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“Atavistic oncology” revisited: Dr. Frank Arguello responds

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EDITOR’s NOTE: There are three Addendums after this post, containing the complete text of e-mails.

EDITOR’s NOTE #2 (8/19/14 4:51 PM): There is one more Addendum, as Dr. Arguello has sent me another e-mail.

EDITOR’s NOTE #3 (8/20/14 7:18 PM): There is yet another Addendum, as Dr. Arguello is now complaining to my place of work.

EDITOR’s NOTE #4 (8/21/14 5:30 PM): And the beat goes on. See Dr. Arguello’s next e-mail.

The following post will be of a type that I like to refer to as “taking care of business.” That’s not to say that it won’t be, as my posts usually are, informative and entertaining, but it does say that I’m doing it instead of what I had originally had in mind because something came up. That something is a rather unhappy e-mail from the doctor about whom I wrote three weeks ago. It’s just an indication that, although it’s a great thing that this blog is becoming more and more prominent, it’s also a two-edged sword. People actually notice it when I (or other SBM bloggers) criticize them for dubious medicine. We see this in how Dr. Edward Tobinick has launched what I (and many others) consider to be a frivolous lawsuit against SBM founder Steve Novella over a post from 2013 clearly designed to silence criticism. It’s legal thuggery, pure and simple. That’s the bad end of the spectrum. I’ve been at the receiving end of similar retaliation that could have just as bad an impact on me personally as far as my career goes when antivaccine activists tried to get me fired from my job four years ago.

The more common (and far less agita-inducing) end of the spectrum consists of e-mails or letters of complaint. Sometimes they come from eminent radiologists who don’t like my criticism of their attacks on mammography studies. (Actually, truth be told, it is rarely eminent radiologists—or eminent physicians and scholars—who complain.) More commonly, it’s practitioners who object to how their treatments have been described. This time around, it’s a man named Dr. Frank Arguello, whose “atavistic chemotherapy” I criticized in one of my typical long posts that also explained why. Last week, I received this e-mail from Dr. Arguello:

Dear Dr. Gorski,

I was recently referred to the online comments you wrote against my efforts to help people with cancer: Comments

I am 100% sure this approach will change the practice of oncology in the world. It will be a historical work, and you and your comments online, even if removed, will live in infamy. We had been previously informed that you contacted the Saskatchewan College of Physicians and Surgeons in an effort to stop me. Failed!
I believe your actions online are a disservice to the community, particularly with your most recent comments about the science of atavistic oncology, not because you criticize questionable therapies around, but because you do not provide nor make any efforts to improve our current devastating results with conventional therapies.

I am starting to believe what is said about you, that you are a paid magnate from the pharmaceutical industry. You must be, because my clinical cases (not testimonials as you call them) are so compelling, that your actions can only be explained as coming from a person who does not understand clinical oncology and/or has an agenda to perpetuate our devastating oncological practices.

If you are not a paid magnate from the pharmaceutical industry, and you are genuinely interested in the science and treatment of cancer, are truly interested in helping people with cancer, and do not want to live forever in infamy, I challenge you to:

(1) Publish this letter next to your posting online and accept my public challenge posted on my website. I have a new patient from Hamilton, Ontario with disseminated melanoma. All medical records and CT-scan images are available from Prince Margaret Hospital in Toronto from as recently as last week. He had an inter-consultation with the Chair of the Melanoma Center at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Donald Lawrence, and we have his written opinion about that case.

You will not be responsible for expenses as stated in the original challenge on my website. But you will need to comply with all the public and medical scrutiny of the patient, treatment and results over time to be made known publically. I am meeting in Los Cabos with the patient this Saturday, August 16, 2014 to begin treatment. I could discuss this public challenge with him.

If you are in fact a paid agent from the pharmaceutical industry, or just a shameful character and enemy of science and medical progress, I propose the following:

(2) Put a link on the page of your comments, so that people can have a genuine scientific rebuttal to your comments. I would write and post this rebuttal online for this specific purpose.

I would like to clarify that my clinic was opened in Los Cabos in 2013, not 2002. You did not see publications from 2002, because I was working in medicine, but outside academia. Among other things, I was creating with my brothers a state-of-the-art, seven-floor high and now successful private Institute of Sciences and Genomic Medicine in Torreon, Mexico.
(http://www.institutodeciencia.com/gallery/gallery.htm)

Our institute has been visited by many important scientists, most recently by Dr. Kary Mullis, the Nobel Prize winner in chemistry in 1993 for his invention of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a process which is hailed as one of the monumental scientific techniques of the twentieth century. (http://www.institutodeciencia.com/aboutus.htm)

Thank you for your kind consideration of my proposal.
Respectfully,

Dr. Frank Arguello

P.S. I have recently compiled a number of articles from the early 1900s and late 1800s on survival times of patients with a variety of cancers. It appears that people live less now with our therapies (chemotherapy and radiation), when compared to untreated disease. Attached is a letter I just sent to an oncologist who contacted me several weeks ago to see if I could treat a patient with esophageal cancer. I rejected the case because it was terminal. In that recent letter, I question our practices, as I did with Dr. Lawrence, whom I mentioned above. I am planning to write an article regarding that, and if interested I could send you a draft prior to submission.

There was an attachment that led to a letter in PDF format from Dr. Arguello to Dr. Was Mansoor, a Consultant in Medical Oncology at the Christie Hospital in Manchester, England. I am not going to provide a direct link to the PDF because it mentions a patient’s name. I will, however, quote the letter dated August 11, expunging any patient-identifiable information:

Dear Dr. Mansoor,

I was contacted by XRX on July N, 2014, to let me know that her brother RXR had died. She mentioned that he died peacefully, but she still felt it was a bitter end to a valiant 18-month fight against the pain and his esophageal cancer. Unquestionably, it was an admirable effort from him as a cancer patient, and you as his oncologist.

In recent years, I have become concerned that patients “fights” against cancer are unfair, and destined to fail, because they are fighting with the wrong weapons. It is a fight where the outcome is already known before the “fight” starts, whether the patient maintains a positive attitude or not. The actual number of deaths due to a given cancer type can be predicted, even years in advance, regardless of our efforts. This trend will continue year after year if we do not change our way of thinking and our oncological practices. Obviously, all cancers are curable, and they have been curable for centuries, if removed completely with surgery before cancer cells have escaped to distant organs. The problem is for those patients in which cancer has escaped curability with surgery. Are we really treating and benefiting those patients with our current treatment approaches?

I have been studying the survival time of people with cancer who were never treated with our modern approaches of chemotherapy and radiation, not even surgery. Since it is extremely rare to find, today, cancer patients not exposed to some form of treatment, I collected papers from the 1800s and the first decades of the 1900s discussing survival time of untreated cancer patients. In the case of esophageal cancer, I found an article which reports the median survival time of 74 untreated patients with esophageal cancer seen at Middlesex Hospital, London, England, between 1883 and 1922. It reports an overall median survival time of 14.7 months (19.4 months for females and 12.1 months for males – with a range of months to several years) (Reference-1924). These are patients who did not receive any form of surgical treatment (medical treatments obviously did not exist at that time other than opium).

In a recent, 2014, study in the Netherlands involving 127 patients with inoperable or irresectable esophageal cancers, patients were divided into two groups – one group received chemotherapy and radiation and the other group radiation alone. The median survival time was 14 and 9 months, respectively (Reference-2014). There could be better survival times reported in the medical literature, but I selected this study because it is a large population of patients with inoperable esophageal cancers, and it emphases to toxicity inflicted in these patients with these forms of therapy.

Obviously, a treatment is of benefit only if it increases for a reasonable period of time the anticipated survival time without that treatment. In theory, we should be doing far better today in 2014 than 100 years ago, because aside from chemotherapy and radiation, we have potent antibiotics, blood transfusions, parenteral feeding, gastrostomies, stents, intensive care units, etc., which did not exist in the late 1800s and early 1900s. But this does not appear to be the case.

I am writing to you because I recently sent an e-mail to Dr. Donald Lawrence at the Massachusetts General Hospital (e-mail attached) with similar shocking findings with respect to our modern treatment for cutaneous and uveal melanomas (attached). I would like to extend the same invitation to you to reconsider what you are doing, what you could do, and invite you to help me to change our current oncological practices by taking my “Public Challenge” posted on my website. Although offered for breast cancer, we will take the challenge treating advanced esophageal cancer.

Respectfully,

Frank Arguello, MD
Atavistic Oncology Clinic
www.AtavisticChemotherapy.com
Former Assistant Professor of Oncology,
and Pediatrics, Hematology and Oncology,
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Rochester, New York USA.
Former Senior Scientist, Division of Cancer Treatment & Diagnosis, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health.
Frederick, Maryland USA.

Dr. Gorski responds

I don’t know about you, but I find it quite odd that Dr. Arguello refers to himself on his official letters not by simply listing himself as the founder and director of the Atavistic Oncology Clinic, his current position, but by listing his previous positions, the most recent of which (his position at the NCI) he left 14 years ago. This is a signature, not a CV! Of course, the reason Dr. Arguello does this is obvious. It’s to assert to the world that he was once a real scientist and real oncologist, rather than an atavistic oncologist. How many people will mentally ignore the word “former” or even remember it? My immediate reaction upon seeing this was great amusement, and I’m sure that anyone who’s held an academic medical position will be similarly amused upon reading this.

Be that as it may, let’s take a look at the substance, such as it is, of the complaint. First, of all, I never contacted the Saskatchewan College of Physicians and Surgeons in an effort to stop Dr. Arguello. Perhaps someone else did, someone who was concerned about the spread of cancer quackery in Saskatchewan, but I assure Dr. Arguello that I did not. He can believe me or not. I don’t care, because, if someone really did try to stop him in Saskatchewan, I completely approve.

Next up, Dr. Arguello accuses me of not making any effort to improve existing therapies for cancer. This is, of course, utterly ridiculous, given that I have spent the last 15 years on the faculty of two different NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers, where I’ve been funded at different times by private foundations, the NIH, and the Department of Defense to study ways to improve the treatment of breast cancer. Before that, I did laboratory research in what was then the cutting edge field of tumor angiogenesis. In addition, these days I also serve as one of the directors of a state-wide quality improvement initiative for breast cancer treatment. So it’s demonstrably wrong—and easily so!—to claim that I don’t do anything to improve cancer care with my career.

Of course, quality improvement through clinical trials and the mundane but necessary (and grueling) task of encouraging adherence to evidence-based guidelines is not what Dr. Arguello apparently considers to be “improving” cancer care. I’m just not going about it in the way that he approves of. He thinks I should be supporting him. What he doesn’t realize is that I would support him if he could provide evidence that his treatment works significantly better than the current standard of care. That’s the problem. He hasn’t provided such evidence and still doesn’t. Even worse, as I discussed last time, it’s not even clear what exactly he is giving his patients. He doesn’t tell them. He doesn’t provide detailed protocols. He’s so afraid that someone will steal his allegedly revolutionary idea that he doesn’t even tell his patients what they’re getting, except vaguely, unless there is a problem.

So instead Dr. Arguello resorts to the oldest form of ad hominem argument leveled against skeptics: The “pharma shill” gambit. I must admit, I chuckled when he referred to me as a “paid magnate from the pharmaceutical industry.” Normally, I wouldn’t make fun of a comment like that coming from someone who is not a native English speaker, but Dr. Arguello lived and worked in the US from 1987 to 2000 and writes reasonably well, if his letters are any indication. Thirteen years in the US ought to have been enough for him to learn the meaning of the word “magnate,” namely someone who has great power and wealth in a particular business or industry. Even if I were a “pharma shill,” I would most definitely not be a pharma magnate (I don’t even run my own company!), and if I really were a pharma magnate does Dr. Arguello honestly think that I’d bother with the likes of him? (Besides, personally, I prefer the term “shill” or “minion.”)

Ignoring the ad hominem, let’s move on to the two “challenges” Dr. Arguello makes. The first part of his challenge is easy. He wants me to publish his letter? I publish his letter! Part one done! I’ll even make sure there’s a link to this in the previous post, and in my response to Dr. Arguello I pointed out that no one is stopping him from diving into the comment section to make his case that I’m a nefarious pharma shill/minion/magnate out to destroy his great new discovery because it will bankrupt the pharmaceutical industry of which I am a magnate. I repeat that offer here. I promise, as editor, that his posts will be approved; that is, unless they become quite abusive. I will also e-mail him a link to this response.

The second part of his challenge is not so easy for a number of reasons, not the least of which are ethical. First, patient challenges like this are not how science is done. To me, they’re unethical, even if the patient gives permission. There’s also the rather major issue of patient confidentiality. I know HIPAA, the patient confidentiality laws in the US, but I don’t know what the equivalent to such laws is in Canada and Mexico. Regardless of what they are, following a patient like this that I’m not taking care of and who is not herself placing her scans and medical records in a publicly accessible repository (as Stanislaw Burzynski patients that I blog about do) makes me very uncomfortable—skeevy, even. So, no. I can’t do that.

I realize that Dr. Arguello thinks he’s making it easier for me by altering his original challenge that is on his website by not requiring me or my cancer center to pay for all patient expenses, but it’s a smokescreen. In this case, it’s one of his patients from Canada. In his original challenge, he expects the doctor (and institution) accepting the challenge to do all the work and bear all the expenses. This would be human subjects research, even if it’s only a single patient, because the treatment is very much nonstandard, even if a lot of what Dr. Arguello proposes is to use existing drugs off-label. Come to think of it, if I were a pharma magnate who happened to own a company that made some of the drugs or vaccines that Dr. Arguello uses for his “atavistic chemotherapy,” I might want to fund him, because if he really did have a treatment so much more effective than standard of care using my drugs off label, well, the profit potential would be fantastic! In any case, no institutional review board (IRB) worth its salt would approve a single patient experimental protocol using a drug protocol in which the drug identities, exact dosing and schedule, and duration of therapy aren’t spelled out in exquisite detail, and I know my IRB wouldn’t approve such a single patient study. Nor should it!

