and the methods by which he
had achieved them. The director wrote back that he "couldn't find the time."
The general practitioner next wrote to the Massachusetts Medical So-
ciety, asking for a chance to present his work to his colleagues at a meeting.
The Society stalled, but in the meantime began sending out a form letter to
inquirers stating that Lincoln's method was ineffective.
Lincoln was perturbed and wrote to the president of the AMA itself,
asking him to send someone to Medford to investigate the situation. This
medical leader, however, referred Lincoln back to the Massachusetts Medi-
cal Society.
This stalemate was dramatically broken when Lincoln happened to treat
the son of Charles Tobey, a United States senator. Tobey, claiming that
Lincoln had cured his son of cancer, excoriated the Massachusetts medical
establishment from the floor of the Senate.
Stung by this criticism, the Massachusetts Medical Society finally dis-
patched a team of surgeons and radiologists to Medford, where they inter-
viewed some patients on the back porch of Lincoln's house. They claimed
to be unable to see any signs of actual, objective benefit, but did concede
that there were some '' cases of marked symptomatic improvement,'., which
they attributed to "the tremendous force of faith and hopen (ACS, 1971b: 197).
When Lincoln read this , he complained publicly of the "high degree
of stupidity" shown by this report. The leaders of the Massachusetts Medi-
cal Society then demanded his resignation; when he refused to resign, he
was expelled on April 8 , I 952. One year later, Lincoln sued the Society for
$250,000 for libel, but he died in the following year and the case never
came to trial (Morris, I 977; ACS , I 97 I b). *
In 1975 the ACS quietly took Lincoln's name off the unproven meth-
?ds list, a tacit admission of an error on its part. However, it is virtually
impossible for cancer patients to receive his treatment.
But Lincoln is hardly alone in the treatment he received. Table 4 shows
that 55.6 percent of the methods on the ACS list were either not investigated

*Much of the information on Lincoln comes from sources favorable to his approach,
Particularly Morris . T he ACS account does no t contradict these , but is scanty.

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