The Extraordinary Rise and Fall of a Promising Cancer Treatment
December 14th, 2014 by Holly Cornish
In the middle of the twentieth century, Andrew Ivy, MD, PhD, was one of the most respected scientists in America. Vice President of the University of Illinois and a director of the American Cancer Society, he was a pillar of the medical establishment.
His career would no doubt have continued to blossom if he had not made a crucial error of judgment. He decided to investigate a promising new non-toxic cancer drug. That’s when his world fell apart.
Here is how it came about.
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A Yugoslav scientist living in Argentina, Dr Stefan Durovic, observed that horses with neck tumors caused by a fungus often died, but some would recover. He theorized that the survivors must produce a substance that helped them overcome the disease. He came up with a process for extracting this substance. It was tested in dogs with great success.
Promising early results
In 1949 an Argentine businessman called Loretani introduced Dr Durovic to two other businessmen — Ed Moore and Kenneth Brainard — who arranged for Durovic to meet Dr Ivy. He in turn tested the substance on a terminally ill cancer patient.
Within hours all pain had gone. In three days the tumor had shrunk in half, and within a few weeks it had vanished completely.
The doctors saw similar results in other cases, including the wife of the famous plastic surgeon Dr John Pick, who became a supporter of the treatment. The drug was given the name Krebiozen, and the Krebiozen Research Foundation was formed to promote research and oversee its distribution.
By February 1950 Moore and Brainard were demanding the distribution rights to the drug, but Dr Durovic and his brother Marko felt it wasn’t appropriate because of their lack of experience in this field. The two businessmen had been very helpful so they were offered a royalty or partnership, but they reportedly refused all alternatives.
A private meeting becomes very public
After testing on 22 patients and seeing beneficial results in 70%, a small private meeting was to be held at the Drake Hotel in Chicago on March 26, 1951. The idea was to find other scientists and clinics who would further the research effort. 80 cancer specialists and doctors, four respected medical journalists and some lay people were invited.
Unfortunately, a publicity agent sent out an unauthorized, sensationalist press release talking about patients who had been cured of cancer. Dr Ivy was horrified. The meeting was packed with journalists and their stories filled the newspapers in the days ahead.
This alienated much of the medical profession. Dr Ivy’s unseen enemies now had a chance to strike.
Enemies of Krebiozen start their attacks
Dr J.J. Moore was Treasurer and a big player at the time in the American Medical Association (AMA). He appointed a committee with himself in charge to investigate Krebiozen.
Dr Moore and another AMA official, Dr Wermer, visited Dr Durovic and his brother. Dr Moore at one point reportedly said to them, “Don’t you think you have an obligation to Moore and Brainard for the distribution rights to Krebiozen?”
Dr Durovic was surprised that Dr Moore knew the businessmen. Moore pressed the matter, saying, “You must give the distribution rights to Moore and Brainard.” (This was revealed in sworn testimony a year later).
In June, 1951, Loretani, the businessman from Argentina, met with the Durovics again. He also pushed for distribution rights to be given to Moore and Brainard.
On a second visit he made it clear that if they didn’t get what they demanded, their powerful friend Dr Moore would see that they, Dr Ivy and their discovery Krebiozen would be utterly destroyed. Loretani, the story goes, told Durovic that Ed Moore had a good friend on the medical faculty at the University of Illinois who would prepare an unfavorable report on Krebiozen.
As an alternative to distribution rights the inventors could hand over $2.5 million. Then all attacks would cease. (This was revealed in sworn testimony to a Legislative Committee). $2.5 million then is equivalent to something like $23 million today.
In a meeting between Wermer and Pick, the latter testified that he was told, “It’s too bad a man of your caliber has to go down with the ship, but that’s the way it has to be.”
Dr Ivy and Krebiozen are discredited step by step
In October, 1951, The AMA’s Status Report on Krebiozen was published in only six weeks instead of the usual two years or more for such an investigation. It covered 100 patients of whom 98 showed no evidence of improvement. The Chicago Tribune reported that, “Medically speaking, Krebiozen is dead.”
A few weeks later Dr Ivy – who, remember, was a Vice President of the University of Illinois — was put on trial by the Executive Committee of the Chicago Medical Society for violating medical ethics. He was suspended for three months. This caused Ivy to resign from practically all his medical posts to save the organizations from being put in an embarrassing position.
Shortly after, one of the government’s most esteemed scientific agencies, the National Research Council, wrote a letter published in the AMA Journal which said there was “no proof of palliative effect” attributable to Krebiozen.
The President of the University of Illinois set up a committee headed by Dr Cole, Chief of Surgery, to investigate Krebiozen.