Of course, single case “challenges” are not in general particularly informative, especially for cancers like melanoma, which, as Dr. Arguello should know, can have variable courses, even when diagnosed as stage IV. Indeed, as Dr. Arguello should know, it is unclear whether the dominant driving force in melanoma long-term survivors is the host immune response against the tumor, inherent indolent disease biology, or response to therapy. So, even if Dr. Arguello’s patient were to be fortunate enough to turn out to be one of these long term survivors, it would not constitute compelling evidence that his treatment works. Those of us who’ve taken care of melanoma patients (as I have, albeit in relatively small numbers) or had a partner who takes care of a lot of melanoma patients (as I have) have seen outliers, patients with stage IV melanoma who have survived far longer than expected. The same is true of breast cancer (which, not coincidentally, was the main cancer in Dr. Arguello’s challenge before he made this one to me). That’s why we do clinical trials. A successful clinical trial would impress me far more than a single patient with a type of tumor that can produce long term survivor “outliers,” even in stage IV patients, as breast cancer and melanoma can. Dr. Arguello even seems to acknowledge that, as he turned down a case of esophageal cancer because it was “terminal.” Well, so is stage IV melanoma. Why does he accept stage IV melanoma and breast cancer cases and not esophageal cancer?

Now, I’ll take my lumps for getting one thing wrong. Dr. Arguello didn’t found his current clinic until 2013, and I will correct that in my original post. He does, however, have his El Instituto de Ciencia y Medicina Genómica (Institute of Sciences and Genomic Medicine) and his practice, founded in 2002. A perusal of the website using my rudimentary knowledge of Spanish plus Google Translate reveals that this is a “Mexico-British biotechnology company dedicated to scientific research in the field of gene and cell therapy. We also provide a diverse range of molecular and clinical laboratory analysis to other laboratories and hospitals around the country, as well as doctors and public in general.” Interestingly, I note that this company has contact with Kary Mullis, the Nobel Laureate who is best known for having in essence invented the modern day version of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). One wonders what he thinks of atavistic chemotherapy. Or maybe one doesn’t. Mullis, as anyone who’s taken time to look into his history knows, has serious crank tendencies, not the least of which is HIV/AIDS denialism, a belief in astrology, anthropogenic climate change denialism, astral planes, and a belief in alien abduction. If I were Dr. Arguello, I don’t know that I’d be so anxious to advertise a connection with Kary Mullis, at least not if what I wanted was scientific respectability. In any case, what Dr. Arguello’s company appears to offer are molecular analyses for various purposes, including paternity, infectious diseases, genetic diseases, as well as cryopreservation of umbilical cord stem cells and of semen.

Of course, if I am a pharma magnate, Dr. Arguello wants me to “Put a link on the page of your comments, so that people can have a genuine scientific rebuttal to your comments. I would write and post this rebuttal online for this specific purpose.” As I’ve pointed out, though, there’s nothing stopping him from posting a comment after the original article, and there will be nothing stopping him from posting a comment and refuting me to his heart’s content after this post.

His final point rests on a publication from 1924 in which, or so he alleges, that the survival for esophageal cancer was actually better 100 years ago than it is now. To this end, he cites a paper from 1924 and compares it with a paper from 2014. Arguello notes that the median survival reported in 1924 was 19.4 months for females and 12.4 months for males. He then compares this to a series from 2014 examining patients with inoperable esophageal cancer, for whom median survival was 14 months with chemoradiation and 9 months for radiation alone. Does anyone see the problem with this comparison? I did, immediately.

First of all, the way esophageal cancer was diagnosed 100 years ago was very different than the way it is diagnosed now. During the time period when these cases were accumulated, endoscopy wasn’t routinely used. There weren’t even barium swallows. These days, flexible endoscopes with biopsy attachments are used to diagnose lesions of the esophagus. It’s also not a valid comparison to try to compare esophageal cancer in 2014 with 1924 and earlier, particularly cancer from 2014 that is inoperable. After all, what constituted “inoperable” 100 years ago was very different than what constitutes “inoperable” today. It’s a huge difference. Modern surgical technique allows us to remove tumors that no surgeon could have removed 100 years ago without killing the patient. Also, likely mixed in with the 1924 case series are benign tumors such as leiomyomas and tumors of less aggressiveness, given that there is no mention that there was verification by pathology in the paper. Finally, today cancer survival is calculated from time of diagnosis, not time of onset of symptoms. That means from the time that a biopsy is taken and cancer is demonstrated. I notice in the paper that “the natural duration of the disease in each case has been taken as that period which elapsed between the date of reputed onset as determined from the patient’s history and the date of death.” That alone could easily add several months—or even a year or more—to the survival times observed compared to now.

Round two and conclusion

After I responded to Dr. Arguello, he wrote back with a lengthy response. Given that it’s pretty much just repeating the same things again, I won’t be doing a blow-by-blow, but for completeness’ sake I have included it as an addendum to this post. What I will address are a couple of issues in the e-mail.

First, I note the same excuses we’ve heard from time immemorial that dubious practitioners trot out whenever they are challenged over why they don’t do clinical trials. After all, even Stanislaw Burzynski has done clinical trials! Dr. Arguello has done none, but he sure has a lot of excuses! Excuses aside, it is completely unethical to be administering this “atavistic chemotherapy” to patients under anything other than the auspices of a properly designed clinical trial with IRB approval (or approval from the equivalent ethics board in another country, if the trial is done elsewhere). It is even more unethical to charge patients for such a treatment outside of a clinical trial; there’s no excuse for that. (NOTE ADDED: See Addendum #2, where Dr. Arguello responds to this criticism.) I do find it interesting, however, that the Cancer Treatment Centers of American might consider such trials. All I can say is: When it comes to getting IRB approval, good luck with that. You’ll need it. Well, that, and, given the history of CTCA, I can’t think of a more “appropriate” partner for such an endeavor.

Finally, there’s his accusation that I did not read his book (which I didn’t, it’s true) and that I didn’t review the recent literature on cancer atavism. I didn’t need to read his book because (1) if what’s in his book is anything like what’s on his website then I know more than enough to know how incorrect it is and (2) I know it’s wrong because I did review the recent literature on atavism for my last post, including the article by Davies and Lineweaver in Physical Biology entitled “Cancer tumors as Metazoa 1.0: tapping genes of ancient ancestors.” Indeed, I specifically cited that paper and discussed it in my post, along with several others. That Dr. Arguello didn’t notice (or ignored) that fact does not speak well of his observational powers. If Dr. Arguello wants to send me a copy of his book (preferably as an e-book readable on my iPad), I might just read it and review it. Otherwise, I’m not paying for it. In fact, I learned there’s a new article fresh off the press making the same arguments by Lineweaver and colleagues. I might very well have to analyze that one too.

The bottom line is simple. The atavastic hypothesis of cancer, either as described by Lineweaver and Davies or by Dr. Arguello, is not a compelling hypothesis. It’s based on a misunderstanding of evolution and, as I discussed in detail last time, makes no good testable predictions about cancer and cancer treatment that are distinct from approaches that we are already taking in cancer research. Meanwhile, anecdotes demonstrate little or nothing, but it would appear that that’s all we’re going to get from Dr. Arguello. Note in that passage above that, Instead of publishing his results in a peer-reviewed journal, Dr. Arguello is basically declaring himself above it all (“I am not their peer”) and telling us that he will just publish another book. Guess what? I don’t care. It won’t impress me. If Dr. Arguello wants to prove he’s really on to something, the path forward is simple, but not easy: Do the work. Do the science, and do the clinical trials. Until then, don’t charge patients for an unproven treatment based on a dubious hypothesis.

And, as I have repeated before, Dr. Arguello is more than welcome to dive into the comments and demonstrate how mistaken I am—if he can.

ADDENDUM:

The following is the full text of the second e-mail that Dr. Arguello sent:

Dear Dr. Gorski:

I will numerate my comments, because each is a subject in itself:

(1) The Paid Magnate Agent. I was not aware of your existence until I was contacted by the Saskatchewan College of Physicians and Surgeons (SCPS). That is when I learned about online accusations made against you that you were a paid magnate from the pharmaceutical industry. Whether you are or not, it is totally irrelevant to me. You do not represent any organization dedicated to enforcing those types of rules, much less in another country. I personally condemn all forms of alternative treatments for cancer, in Tijuana or Germany, and I am starting to question all forms of conventional therapies (other than surgery) as well, but to be involved at a personal level and taking actions against the work of others by contacting agencies goes too far, and into malicious behavior, in my opinion.

(2) Questionable Fairness. Also, it is quite disturbing that you ignored the compelling evidences in my partial gallery of clinical cases on the website, which depict local recurrences of breast cancers after surgery and “prophylactic” chemotherapy and radiation; or progressions of cancers in conventional chemotherapy; or multiple metastases in the lungs, brain, liver, etc. disappearing following atavistic chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Most of them are cancer patients that were previously abandoned by their oncologists and hospitals in Canada, USA or Mexico. So, it would appear that you do not know or understand the evolution of patients in similar circumstances (the names of the hospitals involved, relevant pathological studies, etc., are described in each case). This is in fact a noble and unprecedented work in the history of cancer.

Could you show me any sequences of photos or radiological images of similar cancers (solid tumors) disappearing over time with any other therapy, after failing conventional chemotherapy and radiation? You could not even show me similar responses achieved in chemotherapy-naïve patients with any form of conventional chemotherapy. Radiation can do that but as a localized effect on individual tumors, not in a systemic fashion.

Our conventional therapies (except surgery) do not work for the vast majority of cancer patients. All common cancers are lethal today in 2014, just as it has been for centuries, if they escape curability with surgery. In this country alone, 1,605 men, women and children die every single day from cancer. Cancer is also the leading disease-related cause of death in children and adolescents between the ages of 1 and 19 in the USA. The mortality in cancer is increasing at an alarming rate, and I have started to believe that part of that is due to our conventional chemotherapies and radiation which trigger a non-return path to death in cancer patients because it generates resistant and aggressive cancers.

(3) Questionable Fairness #2. You say that “Because we at SBM always strive for accuracy, I will correct the date your clinic opened when I get a chance.” There are many inaccuracies in your comments. Hence my interest in a formal rebuttal, NOT a comment as you suggest, but a side by side discussion so that others may make their own judgments.

As is, it is a one-sided biased view of an important new approach in cancer. You did not provide any references to back up your statements as I do in my website. Your comments are totally your personal biased view of things, which is a completely unfair and improper way to discuss a scientific matter of the magnitude we are talking of here.

You did not even read my book, nor review recent literature on this topic after the publication of my book (see below). The science is there for you to review:

Article #1 Cancer: a de-repression of a default survival program common to all cells?: a life-history perspective on the nature of cancer (2012)

Article #2 Cancer tumors as Metazoa 1.0: tapping genes of ancient Ancestors (2011)

(4) Why I Do Not Publish Your Clinical Trials. I would love to and I will publish these findings, of course. However, you need to take into consideration the following. I started to evaluate this therapy around September 2011 in Mexico basically as a “Proof-of-Concept Study,” which was approved by the Ethical Board of the School of Medicine and State University Hospital of Torreon, Mexico. The treatment has been evolving and improving with time, to the point that I felt confident of its effectiveness and superiority to any conventional approach by 2013. Still, the numbers of patients is small and the therapy is still changing.

In 2013 I contacted the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), the NCI and the Georgia School of Medicine in Augusta (places where I had connections) to consider formal clinical trials. What do you think the response was? I must say, however, that a Dr. Niu from the CTCA in Arizona agreed to run a clinical trial for breast cancer patients. They have more than 10 trials going on, so it will take time.

Also note that I have patent applications filed for “new use” of existing medicines and “new formulations” of existing medicines to protect the credit of my work. Again, I would love to share all the information now, if a large institution agrees to do the work, compensate me for my patents, and put me in a leading position to continue with this work. I hate to keep traveling to Los Cabos.

But what type of review should I anticipate from peer-review journals when I am not their peer? I will publish under my terms. I am working on a large publication in the form of a book. This way, others can practice this new oncology and generate proof in their own practice. Count on it.

(5) “…what you propose strikes me as dubious, at best, from an ethical standpoint, even if the patient gives permission. More importantly, single case “challenges” are not in general particularly informative, especially for cancers like melanoma, which, as you know, can have variable courses, even when diagnosed as stage IV.”

I know two stage IV melanoma patients who have had their disease for years. I am well aware of them (10% of melanomas behave in that way). I do not believe it is the immune system, but the nature of those cancers. Otherwise people could experience fever or signs of inflammation in or around the tumors. Despite our insistence, the immune system cannot recognize cancer cells as foreign or antigenic organisms, unless a reason exists for that. Cancer cells, despite being destructive and independent beings, are not foreign to the body. Immune attacks against cancer cells may be mounted against cancer cells, not for being cancer cells as such, but rather because they may express antigens which can be recognized as foreign to the body. These are malignancies in which a virus is known or believed to be involved–some forms of leukemias, Burkitt and Hodgkin lymphomas, or when the cancer cells are antigenic to the host for the nature of the tissue involved. For example, the testicular seminoma and the gestational choriocarcinoma are highly antigenic tissues to the host. Seminal cells appear after birth and therefore aren’t recognized as one’s own during intrauterine development. In gestational choriocarcinoma, the cells are in part foreign (father’s antigens).

Curiously, the only malignancies curable today with conventional chemotherapy and radiation are those mentioned above (no more, no less). HOWEVER, non-testicular (ectopic) seminomas and non-gestational (ectopic) choriocarcinomas, as those arising from in the brain, lung, ovary/teratocarcinomas, etc., are not curable with those therapies (does this ring a bell?).

The old oncology sees groups of patients in clinical trials. This is a failure on their part. It also tries to fit cancer into our concepts of pathology and treatment. Cancer is unique and it does not fit in our criteria of pathology. Cancer is a cellular process and a biological being. Its nature fits perfectly in the criteria postulated by Robert Koch (Koch’s postulates) – it is an agent that is isolable, can be expanded in the lab, and when re-inoculated in a healthy individual the disease is generated. See also contagious cancers.

The new science of Atavistic Oncology recognizes and, it is my experience too, that EACH CANCER IS UNIQUE with respect to its ability to overcome treatments/cytotoxic drugs (note emphasis). In the same way that nature provides diversity among individuals to protect them from foreign cells (bacteria, protozoa and fungi), prevent them from perpetuating genetic defects, etc., that diversity is also reflected in the malignant form of those cells. This new atavistic oncology will eliminate not only our conventional cytotoxic drugs and radiation which are not anticancer agents, but cell poisons, but it will also eliminate the old-fashioned approach of prospective clinical trials and the current treatments of radiation and anticancer drugs. What drugs and combinations have proven helpful in individual cases and in what type of malignancies? Those will serve as a guide to determine prospective treatments on an individual basis. Treatment will be similar to severe bacterial, fungal and protozoa infections, and will consist of trial and error until THAT particular patient starts to respond.

