Here, Dr. Philip Binzel recounts the influence of G. Edward Griffins and the Committee for Freedom of Choice in California, his shift from the comfortable and safe practice of traditional Family Medicine to the unconventional Nutritional Cancer Therapy which consequently got him embroiled in the politics of cancer (Alive and Well, Chapter One: Case Dismissed)
Chapter Two: The Nutrition Connection
So, how did a Family Physician from a small town in Ohio ever get involved in a conflict with the FDA in the first place? If you read the Preface, you already know the answer. It was the fault of Mr. G. Edward Griffin.
In 1973 I was in the family practice of medicine in Washington Court House, Ohio. I had graduated from St. Louis University School of Medicine in 1953. I did one year of internship and one year of Family Practice residency at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati. In 1955 I began my private practice as a Family Physician in Washington Court House. I was very content with what I was doing until the day a friend of mine, Mr. Charles Pensyl, invited me and a number of others to his camera shop to see a new film that he had just gotten. The title of the film was World Without Cancer.
World Without Cancer ran about fifty minutes. It was about a substance called Laetrile and what this substance could do to help people who had cancer. I took a very dim view of this movie because I felt that it made many statements for which there was no supporting medical evidence. The film was produced and narrated by G. Edward Griffin.
This caused an immediate problem. As a long time member of the John Birch Society, I had read almost everything that Ed Griffin had written. I had read his book, The Fearful Master, A Second Look at the United Nations. I had read numerous articles written by him in the magazine American Opinion. He had produced some films, The Grand Design and More Deadly Than War. All of these, I knew, had been researched extremely well.
To compound the problem, I knew Ed personally. From 1968 through 1972, I served as the doctor for the John Birch Society Youth Camps in Michigan and Indiana. Betty was my assistant. In the first camp that we did, Ed Griffin was the closing speaker. He was to speak on Friday night. He came into camp on Thursday. The staff of the camp was housed in one building. It was the custom of the staff to get together after “lights out” for the campers to discuss the various “opportunities” that had presented themselves that day. (Please note that there was no such thing as a “problem.” These were “opportunities.”) Ed Griffin attended both the Friday night and Saturday night sessions. I got to know him very well and was impressed with his depth of knowledge on a wide range of subjects.
So, you can see my problem. I didn’t think the film World Without Cancer was medically accurate, but it was produced and narrated by a man for whom I had the highest respect. I had the feeling he knew something that I didn’t know. I felt he would not have produced the film if there was not a great deal more behind this than he was able to show in a fifty-minute film. For three months I vacillated, being sure one minute he was wrong and suspecting the next minute that he just might be right.
Finally, I decided that this mental turmoil had to be resolved. I had a good friend, Steve Michaelis, who was a pharmacist. I called Steve to see what he knew about this “Laetrile.” He was far ahead of me. He told me he had done an in-depth study of Laetrile some months earlier and was convinced that it had merit. He suggested that I contact a group known as The Committee for Freedom of Choice in California. I did. I told the young lady who answered the phone about my doubts about this whole thing, but, if there was information available, I would study it with an open mind.
Within a week, I received a package of material about six inches thick from The Committee for Freedom of Choice. It contained reprints of articles published by Dr. Ernst Krebs, Jr., Dr. Dean Burk of this country, Dr. Hans Nieper of Germany, Dr. Ernesto Contreras of Mexico, Dr. Manuel Navarro of the Philippines, Dr. Shigeaki Sakai of Japan and others. Most of these articles had been published in foreign medical journals and had been translated and reprinted. Some of these articles dated back to the early 1950’s. It took me eight months to go through and fully understand the significance of what these men had done.
From the time that cancer was first diagnosed (some three hundred to five hundred years ago) to the present, most members of the medical profession have treated this disease using the theory that the tumor is the disease. This theory said that, if you can remove the tumor or destroy the tumor, you will cure the disease. Drs. Krebs, Burk, Nieper, and others said in essence, “Wrong!” These men had seen thousands of cancer patients die. They realized that ninety-five per cent of these patients had their tumors treated with surgery, and/or radiation, and/or chemotherapy. It was obvious to them that, if removing the tumor or destroying the tumor cured the disease, ninety-five percent of these people would be alive and well. It was, therefore, equally obvious to them that removing the tumor or destroying the tumor did not cure the disease. This meant, of course, that the tumor was not the cause of the disease but was merely a symptom of the disease.
Let me compare this with appendicitis. The patient with appendicitis complains of pain. The pain is a symptom of this disease. I can give that patient enough morphine or Demerol to stop the pain. Do I then say to the patient, “Your pain is gone. You’re cured!” No! I know that the pain will come back, because I have done nothing to correct the condition within the body that is causing the pain. I have to remove the infected appendix in order to treat the cause. These researchers used this same line of reasoning — they said, if you just remove the tumor and don’t treat the condition within the body that allowed the tumor to develop in the first place, the tumor will come back. Of course, they are right! The tumor almost always comes back.
These men dug deeper. While each was working independently, they were all happy to share any of their findings with anyone who would listen. One would find something and send it to the others. One would add something to that and send it on. The result of all of this work was that these men found that the body does have a normal defense against cancer, and they were able to describe how that defense mechanism functioned.