In the meantime Dr Ivy had compiled a 700 page report on 500 patients, 490 of which were in the final stages of the disease, having exhausted the usual methods of treatment. It showed that symptoms were ameliorated in 70%, tumors were reduced by 50%, body weight increased by 66% and pain decreased rapidly. There was no evidence of toxicity. He sent his report to the committee in June, 1952.
The Cole Committee reported in September, 1952. Its findings were that “Krebiozen has no curative value in the treatment of cancer.”
A closer look reveals conspiracy
Businessman Commodore Barreira, who had been looking after Dr Durovic’s laboratory in Buenos Aires, was suspicious of the negative AMA report. He with his secretary secured an appointment with Dr J.J. Moore, the AMA operative.
Mr Barreira pretended to have had a falling out with Dr Durovic and to possess documents that were incriminating against him. Trusting Barreira’s story, Dr Moore – keen to get hold of these documents – explained his scheme for securing distribution rights to the drug.
He invited Mr Barreira to join the scheme and assured him the AMA would continue its attacks until Durovic was forced to sell out cheaply. Then, as rightful owners of Krebiozen, the plotters would share the millions the drug was worth. The exact division of proceeds would be worked out with Barriera, Moore, Brainard and Loretani.
Dr Moore also said Dr Ivy was stubborn in defense of Krebiozen. The conspirators had gotten him expelled from the Chicago Medical Society and were working to have him turned out of his office at the University of Illinois.
Mr Barreira now had proof of all their shenanigans.
Legislative hearings held
The controversy caused by Krebiozen brought on an investigation by the Illinois legislature. Hearings opened in April, 1953. Commodore Barreira presented his affidavits and testimony. The AMA never denied the action of their Treasurer nor did Dr Moore himself.
Dr Ivy demolished the AMA Status Report, employing words such as dishonest, falsification, misleading, unethical and fakery.
The Hearings ended nearly a year later. They reported that Dr Ivy’s research had been carried out according to high scientific standards. The legislators did not make a charge of conspiracy against Dr Moore et al because their remit only pertained to the goings on at the University.
Unfortunately, the Hearings appeared to change nothing. Dr Ivy asked the AMA to carry out double blind testing of the drug, but the association refused and continued to insist that Krebiozen was of no value. The group even voted Dr Moore back in as Treasurer. The National Cancer Institute likewise refused to test Krebiozen.
Earlier in July, 1952, Dr Ivy’s contract as Vice President of the University of Illinois was not renewed. And meanwhile medical journals refused to publish his research papers.
In 1956, he compiled five years of research into Krebiozen covering 687 patients. After it was rejected by all journals to which he submitted it, he was forced to send it to a small book publisher who accepted it for publication.
False reports issued
The public was very interested in Krebiozen and people naturally asked their doctors about using it. There were at least a dozen reports from hospitals and doctors saying they had tested Krebiozen and it proved to be worthless. However the Krebiozen Research Foundation knew where every ampoule was sent. None of these hospitals or doctors had actually used the drug.
A doctor at Sloan Kettering Memorial Hospital, New York, wrote in a letter that “we tried it on 100 patients”. This was untrue. Publicizing these false reports – outright lies – put an end to this practice. Some doctors even reported that their patients had died after using Krebiozen when they were very much alive.
If it sounds incredible that a “distinguished” cancer center would lie, please know that Sloan Kettering was caught red-handed lying about another cancer treatment, laetrile, and exposed by one of its own employees, Dr Ralph Moss, who was unwilling to participate in the fraud.
FDA granted new powers – the end Is near
New FDA regulations came into effect in June, 1963, which meant that Krebiozen couldn’t be shipped across state lines without FDA approval, which the agency had no intention of granting. As a result the substance could only be legally purchased in Illinois. This led to hundreds of patients and their relatives picketing the White House.
The FDA carried out its own tests and reported that Krebiozen was only creatine, a common substance in the human body, and announced plans to prosecute Drs Ivy and Durovic. In the trial that followed, FDA experts admitted they were mistaken. The two doctors were acquitted on all charges.
In 1973, opponents of Krebiozen finally carried the day and it was outlawed in Illinois.
So ended the extraordinary story of Krebiozen, a drug whose crime in the eyes of the medical establishment was to show tremendous promise in the treatment of cancer. And to be owned by someone besides themselves.
It’s reported that during its brief run of 20 years or so, Krebiozen was used by more than 3,000 doctors and many thousands of patients. Many of these patients were in the last stages of the disease yet returned to full health. This is the “dangerous situation” the authorities were determined to end. And they succeeded.
If you’ve done much reading about alternative cancer treatments, you’re aware there are a great number of therapies with stories similar to this. The medical establishment ferociously attacks cancer alternatives even more than treatments for other conditions, and they’ve largely succeeded in denying these treatments to American cancer patients and those in many other countries as well.
Lee Euler, Publisher