The patient I mentioned to you yesterday is a 52-year-old from Hamilton, ON. He has had a very rapid progression in less than a year, from local recurrence on October 2013 soon after removal of the primary, to multiple surgeries which have disfigured his face (just as with Alice mentioned below), to now having multiple metastases in the lungs, liver and spleen (based on CT-scans). I am afraid they are also in the brain and bone if evaluated with an MRI and a bone scan/bone biopsy, respectively. In the last three months, from the CT-scan in March 2014 to the CT-scan of August 2014, the number and size of metastases doubled. Now there are two, possibly three large metastases in the liver, 20 or so in the lungs and two in the spleen. This is under Dacarbazine.

What ethical matters are you concerned about? The patient is going to die if he continues on conventional treatments. The ethical thing to do here is to abandon our current practices that are ineffective. One person with melanoma dies in the USA every 57 minutes under conventional chemotherapy/immunotherapy.

Please note that I have two other melanoma patients with rapidly progressive melanomas: Barbara without any therapy offered in BC, Canada because of large brain metastases and given three months of life–That was seven months ago and going (the case you conveniently ignored in the gallery. But those images are never seen with our conventional therapies), and Alice who exhausted all treatments offered in Toronto (Dacarbazine, Ipilimumab which destroyed her pituitary gland, IL-2 therapy). That was more than a year ago (also in the gallery).

Which ethical and privacy issues are you concerned about if we have written consent to cover all aspects related to treatment using off-label practices of FDA approved drugs?

Whether you accept the challenge or not, the patient needs to try to save or prolong his life. Treating them in the correct way (atavistic chemotherapy and immunotherapy) is the ethical thing to do here.

I have tried to cover all your concerns now because my trip to Los Cabos is tomorrow. I hope you are a serious person interested in reconsidering our devastating and totally useless oncological practices in benefit of our fellow humans. Please post either of my two e-mails to you on your site, so that you do not deprive people from the opportunity to be treated correctly. Accept my challenge and then, and only then, you can give whatever advice you want to people. Again, your preemptive attacks are totally improper and unjustified. Just because we can write things on the internet, does not mean we are free to speak our minds. Not on this important, potentially life-saving matter.

Respectfully,

Frank

ADDENDUM #2:

This is an e-mail sent by Dr. Arguello last night after learning my response would go live:

Dear David,

If you response is in regards to my two previous e-mails, you would need to post my two previous e-mails and allow me to respond to your final “response,” in order to be fair.

At this point we are even. You come from nowhere and list a number of personal views on cancer and on my work, I responded. You responded
l with another e-mail questioning many things, and calling it to be a dubious challenge. I responded to that e-mail. If you want to respond to that last e=mail I must have the opportunity to respond. Otherwise, there are three versions from you, and two mine.

I must add that perhaps you do not know that I never charged patients for this treatment until 2013 and I still do not charge a penny to people in less favored countries such as my patients in Mexico, Greece and Slovenia (name and contact info available). My charge to people in the USA and Canada is very reasonable and affordable –$1,500 USD /month -all included x 6 months to those with limited resources or 12 months to those who do not request facilities. If treatment takes longer than 12 months, the continuation of treatment is without cost.

Thank you!

Frank

PS. With regards to those hopeless cases of melanoma I have treated and reversed that. Please feel free to contact them:

NOTE: I will not publish patient names and have thus removed this part.

ADDENDUM #3:

And this is the e-mail sent to me earlier this morning, apparently after Dr. Arguello saw this post:

David,

I now know who you are. Your are not a magnate agent from the pharmaceutical industry. They could not hire such an incompetent person. They would hire a person with weight, with a scientific record to count. I believe you are simply a frustrated physician who has failed as a doctor and scientists and wants to create some name insulting and slandering others. You are not a magnate agent from any organization, other than a narcissist psychopath, a toxic/poisonous individual who defends HIS opinions.

I will discuss your case with a lawyer in your state because your comments cannot be seen as scientific opinions, but slanderous, personal comments which are creating financial damage in my practice. I hope you have some money or properties to recover part of the damages.

If you have knowledge in cancer, you have not shown it with your meager number of publications, where you are principal author in two or three obscure publications, a decade or two ago, and in a totally irrelevant subject to the problem of cancer.

I cannot give your more time. You have no experience in cancer research, nor clinical oncology, discussing the problem of cancer with you is equivalent to discuss it with a taxi driver. You only defend David’s opinion, you have absolutely no conception of the principles if honesty and fairness.

We will put a banner in our website with my second e-mail and this one, and I will categorically state that you are not qualified to discuss cancer research or clinical oncology. From your papers, I do not know if you are good in anything. I am telling you this with all honesty. I believe you are just alive in the field because of your slanderous work.

Frank

This was my response:

Dr. Arguello,

I have corrected the factual error I made in the first post, which was relatively minor and didn’t affect the overall discussion.

If there are any factual errors in this post, I am willing to correct them, if you would point them out. As a further demonstration of my good faith, I will now post your previous e-mail and this e-mail as well as a second addendum to the post.

The rest is my opinion, which is that I do not think your work has sufficient evidence to justify giving it to patients outside of a clinical trial. I have marshaled considerable literature and analysis to support that opinion. It is disappointing that you are unable to answer that opinion with science, but instead resort to ad hominem attacks (“pharma magnate” and “narcissist psychopath”) and legal threats. Very disappointing, indeed.

David

P.S. My publication record might not be awe-inspiring (as in hundreds of publications), but it is not insubstantial, either:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=gorski-dh

I note that I’m perfectly fine with Dr. Arguello posting links to his letters on his website as a rebuttal to my criticisms. I am fine with the free exchange of ideas, even harsh criticism of what I write. I would, however, caution Dr. Arguello. If he’s going to be thinking about suing for libel, he might want to be careful about what he retains in those letters. Calling me a narcissistic psychopath on his website could be considered libelous.

ADDENDUM #4:

Here is another e-mail from Dr. Arguello dated 8/19/2014 4:26 PM EDT:

Dr. Gorski,

For historical reasons, I have been replying in detail and respectfully to your defamatory statements in your original piece posted in your website. I really find it difficult to discuss the science and treatment of cancer with you, because I believe you do not understand the biology of cancer, but also you have the mentality of those inside the box. You never think outside the box, and cannot conceive concepts that are outside the box, and therefore alien to you.

(1) Your Old Thinking: You want to judge my work with YOUR way of thinking. The treatment and cure of cancer will be accomplished with a new scientific way of thinking and with drugs you have not conceived (outside the box), otherwise you or others would have found a cure for cancer decades ago.

Question: If one day we find a way to cure cancer medically (with medicines), do you think it will be with the same thinking and drugs we have been using for 70 years in the case of chemotherapy, or 100 years with radiation? Or will it be with a different way of thinking and drugs?

All the work that you and others are doing is totally useless and it has been useless for decades. All the genetic and metabolic abnormalities found in cancer cells are not the cause of cancer, they are a CONSEQUENCE of cancer (of atavistic transformation).

(2) Your Interpretation of Clinical Trials: It is very easy for you to throw around the word “clinical trials,” not only because you do not understand what a clinical trial conveys, but also because you don’t understand that the new science and correct treatment of cancer. Clinical trials, as you conceive them, are the result of our stupidity regarding study cancer treatments for the last 70 years. I already told you that my clinical proposal and consent form were reviewed and approved by the ethical committee of the hospital where it was initiated. These are called “Proof-of-Concept” study.

Eventually, clinical studies will be carried out, once the therapy is established as such. I already told you, this is an individualized therapy, and evolving therapy consisting of many drugs, and can only be compared with the natural course of the disease. The trial is does it prolog the life of this person when compared with no treatment at all based on historical controls? Current clinical trials are based on responses on the size of tumor or survival time as compared to other past intoxications. Ignoring that people could live longer and better without those treatments.

When Ether came into clinical use by Morton in the late 1840s (now we have ANESTHESIA), he did not conduct clinical trials to compare ether with the old method of intoxicating the patient with whiskey to see which was better.

When Lister introduced the use of carbolic acid in the 1880s for the prevention of infections of surgical wounds or injuries of war, and created ANTISEPSIA, he did not conduct clinical trials to compare carbolic acid with boiling oil applied to wounds as used to be done at that time.

When Sulfonamides and Penicillin were introduced in the late 1930 and early 1940s to treat infected wounds or systemic infections during war, they did not compare them with arsenic or mercury used before those discoveries. These moves created ANTIBIOTIC CHEMOTHERAPY.

ATAVISTIC CHEMOTHERAPY AND IMMUNOTHERAPY cannot be compared with conventional chemotherapy and radiation used today (equivalent to alcohol, boiling oil, and mercury mentioned above). It can only be compared with the natural history of the disease as such. I already told you that conventional chemotherapy and radiation appear to offer less survival time to patients with cancer as compared with the natural history of the disease. We have enough historical controls to prove that.

(3) Defamation (Slander and Libel): If you express your scientific or vernacular opinions on DCA, marijuana, ketogenic diets, the ugliness of frogs at night, the existence of ghosts, etc., there are no legal consequences for that in the country in which I am a citizen (USA), and the countries you specifically mentioned in your internet piece (Canada and Mexico).

But when you name a person, a business, a product, brand, a service, etc., you are entering a new terrain protected by laws in each country, and international laws. Although some journalists may be immune to them, because of lawful reasons, you are not. If your comments are made publicly (verbally or written), for example, that Justin Bieber is selfish and rude, and he should go back to Canada, there may be no consequence for that either. But if you express publicly (verbally or written) that Justin Bieber does not sing, but howls, and he should not be hired to sing at any event, then you will pay the consequences of that. Whether you are right or not about his singing, that is your personal opinion. You are potentially ruining his career, reputation, credibility, work, and the financial compensation of his work as a singer. In the case of Bieber, that could cost you millions for libel/defamation for damages in his countries of work.

When you publicly state in an international venue, such as the internet, that “Dr. Arguello’s treatment is dubious and it should be avoided,” that will cost you, too. Perhaps not millions as in the case of Bieber, but enough to compensate me for the potential damage caused to my practice now and in the future not only regarding my ability to make money, but for exposing me to hatred, contempt and ridicule.

Now, because you dislike Justin Bieber, you are not free to slander and advocate that he should not be hired. In the USA, Canada and Mexico we have “defamatory libel” and “blasphemous/malicious libel.” In Canada, both are crimes punishable by a maximum term of two years in prison. In the specific case of a “libel known to be false,” the prison term increases to a maximum of five years. A defamatory libel “is matter published, without lawful justification or excuse, that is likely to injure the reputation of any person by exposing him to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or that is designed to insult the person of or concerning whom it is published.” I am not interested in jail time, but in the economic damage I am already experiencing because of your posting.

I personally believe that all alternative and conventional cancer treatments are in their great majority scams to make money. Conventional chemotherapy is in reality an elegant scam to make money, too, by the industries that benefit from this commerce. Nobody is cured and their lifespans likely reduced. Eventually I will prove and publish this. There is no need to name people, but mistaken philosophies.

I had a short conversation with my lawyer concerning this matter, and it appears that you have been crossing the line and targeting people by name. I am wondering if I should join forces with others as a class suit, or do it alone. The question is how much can we get from you and your cronies?

(4) Final Thoughts: Please do not say that I am threatening you with legal action. I am not threatening; I am telling you what I am going to do. I am just tired of discussing this in a mature way with you. I personally feel you are a narcissist and sociopath, who does not help in the problem of cancer, but tries to perpetuate it. You are not qualified to judge this type of work. The real and sad part of this is this:

YOU DO NOT CARE ABOUT CANCER TREATMENTS AS SUCH; YOU DO NOT CARE ABOUT CANCER PATIENTS AND THEIR SUFFERING. YOU ONLY CARE ABOUT DAVID’S IDEAS AND OPINIONS ON HIS WEBSITE.

YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND what is to do what I do, the great personal and economic sacrifices I have made to create a potential venue to help people with cancer. This is aside from sharing with them and their families their anxieties, uncertainties, pain, losses and sorrows. As the saying goes, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

You need to provide solutions or get out of the way.

Frank

P.S. I know that these e-mails will become public someday, from there that I have not been using my French on you. Suffice to say that I am fluent in French when someone interferes, for no reason, in this important work. This is aside of slandering me.


Frank Arguello, MD
Atavistic Oncology Clinic
www.AtavisticChemotherapy.com
Former Assistant Professor of Oncology,
and Pediatrics, Hematology and Oncology,
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.
Rochester, New York USA.
Former Senior Scientist,
Division of Cancer Treatment & Diagnosis,
National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. Frederick, Maryland USA.

I do not see the point of responding further to Dr. Arguello other than to say that from now on I will be posting any threatening e-mails he sends me as additional addendums to this post and to say that Dr. Arguello apparently does not understand the First Amendment, free speech, and the difference between opinion and libel, not to mention the difference between criticizing his treatment and the lack of evidence for it compared to attacking him personally.

ADDENDUM #6:

Dr. Arguello complains to my place of work in an e-mail dated 8/20/2014 5:05 PM EDT:

Dear Drs. Weaver, Steffes and Yoo,

Respectfully, would like to call your attention to a number of disturbing experiences I have been subjected to by one of your staff members in your department of surgery, Dr. David Gorski.

I am a well-educated and respected oncologist-scientist, with academic trajectories at the University of Connecticut Health Center, The University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and its James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, where I was a James P. Wilmot Fellow for three years, and later Assistant Professor of Oncology, and Pediatric Hematology Oncology. Later, I joined the Department of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis of the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. Few, but meaningful publications on the mechanisms of metastatic spread, skeletal metastases, spinal cord compression from vertebral metastases, as well as the trial of several experimental drugs resulted from that work: (www.atavisticchemotherapy.com//content/dr_frank_arguello_cv)

In my efforts to find a better way to understand and treat cancer, and after a year of reviewing the medical literature of other biological explanations as to the malignant behavior of cancer cells, I became aware of an old concept that originated with the father of pathology, Rudolf Virchow, in 1888. This concept has been brought into light several times over the last 100 years, but has not been pursued. I collected all this information and published a book entitled “Atavistic Metamorphosis: A New and Logical Explanation for the Origin and Biological Nature of Cancer Cells.” (Amazon.com). Briefly, this is a concept based on the evolution of life (cells) on this planet, which explains cancer as a de-evolution, a reversion of a differentiated cell to its ancestral, primitive, undifferentiated unicellular form from which all multicellular organisms originated from. The re-expression of ancient genes in a cell or organism is known in biology as “Atavism” (from Latin Atavus, ancestor or grandfather).

