As a doctor, I have to have difficult conversations with patients. And one of the most difficult conversations we doctors can have is when a patient has got pancreatic cancer.
It’s hard to treat and hard to detect. In many cases, patients only experience symptoms after it’s already spread – which is too late.
It’s not just serious, it’s one of the most lethal diseases out there. Famously it took down Dirty Dancing movie star Patrick Swayze in 2009 and Apple CEO Steve Jobs in 2011.
As the third leading cause of cancer-related death, only 20 per cent of pancreatic cancer patients make it past a year. And while the best way to beat pancreatic cancer is to never get it in the first place, that doesn’t turn out to be very good advice if you’ve already got it and you’ve been given just months to live.
The mainstream medical community has thrown its hands up in the air when it comes to late-stage (and end-stage) pancreatic cancer, often ‘treating’ it with toxic chemotherapy that will only significantly worsen the patients’ quality of life. The truth is, there’s really no conventional method of treating pancreatic cancer. Surgery to remove the pancreas is risky and won’t do much good if the cancer has already spread.
Pumping your body full of poison has not been shown to improve your survival rate and will only add to your symptoms. The integrative medical community has made tremendous strides in fighting multiple forms of cancer naturally with therapies like intravenous vitamin C, but there’s another protocol that hasn’t gotten much attention in recent times.
It’s called enzyme therapy, and it’s actually been used by doctors for over 100 years! Long forgotten, it was reintroduced and pioneered in modern times by the late Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez as a nutritional regimen that could be used to treat advanced forms of cancer – including pancreatic.
Although studies of it have been funded by Fortune 500 companies like Procter & Gamble and Nestle, it’s still relegated to ‘new and experimental’ status in the UK and the US (although it’s more common in Europe and around the world).
But if you ask me, I’d rather ‘experiment’ with nutrition – namely, diet, supplements, enzymes, and detox – than with toxic chemicals that kill everything in their wake.
The ‘Gonzalez Protocol’ remains as an option for you if you’ve got cancer and – as many other cancer patients – have exhausted all other options.
The stem cell secret to cancer’s spread
In brief, the theory is that enzymes called ‘proteases’ are missing from some patients, leading to a growth of certain stem cells into cancer cells. But to really grasp it, you’ve got to go back to its beginnings – all the way back to the early 1900s and Dr. John Beard.
By training, Dr. Beard was an embryologist and studied stem cells called ‘trophoblasts’ that occur in the developing foetus. Trophoblasts go on to form the placenta. He observed that the placenta stem cells not only had an anatomical make-up that was similar to cancer cells (called anaplastic), but they also exhibited certain behaviours that are also associated with cancer cells.
For example, they:
• invade the uterine tissue (to make the connection to the uterus)
• build up a vigorous blood supply to support growth (of the placenta)
• will very rapidly reproduce • produce the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).
And many of these conditions have been proven since!
As a result of his observations, Dr. Beard came to believe that cancer cells were actually trophoblast stem cells that have gone awry (in his words, cancer is ‘an irresponsible trophoblast’).
He also noted that around day 56 of gestation, the trophoblast cells lost their ‘malignant’ characteristics and began to behave like mature foetus cells. At the same time, the foetus pancreas began to show evidence of pancreatic enzymes being produced.
Since there seemed no reason for a foetus to develop pancreatic enzymes so early (the nourishment to the foetus has no need of digestion), he proposed that there was another reason for pancreatic enzymes: they were responsible for down-regulating the malignant nature of the trophoblast cells.
This led to his theory that pancreatic enzymes, particularly one called trypsin, could control malignancy in OTHER circumstances. Dr. Beard’s ideas about the similarity between trophoblast and cancer cells were largely forgotten after his death in 1923.
Recently, however, scientific groups (including one at the University of North Carolina and several in Europe) have actually started using placental trophoblasts as a wonderful model for the study of cancer and molecular biology.
What Dr. Beard could not have known in his time was that cancer cells and placental trophoblasts use the same mechanisms to alter gene expression. They also use the same signalling mechanisms and the same substances, called ‘matrix metalloproteinases,’ to invade tissue around them.
And furthermore, researchers have been demonstrating that cancer develops from stem cells gone awry – much like Dr. Beard predicted. This is contrary to the long-held belief that cancer cells are mature cells that have gone haywire and degenerate!
The second part of Dr. Beard’s theory is also slowly being validated. We now know that, in fact, the foetal pancreas does become active at the same time as the trophoblast begins maturing into a placenta.