They found that the cancer cell is coated with a protein lining, and that it was this protein lining (or covering) that prevented the body’s normal defenses from getting to the cancer cell. They found that, if you could dissolve the protein lining from around the cancer cell, the body’s normal defenses, the leukocytes (white blood ceils), would destroy the cancer cell. They found that the dissolving of the protein lining (or covering) from around the cancer cell was done very nicely within the body by two enzymes: trypsin and chymotrypsin. These enzymes are secreted by the pancreas. Thus, they said that the enzymes trypsin and chymotrypsin formed the body’s first line of defense against cancer.
What’s an enzyme? I just knew you were going to ask! An enzyme is a catalyst. What’s a catalyst? Back in your high school chemistry you were taught the definition of a catalyst. I’m sure that none of you have forgotten that definition. Just in case that definition has (only momentarily, of course) escaped your memory, it is as follows: A catalyst is a substance which causes a chemical reaction to take place without, itself, becoming a part of that chemical reaction. See, I knew you would remember! There are numerous enzymes within the body that are responsible for the hundreds of chemical reactions which must take place in order to keep the body functioning normally. You have now completed Physiology 101.
In addition to finding that trypsin and chymotrypsin formed the body’s first line of defense against cancer, Dr. Krebs et al. found that the body has a second line of defense against this disease. This second line of defense is formed by a group of substances known as nitrilosides. The cancer cell has an enzyme, beta-glucosidase, which, when it comes in contact with nitrilosides, converts those nitrilosides into two molecules of glucose, one molecule of benzaldehyde and one molecule of hydrogen cyanide. Originally, it was thought that only the hydrogen cyanide was toxic to the cancer cell. Recent evidence has shown that, while the hydrogen cyanide may exert some toxic effect, it is the benzaldehyde that is extremely toxic to the cancer cell.
What is so significant about this is that this is a target-specific reaction. Within the body, the cancer cell and only the cancer cell contains the enzyme beta-glucosidase. Thus, the benzaldehyde and the hydrogen cyanide can be formed in the presence of the cancer cell, and only the cancer cell. Thus, they are toxic to the cancer cell and only the cancer cell. The normal cell contains the enzyme, rhodanese, which converts the nitrilosides into food.
These researchers found that all of us probably have cancer many times in our lives. If our defense mechanisms are functioning normally, the body kills off the cancer cells, and we’re never even aware that it happened. If, however, there is a breakdown in that defense mechanism when the cancer cells appear, there is nothing to prevent the growth of those cancer cells and soon there is a tumor.
What causes a breakdown in that defense mechanism? Suppose you have an individual who is eating large quantities of animal protein. It takes large amounts of the enzymes trypsin and chymotrypsin to digest animal protein. It is possible that this individual is using up all, or almost all, of his trypsin and chymotrypsin for digestive purposes. There is nothing left over for the rest of the body. Thus, this individual has lost his first line of defense against cancer.
Suppose this individual has little or no nitrilosides in his diet. This is quite possible. Millet, which is very high in nitrilosides, used to be the staple grain. We went from millet to wheat, which contains no nitrilosides. Our cattle used to graze and eat large quantities of grasses, which are high in nitrilosides. Now we grain-feed our cattle. There are no nitrilosides in the grain.
So, you now have an individual who, because of his high intake of animal protein, has lost his first line of defense against cancer and who, because of his low intake of nitrilosides, has no second line of defense against cancer. Should cancer cells appear at this time, there is nothing to prevent their growth. The results? Tumor!
As Krebs et al. then pointed out, you can remove the tumor, but, if you do not correct the defects in that individual’s defense mechanisms, that tumor will come back. [Emphasis mine.]
This means that you must markedly reduce the intake of animal protein in these people and replace it with vegetable protein. Vegetable protein requires nothing in the way of the enzymes trypsin and chymotrypsin for digestion. Thus, you can free these enzymes from being used up for digestive purposes, put them back into the body and re-establish the body’s first line of defense against cancer.
It means that you must also restore the body’s second line of defense against cancer by establishing an adequate level of nitrilosides in these individuals. While there are some 1,500 foods that contain nitrilosides, the researchers found that the most rapid way to build up the nitriloside level was by the use of Laetrile. They did not proclaim Laetrile as a “miracle drug” or a “cancer cure” but merely described it as a concentrated form of nitrilosides, which was able to rapidly raise the nitriloside level and to re-establish the body’s second line of defense against cancer.
Perhaps the thing that impressed me most in this large volume of material that I was trying to assimilate, was that all of these researchers stressed the point that cancer was a multiple-variable disease. One of the problems with those of us in the medical profession is that we are used to looking at chronic metabolic diseases (diseases which start within the body, such as diabetes, scurvy, pernicious anemia, pellagra, and cancer) as single-variable diseases. For example, in diabetes, the single-variable deficiency is insulin. In scurvy, it’s Vitamin C, and in pernicious anemia, it’s B12. Cancer is a multiple-variable deficiency disease.
These researchers showed that there can be a number of deficiencies within the cancer patient. This, they said, did not mean that all cancer patients had all of these deficiencies, but that any given cancer patient could have six, or eight or ten of these deficiencies. They found, for example, that zinc was the transportation mechanism for the nitrilosides. They found that you could give Laetrile until it came out of the ears of the patient, but, if that patient did not have a sufficient level of zinc, none of the Laetrile would get into the tissues of the body. They also found that nothing heals within the body without sufficient Vitamin C. They found that manganese, magnesium, selenium, Vitamin B, Vitamin A, etc., all played an important part in maintaining the body’s defense mechanisms. The most important thing they stressed was that, unless you correct all of these deficiencies, you are not going to help that patient. Thus, they were talking about a total nutritional program. They were talking about a program that consisted of diet, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and Laetrile.