In 2011, I obtained approval from the Ethical Board Committee of a University Hospital in Torreon, Mexico to conduct a clinical trial to evaluate what I called “Atavistic Chemotherapy” on hopeless cancer patients. Torreon is my city of birth, although I have been living in the USA for almost 30 years; one of my brothers practices medicine there after receiving medical training in London.

The treatment consists of a combination of FDA-approved cytostatic and cytocidal drugs known to be effective against primitive unicellular organisms (protozoa, fungi and bacteria cells). Although the therapy is still evolving, the results in hopeless cancer patients are so compelling that speak for themselves. I invite you to see a partial gallery of clinical cases depicting images of cancers before and during treatment at: www.atavisticchemotherapy.com PLEASE NOTE: the results you will see in the sequence of images depicted in each case are without the use of conventional “anticancer drugs.”

Dr. Gorsik’s harassing stated when I prepared two conferences on this new interpretation and treatment of cancer in Saskatchewan, Canada. Soon after, I received a letter from Saskatchewan College of Physicians and Surgeons that Dr. Gorski had contacted them to warn them that I was not licensed to practice medicine in Saskatchewan. I have given presentations in the past at McGill University Department of Surgery in Montreal, where the head of the Sarcoma Team, Dr. Robert Turcotte, knows my work. I also co-authored, years ago, a book with Dr. William Orr, Head of Pathology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. So, Dr. Gorski was ignored once they learned about my qualifications.

Days later, Dr. Gorski posted online a number of defamatory statements about me, the atavistic nature of cancer cells which has been published by others before, and my treatment approach. Link:

www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/dr-frank-arguellos-atavistic-oncology-another-dubious-cancer-therapy-to-be-avoided/#begincomments

He believes that his website is a Medical Journal and that he is the Editor, but in reality this is just an unsophisticated venue for him to insult people and release his frustrations as a failed cancer researcher, because he does not have any ideas of his own. If he has some ideas on cancer or opposes the views of others for a better one, or if he has something to say against the science of atavistic oncology, my views or that of others published over the years starting with Virchow, he should do it through the existing venues we have as professional physicians to express our opinions, results, etc. – Medical Journals. But not by slandering people via a website.

I have contacted a law firm in Ohio which specializes in libel and slander via the internet. I just wanted to let you know that since he uses his affiliation with Wayne School of Medicine to boost his credibility, you could be also named in that suit. I perfectly understand that you do not support or review his writing on his website, but it is impossible for a lawyer not to see the direct connection between his defamatory work on that website and you in the same line of work.

Respectfully,

Frank Arguello, MD
Atavistic Oncology Clinic
www.AtavisticChemotherapy.com
Former Assistant Professor of Oncology,
and Pediatrics, Hematology and Oncology,
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.
Rochester, New York USA.
Former Senior Scientist,
Division of Cancer Treatment & Diagnosis,
National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health.
Frederick, Maryland USA.

Note that Dr. Weaver is my departmental chair; Dr. Yoo is the chief medical officer at my hospital; and Dr. Steffes hasn’t worked at our hospital for four or five years.

ADDENDUM #5:

And the beat goes on, with another e-mail dated 8/21/2014 5:08 PM EDT:

Dr. Gorski,

I am kindly ask you to remove all your online postings regarding me and my work. The lawyer who is investigating this case has identified several reproductions in other websites that end with .org and suspect associated to you. He told me the names by phone, but I only remember the .org.

I am ready to send an e-mail to the Dean Dr. Parisi, and a large list of deans of your school. But I wanted to give you the opportunity to assure me you will remove that. I do not want to embarrass you more than you have embarrassed me, but I will have no mercy on you until you remove those defamatory statements. If I can recover money for damage I will certainly will do that if you persist.

If you want to talk about that subject of atavistic oncology, submit your paper to a peer-review medical journal.

Frank


Frank Arguello, MD
Atavistic Oncology Clinic
www.AtavisticChemotherapy.com
Former Assistant Professor of Oncology,
and Pediatrics, Hematology and Oncology,
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.
Rochester, New York USA.
Former Senior Scientist,
Division of Cancer Treatment & Diagnosis,
National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health. Frederick, Maryland USA.

You know. I was worried before, but now I’m almost starting to feel sorry for this guy.

Posted in: Cancer, Clinical Trials, Evolution

Leave a Comment (163) ↓

163 thoughts on ““Atavistic oncology” revisited: Dr. Frank Arguello responds

  1. Lawrence says:

    My, he certainly is full of himself, isn’t he?

    1. Windriven says:

      Well, he’s clearly full of something.

      1. mouse says:

        My brother has a saying “The most dangerous people are the ones who believe their own bulls&*t.” I’m not sure if that’s true, but it certainly comes to mind in these situations.

        1. EBMOD says:

          “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.”
          -Bertrand Russell

          1. Thor says:

            Kruger-Dunning effect in vivid color, as an example for all to see

            1. simba says:

              Really you could just post his letters up. They make the case against him as strongly as anything else. It’s rather sad that he was trying to insist they be posted, as if he really thought that would help.

        2. Windriven says:

          I’m with your brother, mouse. I phrase it slightly differently: “nothing frightens me like a true believer.” But the meaning is the same. Those who don’t doubt their most cherished ideas are either tyrants or fools.

          1. Windriven says:

            Hm. I just read EBMOD’s comment and realized that Bertrand Russell said the same thing much more eloquently. Go figure ;-)

  2. K. Chang says:

    I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but the response from “Dr. Arguello” is very reminiscent of a well known scammer who is no stranger to SBM… Bill Nelson, aka Desiree Dubonnet, or in certain sense, Kevin Trudeau.

    Dr. Arguello is basically in his own world and any one who dares disagree with him is automatically wrong. And instead of calling upon his knowledge as a doctor, he seems to have regressed back to kindergarten and called upon his “double dare you” skills with “patient challenge”. I can almost hear “What you you? Afraid? Chicken? Yellow? Are you afraid to play by my rules? Muahahaha!”

    I new a few people like that, but they’re in the Scamworld, not medicine. I think Dr. Arguello had let the power to play God gotten to his head.

    1. Windriven says:

      “I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV”

      I’ll bet you stayed in a Holiday Inn Express last night

  3. Neil J says:

    I wish I had been the one to contact the Saskatchewan College of Physicians and Surgeons but I only learned of Dr. Arguello’s “visits” to my province after they had already occurred. A tip of the hat to whoever tried to throw a wrench into his dubious publicity tour.

  4. Chris Hickie says:

    Clinic in Cabo, eh? Must be a nice tax/travel write off for this arrogant quack.

    1. Windriven says:

      It is really amazing what you can do with multiple international locations, shifting profit realization and charging expenses to venues where they do the most good (or the least harm). If he’s really smart, the whole operation funnels to a holding company in Bermuda or the Caymans.

  5. BargeArse says:

    As soon as you see the word “Atavistic” you know it is excretum tauri.

    1. Pharmacist-in-Exile says:

      Well as a former dabbler in evo-devo studies I would say that the word has its place, but certainly not in clinical cancer treatments as of todays state-of-the-art! And I do agree that “atavistic oncology” seems utterly identical to male bovine feces.

      1. Calli Arcale says:

        I dunno. At least male bovine feces has proven value in improving crop yields and thus is useful for something. ;-)

  6. Angora Rabbit says:

    “Our institute has been visited by many important scientists, most recently by Dr. Kary Mullis, the Nobel Prize winner in chemistry in 1993 ”

    And my lab has been visited by Roger Tsein, Rod McKinnon, Stanley Cohen, Oliver Smithies, and Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard.

    So clearly my science is better. I win. You can kiss the ring.

    Idjit.

    1. EBMOD says:

      I must say this response made me snicker. Very telling that this supposed cancer researcher doesn’t understand what an appeal to authority fallacy is…

    2. Sawyer says:

      It is absolutely uncanny how people like Dr. Arguello are so completely out of touch with the rest of the world, not just on the science but as judges of character. If you asked the average medical researcher “Name 3 people you would not want to be associated with because of their terrible reputation”, I’d wager Kary Mullis’s name would be on every other list. He is literally the first person I think of when someone brings up the dreaded Nobel Disease.

      I eagerly await hearing about a new version of atavistic oncology that involves taking large doses of LSD. :)

  7. qetzal says:

    I don’t understand his “public challenge.” Neither his letter nor his website explains what’s supposed to actually happen, or how the outcome will be judged.

    I assume the idea is that Arguello would use his methods to treat the pre-identified patient, but then what? Are there supposed to be criteria for judging Arguello’s treatments versus conventional therapies? Or is the criterion simply, “Watch, and be amazed!”

    1. EBMOD says:

      I think he knew damn well that what he was proposing was unethical and was thus turned down. Which of course he will now spin into ‘mainstream cancer docs are afraid ofme because they don’t want you to know the TRUTH!’.

      This is all about maintaining a scientific veneer for those he dupes and maintaining plausibly deniability to the likelihood that deep down he knows he is full of bull feces but DGAF as long as the money keeps coming in…

      1. Calli Arcale says:

        That was my thought until I read his additional responses. Now I think he’s just an idiot. I don’t think he’s clever enough to propose a challenge knowing it will be rejected on ethical grounds, because he clearly doesn’t understand the ethical grounds in the first place.

  8. Vater says:

    This statement pictures Dr. Aguello´s commitment with the suffering and the high levels of gready arrogance of his ethical compromise:
    “Also note that I have patent applications filed for “new use” of existing medicines and “new formulations” of existing medicines to protect the credit of my work. Again, I would love to share all the information now, if a large institution agrees to do the work, compensate me for my patents, and put me in a leading position to continue with this work.

  9. David Gorski says:

    Note that Dr. Arguello has written two more e-mails to me. I have added them to the post, along with my response, in Addendum #2 and Addendum #3.

      1. David Gorski says:

        Yikes. You know, if he’s actually serious about the Italian crime family bit, taking these posts down might be the better part of valor. Legal threats are one thing…

        1. Lytrigian says:

          He’s obviously not serious, although he may want to reconsider saying such things himself. You do not curry favor with Italian crime families by proclaiming their existence in a public forum. That, to my understanding, is among the things that are Not Done.

        2. Farrah says:

          Dr. Gorski, he is not serious. He makes threats like this all the time. I had the misfortune of working for Dr. Arguello months ago. This is par for the course with him. He has even threatened patients before.

          I also know that some of his past patients have gone to other doctors (a Dr. Paulo Ceja in Mexico comes to mind), after they were unhappy with his treatments. Dr. Ceja and many others in Mexico think he is not only a quack, but a bully. At one point, Dr. Arguello resorted to calling Dr. Ceja racial slurs (basically calling him names that denigrate the native tribes of Mexico, which Dr. Ceja isn’t even a member of) and he threatened to sue him Dr. Ceja. He threatens to sue a lot of people and he also threatens about his mafia connections a lot. Nothing ever comes of it, because he doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

          1. MadisonMD says:

            If he ever consults a lawyer he might discover the difference between libel and slander, and then that the SBM posts are neither.

          2. Richard says:

            I’m honestly confused by this reference he makes to “using his French” at the end of that last email. What in the hell is he talking about? Are insults and invective supposed to be more stinging when they’re delivered in French?

            1. Shay says:

              And your grandmother smells of elderberries!

            2. Lytrigian says:

              I suspect it’s a reference to the expression “Pardon my French”, a jocular apology for using an obscenity.

            3. BoxTurtle says:

              Could he be thinking of “pardon my French”, generally said in the midst of swearing?

    1. Windriven says:

      Most striking is that none of Dr. Arguello’s responses include hard scientific rebuttals. He seems to suffer from SSR syndrome; the inability to differentiate between interesting case reports and rigorous scientific evidence. In short, Dr. Arguello appears to be rather out of his depth which adds a thick layer of irony to his ad hominems.

  10. jsterritt says:

    Dr Arguello claims to know how to cure cancer, but won’t share his treatment protocol, or demonstrate this life-saving knowledge via the usual channels of publication and clinical trials, and it is Dr Gorski who will live forever in infamy?! Rather, he challenges all comers to a single-patient circus act experiment absent any scientific rigor (plausibility, animal studies, prior controlled testing) or ethics?! Basically, Dr Arguello throws down the gauntlet and challenges his detractors to duel with chemotherapies on the field of a single dying patient!

    Do I have this right?

    And he has the temerity to play the injured party?!

    1. Calli Arcale says:

      Exactly. The irony is incredibly thick in his e-mails. Dr Gorski doesn’t do enough to improve our current devastating results, so doesn’t get to criticize Arguello, but Arguello won’t share a lick of information that would allow anyone else to replicate his work — because he doesn’t CARE about improving our results. He just wants money. Note when he finally threatened to sue, he says “I hope you have some money or properties to recover part of the damages.” Because it isn’t his reputation or his patients that he cares about. It’s his cash flow.

      1. Windriven says:

        ““I hope you have some money or properties to recover part of the damages.”

        I’ll bet Gorski lost 10-12 seconds of sleep over his threats.

  11. MTDoc says:

    Paranoia and delusions of grandeur. Reminds me of diagnostic criteria I learned about long ago. Had a patient like that once, fifty years ago, but challenging enough that I still have a file on him.

    Regards melanoma, I have a former patient with metastatic disease who I first diagnosed 33 years ago. She has undergone several rounds of conventional therapy over the years, and is presently doing quite well. Saw her last week running a 10K.

    1. Chris says:

      Just a bit off topic, but this is cool:
      http://www.rmbt.org/going-viral/

      Though I don’t know if it is anywhere near your part of that very large state.

      1. MTDoc says:

        That’s a bit south of me, but you are getting close. Thanks for the link. I don’t always agree with “Missoula”, but that is interesting, and we do have to thank the lab for it’s work on rocky mountain spotted fever even if it’s a disease more common elsewhere.

        We are a large state. A few years ago I ordered a panel saw from a place in the mid-west, to be shipped to a freight depot near me for pick up. It was shipped to Billings, 450 miles east of me location.

        You have now located me in NW Montana, an area we want to keep to ourselves, but being really nice people we always welcome visitors.

        Again, thanks for the link.

        1. MTDoc says:

          Me=my. What a single martini will do to a 79 year old.