A forgotten therapy gets a second – and third – chance
So how did Dr. Gonzalez come to discover the work of Dr. Beard and decide to pursue it further?
Well, you can thank a dentist named Dr. William Kelley for that. In the 1960s, Dr. Kelley had developed a four-part programme based on Dr. Beard’s ideas, which consisted of:
1. A whole foods diet
2. Nutritional supplements and glandular extracts
3. Detoxification, including daily use of coffee enemas
4. High doses of pancreatic enzymes
In the early 1980s, Dr. Gonzalez began a student project at Cornell University Medical College to review over 450 cancer patients who had done unexpectedly well on Dr. Kelley’s programme, under the direction of Sloan-Kettering President Dr. Robert Good (widely considered the father of modern immunology).
In 1987, he and a colleague, Dr. Linda Isaacs, began practising in New York City, utilizing his own version of the four-pronged approach developed by
Dr. Kelley, which included:
• pancreatic enzymes in quantity to replace the missing proteases
• animal glandular extracts and nutrients, and
• detoxification including dietary management and coffee enemas daily.
Dr. Gonzalez did make a few adjustments to Dr. Kelley’s protocol, including in the type of enzyme being used. He’d discovered that it was not necessary – and, in
fact, was counterproductive – to use too strong of an enzyme. He also felt that the fat content of the enzyme was critical in adding some cofactors that were synergistic to the pancreatic enzymes.
In addition, he helped to counteract the commonly held belief that proteolytic enzymes would be broken down in the stomach by hydrochloric acid and therefore not absorbable.
Dr. Beard himself felt that enzymes had to be injected to be effective; but Dr. Kelley’s successes with oral enzymes convinced Dr. Gonzalez that the oral route was ultimately superior, and that the enzymes enter the body intact.
In the years that followed, Dr. Gonzalez published lots of case histories showing positive effects of the protocol, even in advanced cancers – and that convinced the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to perform a randomised controlled trial (RCT) comparing the Gonzalez protocol to standard chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer.
In the study, the chemotherapy drug gemcitabine was used on 126 patients with pancreatic cancer, none of whom lived beyond 19 months. Of the 11 patients with very severe stage IV pancreatic cancer or slightly less advanced cancer receiving the Gonzalez protocol, nine lived for one year, four of them for three years and two lived beyond four years, which was unheard of in conventional treatment circles at that time.
Several animal studies have also shown possibilities with this unique therapy, particularly in pancreatic cancer. In one study, utilizing the enzyme therapy on mice with pancreatic cancer, the principal investigator concluded that ‘PPE (porcine pancreatic enzyme) is the first experimentally and clinically proven agent for the effective treatment of pancreatic cancer.’
Dr. Gonzalez continued to publish case histories and develop research models up until his death in July 2015, including 36 patients with advanced cancer who survived way beyond what was predicted for them, as published in the peer-reviewed journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine.
Hope against hope
One of the most encouraging things about this protocol from Dr. Gonzalez is that although he developed it and published research relating to its application to pancreatic cancer, he actually used it in his own practice on all types of cancers.
He even used it to treat autoimmune disorders like chronic fatigue and multiple sclerosis. Because the protocol is ideally customised for each individual, you’ll need to work with a doctor to create the regimen of diet, supplements, enzymes, and detox that best suits your individual needs. In terms of diet, Dr. Gonzalez’s recommendations will sound familiar to you if you’ve read
my writings on the Paleo diet – including eating organic foods, and avoiding packaged foods and refined flour and sugar.
Dr. Gonzalez’s protocol also recommends that you make and drink fresh vegetable juice, which certainly sounds like a healthy dietary habit to me.
The supplements can also vary, but you can expect a mix of vitamins, minerals, trace elements, and antioxidants to complement the accompanying nutritional eating plan.
As I mentioned earlier, Dr. Gonzalez unfortunately passed away last year – and his death has tragically taken away one of our biggest proponents of integrative oncology.
Although Dr. Gonzalez’s loss is deeply felt in our field, the important nature of his work and that of his predecessors continues.
If you’ve been given such a dire prognosis that conventional therapy seems futile, visit www. Dr-Gonzalez.com for more information on this protocol that’s given so many people hope and relief.
Wishing you the best of health,
Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing
Vol. 10, Issue 11 • November 2016
Full references and citations for this article are available in the downloadable PDF version of the monthly Nutrition and Healing issue in which this article appears.