The Dr Laurence Cox Alternative Cancer Paradigm Project
CISS – September 2017 (launch)
Background: With an estimated one in three of all Australians affected by cancer during their life-time, and cancer the second leading cause of death worldwide, it appears that the current paradigm of cancer prevention and treatment is lacking. As effective prevention and treatment rely on an understanding of what causes a disease, the lack of success may be due to an inaccurate view of cancer causation. Therefore, CISS is undertaking research to address cancer at a causal level through the development of an evidence-based paradigm and treatment program.
The goal of this research project, the Dr Laurence Cox Alternative Cancer Paradigm Project (*), is to develop a more valid cancer paradigm based on the results of both conventional and alternative cancer treatments. This will be achieved according to the following plan of work:
Stage 1. Analyse the various theories of what causes cancer to identify those that have a real causative, rather than simply correlative, basis.
Stage 2. Identify treatment trials that have evaluated the survival benefits of the various treatments, emphasising randomised controlled trials (e.g. immunotherapy, psychotherapy).
Stage 3. Integrate the theoretical and practical (evidence based) stages to develop a new paradigm. This will involve:
- identifying hypotheses that share common features of those theories that have the strongest evidentiary support, and seeing if there are proven links between their common contributory/causative features;
- developing a paradigm/hypothesis that shares as many as possible of the theories underlying the most effective treatments;
- adding treatments supported by lower level evidence if they have a proven effect on interrupting the causation chain;
- drawing up a diagram describing the paradigm showing the links between the various causative and contributory factors and the treatments relevant to the various stages.
Stage 4. Suggest an overall practical cancer program based on incorporating the most effective treatments and how they would fit together into a cancer protocol.
The groundwork for this project was completed by CISS Research Director Don Benjamin by June 2017. Since July 2017 CISS Research Project Manager, Dr Anita Adhitya, has been running the project based on the above plan.
(*) Dr Laurence Cox was a retired TAFE teacher from Long Jetty on the Central NSW Coast who died in early 2016. He received his doctorate in human genetics and reproductive health when in his fifties. The Cancer Information & Support Society Inc. (CISS) was one of seven charities that shared a one-third part of his estate amounting to $32,445.72 that was received in June 2017.
At its December 2016 meeting the CISS Committee of Management had agreed to a suggestion that the bequest be used to support a cancer research project and that it be supplemented up to $50,000. It was later agreed that the project would be the development of an evidence-based cancer paradigm and that it be named the Dr Laurence Cox Alternative Cancer Paradigm Project. A research scientist was recruited in July 2017 to drive the project.
Progress Report Nr.1
March 2018 (6 months into the project)
Currently the project is still in its first stage, the aim of which is to analyse at a fundamental level the various theories of cancer to identify those that have a real causative, rather than simply correlative, basis. This includes identification of the mechanistic pathway for what causes cancer in each theory, and identification and analysis of the evidence for this.
The research findings so far show that there is a gap in the literature with respect to causation versus correlation. For the majority of the theories, the evidence supporting the theory is lacking at a level of causation; in many cases the proponents of the theory did not elucidate a robust scientific basis for cancer causation.
The project work to date has established the framework of analysis and investigated causation versus correlation for many theories. As there are several more theories for analysis the first stage will continue analysis of causation versus correlation for the remaining theories, both alternative and conventional.
As an indication of the scale of such work, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) funded twelve research centres across the USA to bring new insights to cancer from 2009 over 5 years at a cost of over $150 million. CISS’ project was budgeted to cost only $50,000 for an initial term of 12 months. With a view to extending the work we have submitted applications for external grants.
At this stage it looks like we are likely to achieve what the NCI project has not yet achieved. This is in large part due to CISS’ independence, its past ground-breaking research work and its unbiased and evidence-based approach to both conventional and alternative treatments.
In summary: We are in the first stage of a four-stage research project to develop a more valid cancer paradigm based on the results of both conventional and alternative cancer treatments. We have set up the framework for the analysis of theories of what causes cancer and completed analysis for most of the theories.
Our research indicates that many of the theories of cancer causation are without a robust scientific basis. Thus, our analysis is critical to developing a more valid cancer paradigm and treatment program that is supported by evidence.
In the next few months we will complete this work for the remaining theories of cancer causation and then start the other three stages leading to the development of the new cancer paradigm and protocols for treatment.
Progress Report Nr.2
September 2018 (12 months into the project)
We are continuing to work on Stage 1 of the research project. This stage is comprised of reviewing the literature and analysing the evidence for the various theories of cancer causation. Since our last update, March 2018, we have continued with these activities: we identified other relevant sources, incorporated further information into our earlier analyses, and examined some other theories. Stage 1 will continue over the coming months.
In the course of this work we have encountered data that is relevant for Stage 2 (analysis of data from trials evaluating treatments based on the different theories), and also for Stage 3 (developing a cancer paradigm based on the synthesis of theories with the best treatment results). This represents preliminary work for Stages 2-3 of the project, which we plan to focus on from 2019.
Whilst the research will take some time to complete, and its results will first be published in scientific peer-reviewed journals, CISS is committed to translating the work into practical benefits. So far we have shared some background information via the CISS newsletter for members.
CISS is open to presenting an overview of the cancer paradigm project to those who are interested in learning more about the work. We are also seeking funds to further support the research.