        2. Chris says:

          I was disappointed that it wouldn’t let me watch the influenza vaccine because I was in the wrong country. I am in the state just past Idaho to the west.

  12. jsterritt says:

    I have at least one more shocked question to ask: how do real or imagined shortcomings of “conventional” treatments in any way legitimize Arguello’s?! The guy’s entire reasoning seems to hinge on the weaknesses of other therapies, not on the strengths of his own. Arguello appears confident that if he can sell just one claim (either against “conventional” therapies or in support of his atavistic origin story), that he has somehow proved his therapy effective. In reverse, by pronouncing himself a cancer-curing genius, he seems to think that his other claims should be accepted as a fait accompli.

    There are some things one should never pronounce oneself to be, like “an awesome lover.” If true, there must be at least one other person to make this testament, who will by definition have a whole lot more credibility on the subject. It’s safe to say that “I am a medical revolutionary with a secret cure for cancer” is another one of those things.

  13. EBMOD says:

    I do want to say job well done to the incredible work that the authors of SBM have done, it appears that the message is starting to penetrate the mainstream. I know that many writers have joked that our mascot should be Sysiphus, but perhaps the times are changing. With now two SCAM docs in the past month squawking, these articles must be impacting their business, thus them feeling compelled to respond…

  14. AdamG says:

    But what type of review should I anticipate from peer-review journals when I am not their peer?

    Ugh, what a slimeball. This guy strikes me as someone who couldn’t make it in the academic research world and decided it was the field’s fault, not his. His publication record is very weak for a senior investigator: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=Arguello%20F%5BAuthor%5D&cauthor=true&cauthor_uid=9516149

      1. qetzal says:

        AdamG,

        Not all of those are the same author. You can see Arguello’s actual publication list here. In fact, I count only 10 original, peer-reviewed publications. Six were from the 8 years he spent at U. of Rochester, and four were from the 6 years he spent at NCI. None is more recent than 1998.

        Arguello lists 15 pubs at the above site, but one is merely a comment on someone else’s paper, another is a book chapter, one is listed as “submitted” (apparently from 1998!), one is a review, and the most recent is his self-published book.

        Of course, Arguello’s publication record isn’t a reliable indicator of the value of his ideas. But it does make his attack on Dr. Gorski’s publications and expertise all the more laughable.

    1. David Gorski says:

      I know. Dr. Arguello’s got a lot of nerve attacking my publication record when he doesn’t appear to have published anything in the peer-reviewed medical/scientific literature since 2002, while I’ve published 16 papers, with two currently in press. I’ll grant you that that’s not a prodigious publication rate, being only a little more than one paper per year, heavily influenced by one good year with seven publications (2003), but it’s still way better than Dr. Arguello’s.

      1. David Drummond says:

        From what little i gathered at his presentation in Regina he seems to think of his “writings” as more of a scripture he needs to defends against the “heretics”. in other words he’s the pope and we’re not “worthy” to sip from his cup of knowledge. PS he’s is so smarmy and condescending in public, (over use of big words with a cute accent), big surprise.

        1. David Gorski says:

          Did he present any actual scientific evidence?

          1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            Did he present any actual scientific evidence?

            Ahahahhahaha!!!

            Oh…oh, you weren’t kidding.

            Well, I wasn’t there, but I’m still quite comfortable saying “no”.

  15. “I am meeting in Los Cabos with the patient this Saturday, August 16, 2014 to begin treatment. I could discuss this public challenge with him.”

    Wait what? Is this quack really thinking of putting a patient in the midst of a discussion WITHOUT consulting the idea with the patient in question first? But also: is this quack really thinking of putting a patient in the midst of a discussion over the internet? (I really like SBM and don’t mean to disrespect your efforts in any way, but for crying out loud…)

    If my cardiologist would even so much as hint to such an effort I’d report his ass to the disciplinary board before he could mutter ‘atavism’.

  16. Lawrence says:

    There has to be some kind of HIPAA violation in there somwhere…..

  17. Rob says:

    Arguello says: (4) Why I Do Not Publish Your Clinical Trials. … I felt confident of its effectiveness and superiority to any conventional approach by 2013.

    My personal background is varied, but does include business analysis. Admittedly, there were times that I was also confident of my initial analysis. However, I had to test it. I had to do the hard work to make sure that it was accurate. Sometimes my confidence did not survive the testing.

    If I had published my initial impressions of the data, based on my confidence, I would have had egg on my face. Worse, I would have provided false data to my colleagues which would have resulted in sub-optimal business solutions.

    It’s better, to test, test, test, and abandon any and all interpretations, no matter how brilliant they seem, than to proceed with errant data. Test, test, test, and prove your data.

    1. David Gorski says:

      You know, there’s one other thing I should have mentioned. Dr. Arguello was trained and practiced as a pediatric oncologist. What is he doing treating adult cancers, such as breast cancer and melanoma, both of which (particularly breast) are quite rare in children?

      1. Missmolly says:

        Melanoma, esp stage IV, is extremely rare in kids, too- even in Australia!
        What I’m worried about is what the hell he did to the kids he used to treat, if this is his brand of ‘science’. Since progress in paed onc is so rapid, you have to be pretty hard-core about science to keep up to date with best practice, and I’m fairly sure this maniac doesn’t have the capacity.

      2. Chris Hickie says:

        Maybe the blowback and liability of Arguello harming a child with his “treatments” was more than he wanted to chance. Of course, if you’re treating patients in Mexico, your liability for malpractice, (especially treating Americans) is basically zero. Still, I’m betting he didn’t want negative public exposure should a child die from his oh-so-amazing therapy (as happened somewhat to Burzynski when one of his pediatric patients died from anti-neoplaston-induced hyponatremia).

        Alternatively, maybe Arguello had some major malpractice-level screw ups as a pediatric oncologist and thus fled the field.

  18. jsterritt says:

    Can anyone clarify what Arguello means:

    “But what type of review should I anticipate from peer-review journals when I am not their peer? I will publish under my terms. I am working on a large publication in the form of a book. ”

    Am I missing something? Is he claiming to be superior to — or somehow outside of — medical science? Is this some kind of “maverick gambit?” Is he genuinely excepting himself from the scientific method?

    From his remarks, it appears he’s invested all of 2 years from the “started to evaluate” phase of developing his therapy to being “confident in its effectiveness and superiority.” Now he seems to have some weird hang-ups about protecting his intellectual property. Is this just the usual smoke of cancer quacks?

    He does seem determined to get paid one way or another (book sales, lawsuits, etc). Is he in such a rush to circumvent evidence-based channels and receive his glory (and money), because he is tired of traveling to Los Cabos?

    1. MTDoc says:

      Strictly an opinion. In spite of secondary gain, I consider his position to represent mental illness more than greed. After the third paragraph, I could see things that triggered flashbacks to my early days as a flight surgeon, having to deal with a high ranking officer who might remind you of the general in “Dr. Strangelove”. If you see my comment above you will understand why I still keep a file on him.

      I don’t know what happens to extremely talented people sometimes, but sometimes they just go off the deep end. Like the “Nobel syndrome”. But it has characteristics similar to schizoid behavior in that it departs from reality. But don’t forget these were often brilliant minds at one point, and once over the edge can be very difficult adversaries.

      1. Calli Arcale says:

        The trouble is that the brilliant mind is far better equipped to deceive itself, because it is more skilled at coming up with explanations for things. A feedback loop is very dangerous in a smart person, which is why humility is so important.

  19. PMoran says:

    I had a quick look at his cases, and they show short term outcomes that would not be very exceptional with conventional treatments such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, hormonal interventions, etc. . There are no indications that these patients will not also display the relapses that are unfortunately usual when treating inoperable cancers of these types, as the time frames covered are mostly a matter of months, ranging up to nine months. (I will expect these cases to be updated with their further progress, if this fellow is as honest as he claims to be)

    I am confident that if we knew the treatments being used, we would be able to explain most or all of these outcomes without resorting to the theories of “atavistic oncology” . One or two are dependent upon the interpretation of imaging.

    It is noteworthy that some of these patients ended up with difficult to control disease because of their reliance on “alternative” measures in the first place.

    1. David Gorski says:

      Thanks for the look. I analyzed some of them in the previous post. One thing that you mentioned that I should have is how brief the followup has been. This makes sense in retrospect, given that he only opened his clinic in 2013.

  20. simba says:

    I see the way this works. I was wondering why the whole bit about the ‘challenge’ was worded so incomprehensibly, but it’s deliberate. He is trying to say “if you are a shill choose the sane and sensible route, posting the letters- if you’re not a shill take my bizarre and unethical challenge!”

    Then when no-one accepts his little challenge he can claim they’re ‘self-admitted shills’ or some such.

  21. ab says:

    For an extra laugh – go check out his book listing on Amazon.com:

    http://www.amazon.com/Atavistic-Metamorphosis-EXPLANATION-BIOLOGICAL-discussion/dp/1460968999/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408403585&sr=8-1&keywords=frank+arguello

    Check out the reviews. They are obviously written by paid folks. Just take a look at the wording and click on a few of the “reviewers” and you’ll see what I mean.

    This guy is Lionel Hutz, Dr. Nick, and Dr. Oz rolled into one.

    1. Jack says:

      Apparently one of his best reviews came from a young mother with c-section scars who has no kids, but has a drug addicted and alcoholic family. She is into BDSM but unfortunately has menopause and a leaky bladder, however she recently learned how to perform exceptional fellatio! She is a submissive gun fanatic doomsday-prepper survivalist who went through a messy divorce and is about to get married again, even though she suspects him of cheating! She is trying her best, even though people are skeptical that it’s possible, to get taller for her wedding (she must be an expert wedding planner, because that is the ONLY type of book she hasn’t reviewed yet…). At least she is working hard to meet her weight loss goals by taking a at least a dozen highly rated diet supplements while on a paleo and atkins diet, though she unfortunately suffers from debilitating lifelong constipation. Though, she is apparently REALLY concerned about blue cobalt and it’s health effects… Did I mention all the weird sex and childrens books?

      And I’m still not through her first page of reviews….

  22. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    So let’s see if I get this straight:

    “Dr. Gorski is obviously a paid shill for the pharmaceutical industry because I said so and shut up. Now pardon me, I have to fly to my Mexican clinic where I will charge vast sums of money to patients for two prescription drugs that are off-patent and cost mere cents per dose, under the name of case management fees.”

    Have I got it about right?

  23. Farrah says:

    I mentioned this elsewhere (above in these comments and in the comments on the first posrt), but I used to work for Dr. Arguello several months ago.

    The medications Dr. Arguello uses are dubious. He buys the medications he gives to patients from a single person in Thailand that only goes by the name ‘Vitoon.’ There is absolutely no way to know if the medicine even contains what it is supposed to contain. It’s extremely disturbing and frightening. Fluconazole, Praziquantel, Itraconazole, Actonel, Albendazole, Mebendazole, Doxycycline, and Tranexamic acid are just a few of the medicines he uses and buys from shady suppliers in Thailand.

    There are so many problems with his practice, it is ridiculous. The reason I left, aside from his obvious unethical practices, was because I could no longer stand the bullying, which has been enumerated in my other posts. I feel very sorry for anyone that goes to see him and gives him money. Honestly, he barely has any patients. He’s never done very well with Atavistic Chemotherapy. I hope this blog can stop him before he gets any real traction.

    1. Andrey Pavlov says:

      Tranaxemic acid??? That is a pro-coagulant medication. In cancer patients who are already typically hypercoagulable (except for melanoma it would seem) this could be catastrophic.

      I won’t waste my time confirming what a sack of crap Arguello is. That is beyond self evident.

      1. Farrah says:

        I should probably clarify my work for him, because saying I used to work for him may automatically discredit me with many people here. I am not a doctor or even close to it. I did administrative work for him, and did not understand how his brand of chemo was different from others. I started learning about his ideas after I was hired. I figured out after awhile that he was a quack, when I noticed a lot of things didn’t add up or were kept secret from patients. I have seen him ask patients to lie, heard him berate his patients, seen him send emails calling them stupid and that they need to have faith and trust in him and only him. If they get a second opinion, they no longer trust him, so he refuses to work with them. I wish I had known of all this before I started my work for him. I never would have accepted the job. And please excuse my English, it is not my first language.

        1. Calli Arcale says:

          Most people, unless they are extremely fortunate, eventually wind up in a crappy job that isn’t what they were expecting when they were interviewed. (For more light-hearted examples, check out The Daily WTF!) Sometimes we cotton on quickly to it being a crappy job or an unethical manager or both, and sometimes it takes longer, but in either case, we often have little choice but to stay on until we have another job lined up. So don’t feel bad about that part, Farrah. And honestly, I think your English is excellent. Better than many Americans!

        2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          I wouldn’t have guessed that English was your second language, your written English is quite good.

          And don’t worry – your obvious contempt for Dr. Arguello does you credit, far more than being an ex-employee would discredity you.

        3. Nick J. says:

          IANAL, but if true, be judicious in what you say here. Since what you are saying is claiming fact, not stating opinion.

          1. Farrah says:

            Thank you for saying that.
            I have the emails to prove it, and so do some of his patients, if it were to come to that.

            1. Lytrigian says:

              That’s good, but at least in the US, defending yourself from a lawsuit can be quite expensive, and there’s no guarantee you’ll recover costs.

  24. MadisonMD says:

    Arguello posts his best cases on Prezi. I’d expect one could do better when cherrypicking cases, but then Frankie doesn’t have the Burzynskiesque 30year backlog of 20,000+ cases to choose from. Neverminding the ethics of posting your patient’s pictures and medical history publicly, what do these cases demonstrate?

    (1) Linda’s case shows a woman from Toronto (Why does he target Canada?) with cutaneous recurrent triple-negative breast cancer that has progressed on first-line chemotherapy having a partial response to 3 months “Atavistic chemotherapy.” Not too impressive because (a) It is a partial response–clearly there is residual disease at the last photo; and (b) It is known that any number of therapies may be partially effective in such cases including capecitabine, docetaxel, vinorelbine, eribulin, ixabepilone, doxorubicin to name a few and it is entirely likely that one or more of these drugs were used. It is cute how he shows an apparently happy woman at the end as if to imply she is still doing great. However, the photo is taken less than one month into the therapy, and we are not told how she is doing when this was posted about 6 months later.

    (2) Anna Bertha is still less impressive as we see an open wound with clot or eschar which heals up over time. I suspect either this was an open non-cancerous wound or that she too received an effective therapy which could easily have this effect. Without details it isn’t possible to make a conclusion. However, it is not impressive.

    (3) Pricilla’s case is amazingly even less impressive. She has untreated Stage IV lung cancer. We are treated to two chest X-rays taken 5 weeks apart. These illustrate right-heart enlargement on the first which is gone on the second. (a) The first X-ray appears mal-rotated to the left making the heart appear larger. (b) Even if there was right-heart failure this is more common to occur in a lung cancer patient from pulmonary embolism, which may have been treated with anticoagulants with improvement. (c) In support of (a) and (b), there is no concomitant improvement in effusion. (d) If there actually was tumor reduction, this is actually an expected effect of a platinum doublet which has a 32% response rate. However, Arguello’s idea of “response” would not actually be up to snuff per standardized criteria used by real oncologists.

    (4) Terry’s case shows what is purported to be a tumor on the left posterior chest wall and lung metastases on chest Xray. They both appear to be improving. (a) It is not clear that the chest wall lump was cancer, but probably was. (b) The Xrays appear awful and do not constitute proof of tumors. It could just as well be pneumonia or pulmonary edema and it is not even clear that there is improvement. (c) FOLFOX-6+bevacizumab, among other regimens, would be standard regimen that is known to give responses.

    So basically, this guy is either extremely naive about oncology, or he is trying to dupe those not medically trained into believing he’s on to something hot.

    This oncologist is not impressed.

    1. David Gorski says:

      Thanks for that additional analysis to bolster my discussion of some of the anecdotes in my first post.

  25. Carmen Czachor says:

    On the pictures of Linda post op and on the atavistic chemo—-Is there a chance that this was just a post op pyoderma/ infection? I see loads of dogs w similar skin infections that respond “miraculously’ to a long course of antibiotics. Maybe what he is curing is actually a dermatologic case post successful chemo (which suppresses the immune system and could contribute to skin infection). I look pretty brilliant myself after the miserable skin infection clears up on someone’s pooch. I need a clinic in Cabo…

    1. MadisonMD says:

      Maybe. It does look like typical recurrent triple-negative breast cancer to skin. Diagnostic biopsy would demonstrate yes/no. But the former Assistant Professor now known as Doctor Frank does not provide any of these details to verify the case.

      This is a great example of how ‘proving’ something to desperate cancer patients without medical training on the internet differs from the scrutiny of a peer-reviewed publication based on a clinical trial performed with oversight by IRB (ethics), the data safety and monitoring board (for data integrity and patient safety), and with FDA oversight (if done under IND which is required for any trial with off-label drug use, approved or no).

      1. qetzal says:

        Minor quibble: an IND and FDA oversight are required if you want to use the results of the trial to revise the drug label to include the new indication. Otherwise, it’s OK to do a trial of an approved drug for an off-label use without an IND.

        1. David Gorski says:

          Good point. However, given Dr. Arguello’s threats of legal action, I don’t think I can go back and change this post in any way from now on, other than to add his e-mails to it as they come in.

        2. MadisonMD says:

          Thanks. True that IND is not needed if six requirements are met per FDA guidelines. This one in particular would have to be hashed out with IRB to determine if IND is necessary:

          (iii) it does not involve a route of administration or dosage level, use in a subject population, or other factor that significantly increases the risks (or decreases the acceptability of the risks) associated with the use of the drug product

  26. David Gorski says:

    Please note that there is now Addendum #4, in which Dr. Arguello continues to try to justify himself and repeats his threat of legal action.

  27. Kiiri says:

    Wow this guy is a piece of work. Dr. G I think you were way more than fair in airing his grievances. As others have pointed out calling you a narcissist is essentially a case of pot meet kettle. As for the commenter who had the misfortune to work for this idiot, glad you made it out. And I hope some of his prospective patients find this site and actually read it. It is deeply disturbing that he is peddling these completely untested and completely made up drug combinations to the desperate.

  28. Frederick says:

    He calls you are a magnate because, maybe he thinks that with all the works you have done as a “shill”, you have accumulated enough experiences to LEVEL UP as a magnate!
    Pharma Magnate Level 50! :-) Special skill: terrorizing poor little maverick doctors!

    Seriously, this guy is like the most arrogant man I ever read. He is his own personality cult, all by himself. Burzinsky barely does anything, all his fans ( the unfortunate peoples who believe him, sadly) does the job. But this guy, wow, he does all the work by himself, for himself! Your post is so long because endless, but empty emails, I could not read all of it, a never ending scrolling!

    His “challenge” is, from the get go for anybody who know a little about ethics and science BS, and that you cannot do it. And still, he will use that as “proof” that he is right, and it is so transparently deliberate.

    The gem of it all.
    “But what type of review should I anticipate from peer-review journals when I am not their peer?” Wow, Oh yeah sorry dude, GOD was not available for the peer review, all we have are punny humans! (Ad hominem incoming) what a Douchedag.

    1. Frederick says:

      Oh yeah By the way, Dr. Gorski, You were on Fire this week, so much of you to read. Do you even sleep? that’s impressive.

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        I have a sneaking suspicion he’s actually a sophisticated computer, dictating his posts through a series of blinking lights.

        1. Frederick says:

          A Quantum Computer of course!

  29. PMoran says:

    “You want to judge my work with YOUR way of thinking.”

    Not in the least. Cancer patients, their relatives, others who care for them, even the general public — they all have the right to know how you know your treatment works.

    Armchair theorising and “mystery treatments” never do that. Nor will your stories of very short term benefits to patients that can be explained by variants of “conventional” treatment that these patients have almost certainly received from you, or from other sources.

  30. daedalus2u says:

    If he has file patent applications, then he is “protected” once the patents issue.

    If he has not filed patent applications, and he has been selling his treatments for more than a year, then he may be barred from patenting them.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On-sale_bar

    Since his book was published May 19, 2011, and many of his testimonials date from 2011, it would seem that he has been selling his invention for more than a year and so is barred from patenting it in the US.

    If he does sue Dr Gorski, then I presume that Dr Gorski will require that the “secret treatments” be identified so that they can be evaluated as to whether they are quack-like or not.

    Also it seems that he gives Dr Gorski the perfect “out” for libel, that Dr Gorski is too ignorant to know that what Dr Gorski has written is wrong.

    1. Calli Arcale says:

      IANAL, but I don’t think discovery comes into play unless the case actually goes to court. This would get dismissed so fast any lawyer dumb enough to take the case would probably get whiplash.

  31. daedalus2u says:

    If he has filed patent applications, then he is “protected” once the patents issue.

    If he has not filed patent applications, and he has been selling his treatments for more than a year, then he may be barred from patenting them.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On-sale_bar

    Since his book was published May 19, 2011, and many of his testimonials date from 2011, it would seem that he has been selling his invention for more than a year and so is barred from patenting it in the US.

    If he does sue Dr Gorski, then I presume that Dr Gorski will require that the “secret treatments” be identified so that they can be evaluated as to whether they are quack-like or not.

    Also it seems that he gives Dr Gorski the perfect “out” for libel, that Dr Gorski is too ignorant to know that what Dr Gorski has written is wrong.

    1. Bob J says:

      It is called discovery, and Dr Gorski can request a lot more than just “secret treatments – line financials, medical outcomes, internal emails, certifications.

  32. Woo Fighter says:

    He forgot to finish his legal threat with “Govern yourself accordingly!”

    Seriously, he’s Burzynski AND Marc Stephens all rolled up into one pathetic little man who got butthurt.

    Has anyone sent this to Ken at Popehat? It would amuse him greatly. And when he covers it on his blog, Dr. Frank Arguello can threaten to sue Ken too. Which would also be greatly amusing. And when it gets picked up by dozens of other legal bloggers, well Dr. Frank Arguello can just say hello to Barbra Streisand.

    And he STILL doesn’t know the difference between libel and slander.

    1. Woo Fighter says:

      OK, I just forwarded a link to this thread to Ken at Popehat, with a brief explanation.

      I’m running out to buy some popcorn.

      1. David Gorski says:

        He saw it:

        1. Interrobang says:

          The next time he makes a dubious legal threat against you, consider referring him to the “response as given in Arkell v. Pressdram.”

          IANAL, but I did work for one a few years ago; who do you think introduced me to that joke?

  33. Ken says:

    This is relevant to my interests

  34. Woo Fighter says:

    One last thought on a man who’s not even worth the amount of brain cells I’ve already expended thinking and writing about:

    Just who the gosh darn heck does he think he’s going to recruit to join him in a class action suit against Dr. Gorski? Mike Adams? Dr. Oz? The Food Babe? That Australian organic nut with the bad arm?

    Actually, I would love to see someone like Dr. Frank Arguello TRY to initiate some sort of class action. How would anyone possibly prove the amount of financial impact (i.e. potential lost customers) that one blogger, as respected and popular as he is, could have on someone’s business?

    This really is almost as much fun as the Marc Stephens threats. I sincerely hope we hear from Dr. Frank Arguello again.

  35. jsterritt says:

    1) Your Old Thinking: You want to judge my work with YOUR way of thinking. The treatment and cure of cancer will be accomplished with a new scientific way of thinking and with drugs you have not conceived (outside the box), otherwise you or others would have found a cure for cancer decades ago.

    This “judging”of your work is called “criticism.” In the case of Dr Gorski, it is the well-informed criticism of a peer.

    Question: If one day we find a way to cure cancer medically (with medicines), do you think it will be with the same thinking and drugs we have been using for 70 years in the case of chemotherapy, or 100 years with radiation? Or will it be with a different way of thinking and drugs?

    Straw man argument and red herring. Also, you are begging the question to imply that current (aka “conventional”) treatments are ineffective and on the wrong track, whereas your out-of-the-box thinking — despite having NO evidence to support it — is what will lead to a cure for cancer. This is nothing more than egotistical magical thinking and special pleading.

    All the work that you and others are doing is totally useless and it has been useless for decades. All the genetic and metabolic abnormalities found in cancer cells are not the cause of cancer, they are a CONSEQUENCE of cancer (of atavistic transformation).

    A common tactic of yours is to malign all of oncology. Even if all of oncology is wrong, it does not make you right.

    (2) Your Interpretation of Clinical Trials: It is very easy for you to throw around the word “clinical trials,” not only because you do not understand what a clinical trial conveys, but also because you don’t understand that the new science and correct treatment of cancer. Clinical trials, as you conceive them, are the result of our stupidity regarding study cancer treatments for the last 70 years. I already told you that my clinical proposal and consent form were reviewed and approved by the ethical committee of the hospital where it was initiated. These are called “Proof-of-Concept” study.

    You are the only one who willfully ignores what clinical trials are and what their purpose is. Without clinical trials, your therapies are as unproven as magic beans: you have no way of knowing their effectiveness. None. Aside from your case studies, which are anecdotal and lack even a hint of rigor. You need to prove your approach with data, not wishful thinking and ill-placed confidence.

    Eventually, clinical studies will be carried out, once the therapy is established as such. I already told you, this is an individualized therapy, and evolving therapy consisting of many drugs, and can only be compared with the natural course of the disease. The trial is does it prolog the life of this person when compared with no treatment at all based on historical controls? Current clinical trials are based on responses on the size of tumor or survival time as compared to other past intoxications. Ignoring that people could live longer and better without those treatments.

    Denying patients the best standard of care available — as understood scientifically — is unethical. Your tiny sample sizes of cherry-picked cases cannot hope to provide meaningful conclusions, only confirmation bias and hubris. The idea that treatment must be specific to the individual patient is not yours, it is a standard of oncological care.

    When Ether came into clinical use by Morton in the late 1840s (now we have ANESTHESIA), he did not conduct clinical trials to compare ether with the old method of intoxicating the patient with whiskey to see which was better.

    Galileo gambit and false analogy.

    When Lister introduced the use of carbolic acid in the 1880s for the prevention of infections of surgical wounds or injuries of war, and created ANTISEPSIA, he did not conduct clinical trials to compare carbolic acid with boiling oil applied to wounds as used to be done at that time.

    Galileo gambit, false analogy, and historically inaccurate: many practitioners were unconvinced of the benefits of carbolic acid and other infection-prevention methods, insisting their practices were as good or better. This is a classic case where clinical trials would have determined best practices and saved lives.

    When Sulfonamides and Penicillin were introduced in the late 1930 and early 1940s to treat infected wounds or systemic infections during war, they did not compare them with arsenic or mercury used before those discoveries. These moves created ANTIBIOTIC CHEMOTHERAPY.

    This is just a lie. Penicillin was subjected to rigorous clinical testing.

    ATAVISTIC CHEMOTHERAPY AND IMMUNOTHERAPY cannot be compared with conventional chemotherapy and radiation used today (equivalent to alcohol, boiling oil, and mercury mentioned above). It can only be compared with the natural history of the disease as such. I already told you that conventional chemotherapy and radiation appear to offer less survival time to patients with cancer as compared with the natural history of the disease. We have enough historical controls to prove that.

    Comparing chemo and radiation to boiling oil and mercury from pre-science medicine is a false analogy. You keep vilifying standard, evidence-based treatment by calling it names and likening it to pre-scientific practices. Regardless, the quality of other treatments has NO BEARING AT ALL on the quality of yours. For the record, your hundred-year-old data sets (“historical controls”) are certainly not enough to prove anything.

    (3) Defamation (Slander and Libel): If you express your scientific or vernacular opinions on DCA, marijuana, ketogenic diets, the ugliness of frogs at night, the existence of ghosts, etc., there are no legal consequences for that in the country in which I am a citizen (USA), and the countries you specifically mentioned in your internet piece (Canada and Mexico).

    But when you name a person, a business, a product, brand, a service, etc., you are entering a new terrain protected by laws in each country, and international laws. Although some journalists may be immune to them, because of lawful reasons, you are not. If your comments are made publicly (verbally or written), for example, that Justin Bieber is selfish and rude, and he should go back to Canada, there may be no consequence for that either. But if you express publicly (verbally or written) that Justin Bieber does not sing, but howls, and he should not be hired to sing at any event, then you will pay the consequences of that. Whether you are right or not about his singing, that is your personal opinion. You are potentially ruining his career, reputation, credibility, work, and the financial compensation of his work as a singer. In the case of Bieber, that could cost you millions for libel/defamation for damages in his countries of work.

    This is a first: the Bieber Fallacy. Freedom of speech and press is protected in the US. Without a press and without criticism, idiots like you who would sell unknown and untested therapies to the sick and dying could do so without fear of being caught out at the shameful things you are doing. Feel you are being slandered? Sue away. But know as you do that you are being a thug and a brute who cannot defend their ideas — their scientific ideas — on their merit. Not every time, but <definitely this time: litigation is the refuge of the scoundrel.

    When you publicly state in an international venue, such as the internet, that “Dr. Arguello’s treatment is dubious and it should be avoided,” that will cost you, too. Perhaps not millions as in the case of Bieber, but enough to compensate me for the potential damage caused to my practice now and in the future not only regarding my ability to make money, but for exposing me to hatred, contempt and ridicule.

    You deserve contempt and ridicule for being a quack, for evading the proper scientific channels to show and advance your work, and for selling false hope to the sick and dying. You are part of no solution, only a BIG part of a BIG problem. If you indeed have what you claim to have — a cure for cancer –then for the love of science and medicine and saving lives, tell us what it is. Shout it from the roof tops. Share it with the world. Guarding your precious secret with such jealousy and a paranoid sense of proprietorship are big RED FLAGS (the well-known colors of the cancer quack). You’ll find no sympathy here as you have been mistreated not at all.

    Now, because you dislike Justin Bieber, you are not free to slander and advocate that he should not be hired. In the USA, Canada and Mexico we have “defamatory libel” and “blasphemous/malicious libel.” In Canada, both are crimes punishable by a maximum term of two years in prison. In the specific case of a “libel known to be false,” the prison term increases to a maximum of five years. A defamatory libel “is matter published, without lawful justification or excuse, that is likely to injure the reputation of any person by exposing him to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or that is designed to insult the person of or concerning whom it is published.” I am not interested in jail time, but in the economic damage I am already experiencing because of your posting.

    Cry me a river. I sincerely hope you are suffering “economic damage” as a result of Dr Gorski’s criticisms — then he is doing something good and showing the world that he does indeed care about patients’ suffering. I can only hope you’ll sue me, too, for backing him up. Either way, I intend to back up Dr Gorski and make it as unpleasant for you as possible. SBM doesn’t roll over at threats of legal thuggery.

    I personally believe that all alternative and conventional cancer treatments are in their great majority scams to make money. Conventional chemotherapy is in reality an elegant scam to make money, too, by the industries that benefit from this commerce. Nobody is cured and their lifespans likely reduced. Eventually I will prove and publish this. There is no need to name people, but mistaken philosophies.

    So your first priority is showing that other treatments are scams? Shouldn’t your first priority be showing that you have an effective therapy in the works? This is both classic “what your doctor isn’t telling you” hucksterism and the “everybody else is doing it so why not me” defense. Quack.

    Here’s the correct order: study, then publish, then sell [insert dubious health claim here] to patients, ideally with the approval of recognized regulatory bodies. Currently, you are only selling your own misplaced “confidence” in a wholly unproven treatment. You might as well be selling snake oil. I will again point out that despite your grand conspiracies about “conventional” chemotherapies, you are saying nothing about your own. This is another standard tactic of the huckster and charlatan. If your therapies are really so good as you say, why even waste breath maligning others? Surely, once you PROVE the safety and efficacy of your protocols, the paradigm will shift and statues of you will grace our parks and town squares. Show your work or be called a quack — it’s how things work in your chosen profession.

    I had a short conversation with my lawyer concerning this matter, and it appears that you have been crossing the line and targeting people by name. I am wondering if I should join forces with others as a class suit, or do it alone. The question is how much can we get from you and your cronies?

    In other words: “I won’t sue you unless it’s for big bucks!” Classy. Principled and classy.

    (4) Final Thoughts: Please do not say that I am threatening you with legal action. I am not threatening; I am telling you what I am going to do. I am just tired of discussing this in a mature way with you. I personally feel you are a narcissist and sociopath, who does not help in the problem of cancer, but tries to perpetuate it. You are not qualified to judge this type of work. The real and sad part of this is this:

    You ARE threatening legal action. Amusingly, you are threatening to sue for libelous claims that have resulted in “economic damages.” In the same breath, you libel Dr Gorski and stick a toe into slander as well (i.e., with the “narcissist and sociopath” comments). Good luck with that.

    YOU DO NOT CARE ABOUT CANCER TREATMENTS AS SUCH; YOU DO NOT CARE ABOUT CANCER PATIENTS AND THEIR SUFFERING. YOU ONLY CARE ABOUT DAVID’S IDEAS AND OPINIONS ON HIS WEBSITE.

    This is a false statement. You cannot presume to know what “David” cares about.

    YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND what is to do what I do, the great personal and economic sacrifices I have made to create a potential venue to help people with cancer. This is aside from sharing with them and their families their anxieties, uncertainties, pain, losses and sorrows. As the saying goes, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

    You need to provide solutions or get out of the way.

    Another artful dodge: the “my way or the highway” gambit. You are providing NO solutions. Worse, you are offering false hope to the credulous at a price. Your “challenges” make a mockery of a very serious subject and belie your true reasons for not conducting proper research, publishing in the proper journals, and submitting your work for review and criticism. That’s what scientists do. If you don’t like the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

    1. Poklamez says:

      That’s a very nice and comprehensive analysis of Dr. Arguello’s email. The only thing wrong I found in it was this little snippet: “You are part of no solution, only a BIG part of a BIG problem. ”
      This guy isn’t a BIG part of this BIG problem, he isn’t a BIG part of anything. While what he does and claims is reprehensible, immoral and unethical, he’s just a single crazy practitioner. It is certainly important to criticize these guys and bring attention to medical quackery, but he is just only a very small, relatively-unimportant part of the BIG problem. There is no reason to inflate his ego even more with suggesting that he actually plays a pivotal role in anything, aside from endangering his patients life of course. (and legal thuggery, let’s not forget about the legal thuggery)

      1. jsterritt says:

        Too true. I will be more circumspect in future!

    2. sadmar says:

      On a tangent: both Frank Argghwelloh or jsterritt seem to be suffering misconceptions about free-expression law in the U.S.

      Most emphatically, the First Amendment does NOT guarantee freedom of speech, or provide any generic protection of speech. It merely prohibits the Federal government from legislating restrictions thereupon: “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” If your freedom of speech is abridged by any institution or material conditions that are NOT Congress — say, your boss fires you for speaking your mind — the First leaves you SOL.

      “At the federal level, there are no criminal defamation or insult laws in the United States” (all quotes from Wikipedia, except MI code immediately below). However there are criminal defamation laws on the books in 19 states, Michigan being one.

      THE MICHIGAN PENAL CODE
      750.370 Falsely and maliciously accusing another.
      Falsely and maliciously accusing another of crime, etc.—Any person who shall falsely and maliciously, by word, writing, sign, or otherwise accuse, attribute, or impute to another the commission of any crime, felony or misdemeanor, or any infamous or degrading act, or impute or attribute to any female a want of chastity, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

      As the chastity provision might be a hint, State level criminal defamation statutes “are old laws which are very infrequently prosecuted.” In short, Argghwelloh’s apparent belief that an ADA in Dr. Gorskis jurisdiction might have any interest in pursuing a criminal prosecution is so wacka-loon as to pretty much establish a ‘truth’ defense that anything issuing from Frankie is, in fact, dubious.

      As far as Civil defamation goes, “Defamation law in the United States is much less plaintiff-friendly than its counterparts in European and the Commonwealth countries.” The burden on the plaintif is extraordinarily high, and for ‘public figures’ such as Justin Bieber the burden is virtually a mountain.

      One defense is reporting information as a general warning of dangerous or emergent conditions, and intent to defame must be proven. Also, the truth of the allegedly defamatory statement will always negate the claim (whether because the plaintiff fails to meet his/her burden of proving falsity or because the defendant proves the statement to be true).

      The first part of that is a bit fuzzy, in that the ‘intent to defame’ that must be proven is not merely an intent to harm, but to harm unfairly. More to the point is the plantif’s burden of proving falsity. Good luck with that, Frank.

      Finally, let there be any doubt that Argghwelloh’s invocation of possible litigation are mere woofing, I shall note that the pragmatic realities of litigation tend to trump the fine points of the law itself. Specifically, pursuing a defamation suit costs a hella lot of money. Civil attorneys typically take these cases on contingency, meaning a) they believe they have good chance of winning, b) the defendant has very deep pockets such that the attorneys’ percentage of a settlement will pay for their very-expensive time. Alternately, they would generally only represent a plantif who could provide a guarantee up front of payment-at-hourly-billing-rate, regardless of outcome. I suppose there might be a shyster out there willing to represent FAQ (you know what the ‘Q’ stands for, heh, heh) on the prospect of gaining title to some valuable real estate in Los Cabos, but if I were Dr. Gorski, that would worry me not at all.

  36. Missmolly says:

    Oh man. This guy used to be a real oncologist, and here he is in addendum 4 writing about ‘a cure for cancer’ like it’s a thing; like ‘cancer’ isn’t multiple different distinct entities, each requiring different treatments…
    I don’t know how you can go from a professor of paed onc to this without mental illness as the cause. I was all fired up to be enraged, but now I’m just sad :(

  37. Marni says:

    Well, at least he didn’t use his French on you!

    “Now go away, or I shall taunt you a second time!”

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        La vache?

        1. Calli Arcale says:

          “Fetchez la vache.”
          “Quoi?”
          “Fetchez la vache!”

          (French knights go away, then come back leading a cow. Cut to our English knights on the ground outside the castle, making one last attempt to reason with the French.)

          “I order you in the name of God . . . .”

          (Cow is catapulted over the battlements of the French castle.)

          “Jesus Christ! Run away! Run away!”

          (Cow flattens one of the hapless porters while the brave knights flee and the French knights giggle.)

          There’s a lot of lovely ridiculous dog-French in that bit.

          1. Calli Arcale says:

            Oh, I see Dr Gorski has posted the YouTube clip of the same. Well, in case your Flash is broken, there’s how I remember it above. ;-)

          2. Chris says:

            The words uttered before cows are catapulted at silly English peoples in a Monty Python movie.

            Loosely translated as: fetch the cow! Followed by video of flying bovines enunciating plaintive “moooo”s while being flung through the air. It is all on the poignant documentary on pte-Renaissance era life titled “Monty Python the Holy Grail.”

            1. Calli Arcale says:

              I remember distinctly when I actually finally paid enough attention to hear what the French knights were muttering to one another when the wooden rabbit is presented to them.

              “Qu’est-ce que c’est?”
              “C’est un lapin! Un lapin de bois!”
              “Quoi?”
              “A rabbit!”
              “Ah, oui.”

              “C’est un cadeau!”
              “Quoi?”
              “A present! Allons-y!”
              “Quoi?”
              “Let’s go!”

              Cracks me up every time.

  38. Rich Woods says:

    Are insults and invective supposed to be more stinging when they’re delivered in French?

    Mais oui!

    1. David Gorski says:

      Go away, or I shall taunt you a second time.

      1. JLI says:

        In all probability, there will be no more addendums: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZwuTo7zKM8

        1. David Gorski says:

          You would be wrong. See Addendum #5.

          1. sadmar says:

            Hopefully, Dr.s Weaver and Yoo are aware that Wayne State University is not in Ohio.

            “I have contacted a law firm which specializes in libel and slander via the internet.” Hmm, and if you’re trying to intimidate Dr. Gorski’s bosses, why would you only mention that you “contacted” a firm, and not mention anything attorneys might have mentioned about the viability of your case? Maybe because they giggled at your complaint. Or maybe “contacted” means you left a message in the office voice-mail box or just dropped them an email?

            “…it is impossible for a lawyer not to see the direct connection between his defamatory work on that website and you in the same line of work.” Huh? Weaver and Yoo have a commentary website? What sort of “direct connection” is this imaginary attorney supposed to argue in light of the first clause of your sentence which states Weaver and Yoo “do not support or review [Gorski's] writing on [Gorski's] website,”?

            I conclude that Popehat’s gag about Arguello’s view of the judgement-capacity of members of the bar is actually an insult to Weimaraners.

            http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/ntw-mla000311-william-wegman-and-man-ray#.U_U-IgUF-Ro.link

            (With this info about the names of Dr. Gorski’s superiors, I trust our blog host is immune to Spoonerism, lest he introduce the bosses as “Yeaver and Woo.”)

          2. JLI says:

            Hm….. I was wrong indeed. And I should have known better. Thinking back, MAS was quite persistent too.

            When will these clowns learn, that if they can argue science, then that is all they need to do? All the rubbish may be a bit amusing at first, but then it simply just becomes rubbish.

    2. Frederick says:

      Well, as insult goes, French have a much wider range of words you can use to say the same thing, you can poetically insult people. Add some of Our Quebec Slang ( which use a lot of catholic swearing and couple of Quebecized english and france’s French words) and you can have a really good insults. But France slang also got really nice insult, they sound more “classy” .

      Nothing funnier than hearing English speaking person trying to pronounce french correctly! Matt Damon was HILARIOUS
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4YeNaijcCc

  39. David Gorski says:

    Hilariously, Ken at Popehat has commented on Dr. Arguello’s rather bizarre legal concepts of defamation, slander, and libel:

    http://www.popehat.com/2014/08/20/atavistic-oncology-doctor-develops-new-and-exciting-theories-of-defamation-law/

    1. KayMarie says:

      I may need another cup of coffee to untangle this, but did I catch some logic that seems to go.

      1. My work is way too advanced to be published in the peer-reviewed lit.
      2. Thus he publishes his evidence and work on the interwebs.
      3. Other doctor must only discuss his work in the peer-reviewed medical literature.

      And gosh you don’t come across as delusional enough to confuse a blog or a website with a medical journal.

      Maybe if he’d publish in the peer-reviewed lit rather than promote hisself on the interwebs he’d get more commentary in the peer-reviewed lit?

      I mean it can’t be that he can’t stand that if he (or his prospective patients) google him his is not the top hit, can it?

      1. Gemman Aster says:

        This is something that often confuses and frustrates me about so many fringe luminaries. Especially as I am personally very open to advances and new blue sky.

        Yes. Okay. Its possible your magical whatever only SEEMS to be wrong because it contradicts something that is an accepted pillar of current science. However, surely the steps leading up to your heroic breakthrough can be broken down and themselves used as incremental shifts – each now verifiable by the current state of the art – towards your proposed new paradigm.

        The real problem seems to be so many of these quacks want to leap in one step and ignore all that comes in between, You can see that mentality at work with this chumps refusal to publish and be reviewed:

        “You can’t understand me because the only way you could do so is if you already understood me…”

        He sounds like a colossal egoist.

  40. Ernie Gordon says:

    Arrgh! I drop by here having my interest piqued at Popehat only to discover that Arguello is practicing in my neighborhood – Frederick, MD. That’ll teach me to stray from my favorite bullying busting forum in the future. But nice job with the site, Dr. Gorski.

    1. David Gorski says:

      Fear not. Dr. Arguello hasn’t been in your neck of the woods since 2000. Just check out his CV on his website. Or you could just look more closely at his signature, which says FORMER Senior Scientist at NCI. He hasn’t worked at the NCI since 2000.

      1. Farrah says:

        He actually does still live in Frederick, Maryland. He lists his house (which you can see on Google maps) as his “US Office” on his website. He doesn’t actually see patients in Maryland though. Just conducts other business like emails, having patients send their records to him at his house, etc.

  41. Calli Arcale says:

    Oh goodie, he sent another letter! Alas, I am out of popcorn.

    See how reasonable he is? “I perfectly understand that you do not support or review his writing on his website, but it is impossible for a lawyer not to see the direct connection between his defamatory work on that website and you in the same line of work.” He *understands* that Gorski’s work stands alone, but y’know those lawyers, right? Man, they’ll sue *anybody* once you’ve hired them. Poor ol’ Arguello just won’t be able to restrain them.

    Good lord, how does this man actually function in life?

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Heh, I bet Dr. Gorski’s bosses are super impressed that Arguello is basing his interventions on theoretical work carried out over a century ago. Because unlike faith, scienctific progress is enhanced by an idea being old.

      Good lord, how does this man actually function in life?

      He unethically charges desperate, dying cancer patients large case fees for unproven medical interventions with drugs that have no evidence of success and cost only pennies per dose. That’s my interpretation.

  42. Gemman Aster says:

    Surely one cannot think this kind of aggressive and adversarial childishness is the best way to advance your case, even if you DO hold a belief that the current method of scientific verification is flawed? Even if in some alternate reality Arguello were to ‘win’ his argument, he would still have lost.

    And anyway. Its easy for him to win – publish and be damned. If current scientific method or instrumentality cannot quantify how his treatment works. Fine. That is always a possibility no matter how small; new technology and more sensitive instruments come along all the time, even if they are often a gilding of the lily or a refinement of the same underlying science. In that case describe scientifically how those ‘flawed’ methods could be changed so your brand of magic IS detectable. Do that and you won’t need a peripatetic Nobel laureate to scrub his boots on your doormat, you’ll be one yourself!!!

  43. David Gorski says:

    Note that there is now an Addendum #6, as Dr. Arguello continues to threaten and cajole.

    1. Sawyer says:

      He believes that his website is a Medical Journal and that he is the Editor, but in reality this is just an unsophisticated venue for him to insult people and release his frustrations as a failed cancer researcher

      This is absolutely hilarious. I’m not at all surprised that Dr. Arguello believes this, or even that he has the nerve to say it here, but why on earth would he even include this in a letter to your coworkers?

      “Hi people I’ve never met, please trust my assessment of your employee that I also barely know. He’s a loser. Trust me. It’s not like you have any knowledge about cancer and never interact with him to judge his work. Did you even know he has a website? He’s a meanie too. ”

      And I can’t stop laughing at his email signature. I know it’s a bit unfair to go after him since it has nothing to do with his work, but it reminds me of overachievers I knew in college that decided to try to cram their resume into every single email. It did not look professional, but I never had the heart to tell them.

      1. MadisonMD says:

        And I can’t stop laughing at his email signature. I know it’s a bit unfair to go after him since it has nothing to do with his work.

        I cannot believe he would use “former Assistant Professor.” This title is unwanted by young academics everywhere who, in general, prefer to replace “Assistant Professor” with “Associate Professor.”

    2. Chris says:

      I love his last line: “If you want to talk about that subject of atavistic oncology, submit your paper to a peer-review medical journal.”

      I am sure that along with the recent Cell publication, that the SBM editors have enough data to write one about “maverick” doctors who treat cancer patients with dubious methods… and how they seem to not get shut down by legal or medical regulatory agencies.

      I wonder if Dr. Arguello realizes he is not the only one who has been scrutinized here.

  44. Woo Fighter says:

    I’m surprised Doc Arguello hasn’t pulled a “Sheila” yet and complained to the Michigan Medical Board.

    I’d love if some, or all of the Deans on the doc’s list would respond to him the same way Jimmy Wales at Wikipedia did to whining homeopaths. No political correctness, no polite detachment. Just tell him, until he proves otherwise via accepted and recognized scientific standards, he’s a quack.

    1. MadisonMD says:

      I’m surprised Doc Arguello hasn’t pulled a “Sheila” yet and complained to the Michigan Medical Board.

      First he has to figure out that Wayne State isn’t in Ohio. I expect the name of the University was seriously confusing since there is no state named, Wayne. In fact, the closest one can find is “Washington State” and “Wayne’s World,” and finding a competent lawyer in the latter is a bitch.

    2. David Gorski says:

      I’m surprised Doc Arguello hasn’t pulled a “Sheila” yet and complained to the Michigan Medical Board.

      Give him time.

      In the meantime, I fully expect he’ll be sending more e-mails for your entertainment. The next one will take this post over 10,000 words, only around 3,500 of which are mine.

      1. Gemman Aster says:

        ‘…other websites that end in .org’… Seriously??? SERIOUSLY…???

        You have been rather busy Dr. Gorski with all those ‘.org’ pages you write!

  45. Calli Arcale says:

    “If you want to talk about that subject of atavistic oncology, submit your paper to a peer-review medical journal.”

    You first, Dr. Arguello. You conceal your methods with the sort of zeal one would normally expect of a paranoid chef, which is hardly the act of an honest scientist — or any sort of scientist, for that matter. It is, however, a very popular act of quacks.

    Honestly, the most defamatory stuff posted in this article is your own e-mails, sir. I’m sure you’d love to have your littel temper tantrums removed, as they are quite embarrassing. Including no doubt the one at the start where you specifically asked Gorski to open up this sort of dialog, challenging him to post your e-mails so you could have a public discourse on the subject of atavistic oncology. Yet rather than defend atavistic oncology, you decided increasingly impassioned legal threats was the right course of action.

    Do you have even the slightest idea how bad you are making *yourself* look, Dr Arguello? There’s really nothing Dr Gorski could do to make you look worse. Simply posting your words for the world to see is more than enough. You are being hoist on your own petard, sir.

    Which is a bit of a dirty Shakespearean French pun, actually. So it’s a bit appropriate since you were threatening to speak French at Dr Gorski. Petards were shaped explosive charges used by military engineers to break through enemy fortifications back in those days, but the word comes from the French word for farting,and Shakespeare actually wrote it as “petar”, so I think you can see where Shakespeare was going with that. It is a good summation of the quality of your “dialog” above.

  46. MadisonMD says:

    If you want to talk about that subject of atavistic oncology, submit your paper to a peer-review medical journal.

    Great idea. As soon as he publishes, I will be sure to dictate a letter to the editor. But I am seriously confused about the legal implications. Would critical talk in a peer review journal constitute slander or libel?

    Fortunately, I have not yet actually experienced legal issues over this. However, last time I talked in a journal, the librarian asked me to leave.

  47. jsterritt says:

    “If you want to talk about that subject of atavistic oncology, submit your paper to a peer-review medical journal.”

    Double standard much? I thought this guy had no peers. He can run his big, fat, ignorant, charlatan mouth on his website and on his road shows (aka fishing expeditions for credulous sick people), but if you want to “talk about that subject,” you have to author a paper and get refereed into a “peer-review medical journal”?! Nice. I’m no journal editor, but what kind of upstanding medical journal would touch this subject with a 10-foot science pole? Just sayin’…

  48. simba says:

    The bit about peer-reviewed medical journal being the only legitimate place for criticism of his methods seems like it could be interpreted as: “Please talk about MEEEEE somewhere that will make me look legitimate! I know that If I try and publish something I could end up getting butthurt or looking like a loon, and that sounds like too much work too, but if someone else does it I can talk about my ‘controversial’ treatment which has been mentioned in This Scientific Journal.”

    Maybe I’m reading too much into it, maybe he’d throw a similar hissy fit if that happened.

    1. jsterritt says:

      I thought that, too. Arguello is dismayed that he’s not getting anything out of this Gorski dustup. I mean, it’s not even contributing to the scientific literature on Atavistic Oncology. Also, money and properties, please!

      He seems to want others to do a lot of work for him:

      “I would love to share all the information now, if a large institution agrees to do the work, compensate me for my patents, and put me in a leading position to continue with this work. I hate to keep traveling to Los Cabos.”

      Arguello is a patently stupid medical fraud with a dangerous sCAM on offer. The best Dr Gorski can do is to disinfect this quackery with sunshine before Arguello’s sad, small cult of personality can do more damage.

      Good job!

      #scurrilouslawsuit

  49. David Gorski says:

    And I now learn that Dr. Arguello has contacted two of my deans. He’s apparently learned, though. He didn’t cc: me on the e-mail, as he has in the past. However, the Dean forwarded the e-mail to me. It’s the same one he sent to my department chair and CMO; so there’s no point in doing another addendum. The guy really is pathetic.

    1. Lytrigian says:

      I assume the deans are treating his email with all the consideration it truly merits?

      1. Johnny says:

        I don’t think that’s possible. Unlike snail-mail, you can’t use e-mail foe a$$wipe.

      2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        Sounds like they need to upgrade their spam filters.

  50. Brett Williamson says:

    I found Dr. Arguello’ perspective on chemotherapy rather bizarre.I would think there is an issue with his conclusion that posits an entire body of science as a scam from a ethical, if not legal, point of view.

    Specifically, his written comments: “I personally believe that all alternative and conventional cancer treatments are in their great majority scams to make money. Conventional chemotherapy is in reality an elegant scam to make money, too, by the industries that benefit from this commerce. Nobody is cured and their lifespans likely reduced. ”

    The last statement is readily refuted by one survivor of cancer that is cancer-free following conventional cancer treatment (me being one.)

    I find it particularly disgusting that someone purporting to be a Doctor dismisses the entire body of science related to cancer treatment. Perhaps any governing medical bodies should reconsider the validity of his accreditation.

    While I am not a doctor nor an expert on medicine, involvement in a public challenge related to the patient from Hamilton, Ont., I am fairly confident, would not stand up to scrutiny of the Clinical Practices Guidelines issued by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. The challenge is also likely in contravention of the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 for Ontario. Both are easily checked and likely steps Dr. Arguello hasn’t considered nor undertaken.

  51. ab says:

    Dang! I was hoping to find “addendum #6″ here today.
    Have a great weekend Dr. Gorski. Thanks for all you do.

  52. nutrition prof says:

    I was looking, too-maybe the guy takes the weekend off?
    Thanks from me, too

  53. Hmm says:

    Persuading himself that traditional chemotherapy is ineffective and even harmful is probably the only way Dr Arguello can sleep at night. If you know on some level that you’re selling phony medicine to desperate cancer patients, thereby preventing them from receiving evidence-based treatment, how else can you convince yourself you’re not a murderer?

    1. PMoran says:

      “Persuading himself that traditional chemotherapy is ineffective and even harmful is probably the only way Dr Arguello can sleep at night”

      Exactly so. That ALL conventional treatment is ineffective, or very nearly so, is part of the collection of beliefs (and, as you imply, half-beliefs) that help sustain the whole alternative cancer industry.

      And, of course, this is largely true with some kinds of cancer.

      This is why we have to be so precise and specific as to what kind of cancer we are talking about and what benefits we expect (cure, palliation, etc) when we make our own claims. We want people to be similarly discriminatory if they are going to consider CAM, and many will whatever we say.

      The first few decisions that the “‘alternative’-susceptible” patient makes are the most critical ones for both the prospects of cure, or for reasonable palliation. Note how some of this fellow’s patients with breast cancer have gotten themselves into potentially irretrievable situations through making very wrong choices early on in their illness.

      I have put up a working version of my analysis of Gonzalez’ cases in his recently published “One Man Alone” book, if anyone is interested.

      http://www.users.on.net/~pmoran/cancer/One%20Man%20Alone.htm

      1. MadisonMD says:

        Thanks for the link, Peter. You clearly demonstrates how even a series of 50 anecdotes can be highly misleading when examined in detail singly. That must have taking a good deal of effort.

        Arguello is simply assembling his own series of anecdotes to the same ignominious end.

  54. Betty says:

    The first comment on the study, way back there, compare untreated patients with inoperable patients. Surely those are separate cohorts?

  55. Gemman Aster says:

    Damnit! Nothing new yet,

    Come on Arguello – your audience is waiting!

  56. Vicki says:

    How can Dr. Arguello think that he has been defamed and that he is on safe ground when he calls all conventional cancer treatments scams? I suppose the bit about “in my opinion” and “the great majority” might protect him from a suit by a surgical oncologist, but he clearly thinks that it’s ethically okay for him to call oncologists scammers. Even if it didn’t get the suit thrown out, a jury might be persuaded by a defense attorney showing that Dr. Arguello thinks that’s appropriate comment by one doctor about another.

  57. Carly Hill says:

    How are you feeling now, Mr. Gorski? How are you going to spin this one?

    You are the worst kind of shill. Time to stash your cheese and scurry back under the rug.

    1. LouVeha says:

      Tsk, tsk, pay attention. He is not a shill, he is a magnate.
      I don’t even see why there would be a need to “spin” anything here, Arguello’s letters are embarrassing enough on their own.
      (Like : “But what type of review should I anticipate from peer-review journals when I am not their peer? “, then later “If you want to talk about that subject of atavistic oncology, submit your paper to a peer-review medical journal.”
      That made me use my french too : “Mais il est c** ou quoi ?” )

    2. Gemman Aster says:

      How is he feeling? I don’t know; perhaps as entertained as the rest of us?

      1. simba says:

        I think one of the best ways to embarrass Dr Arguello would be just to post up his letters, no commentary . They are patently those of a loon. No magnateism needed.

  58. nutrition prof says:

    I keep going back & forth refreshing comments from here and Dr G’s not so secret blog o’ controversy! I gotta stop this and get a life!

  59. Badly Shaved Monkey says:

    Dr G, has it all gone quiet on the Arguello front after his splurge of emails?

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