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From the Townsend Letter
December 2016

Nicholas Gonzalez's 50 Best Case Histories in Print
review by Peter Barry Chowka
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Conquering Cancer: Volume One - 50 Pancreatic and Breast Cancer Patients on the Gonzalez Nutritional Protocol
by Nicholas J. Gonzalez, MD
New Spring Press; New York, New York;
© 2016; Hardcover; $49.95; 392 pp.

At the time of his death on July 21, 2015, at age 67, Nicholas Gonzalez, MD, was finishing the first draft of his magnum opus – the detailed review of over one hundred best case histories that were collected during 27 years of clinical practice in New York City. A majority of Dr. Gonzalez's patients had serious forms of cancer, confirmed by biopsy or other appropriate diagnosis, that were not responding to conventional treatments. Building on the work of earlier innovative clinicians and researchers,1 Dr. Gonzalez, and his long-time colleague Linda Isaacs, MD, treated their patients with customized nutrition and supplements appropriate to each patient's unique metabolic type; detoxification; and large doses of pancreatic enzymes.
Over the years, the long-term survival of many of Dr. Gonzalez's patients, as well as the results of a pilot study of the treatment's results published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer in 1999,2 suggested that he and Dr. Isaacs were succeeding where most other physicians who treated cancer had failed. After more than a quarter century of research and clinical practice, the book of case reports would be Dr. Gonzalez's ultimate effort to lay out all of the evidence for other medical professionals and serious readers to consider.
After Dr. Gonzalez was laid to rest, his widow, Mary Beth Gonzalez, set to work readying the manuscript for publication. She enlisted as co-editor Colin A. Ross, MD,3 a widely published psychiatrist who specializes in trauma-related disorders. Dr. Ross had published several detailed articles4,5 about Dr. Gonzalez's work and was serving as the editor of a special section in a medical journal devoted to Dr. Gonzalez.6 He was also closely in touch with Dr. Gonzalez at the time of his death. Dr. Ross was a natural choice to edit and contribute to this first of two planned volumes of Dr. Gonzalez's best case reports.
In addition to the editing, Dr. Ross wrote one of the introductions to the book (the other one is by Dr. Gonzalez) and two of Dr. Ross's articles are included as appendices. These three articles represent major contributions to the book and are very valuable on their own.
In his introduction to Conquering Cancer Volume One, Dr. Ross notes, "We have only lightly edited Dr. Gonzalez's writing – a first draft – for typos, format, and occasionally for minor grammatical errors he didn't get to correct himself. The book is his."
The 50 case reports of breast and pancreatic cancer in Conquering Cancer comprise over 300 pages and are the core of the book. They reflect an impressive accumulation of a quarter century's worth of evidence of the value of Dr. Gonzalez's approach to treating cancer. The research and writing were an ambitious undertaking, and the writing of the book was over ten years in the making. It is a serious effort, and the care and attention to detail, as well as the success of the therapy itself, are clearly apparent.
The best case series as a metric for establishing the credibility and significance of an alternative therapy has gained increasing mainstream acceptance in recent decades. Almost sixty years ago, alternative cancer treatment pioneer Max Gerson, MD faced a decidedly uphill battle with his book A Cancer Therapy: Results of 50 Cases.7 By the 1980s, the climate was changing and the Office of Technology Assessment's (OTA) Unconventional Cancer Treatments,8 a report on its five-year-long study, noted, "OTA considers the best case approach potentially useful as a formal way to present evidence that could be useful to support carrying out appropriate clinical trials of unconventional treatments."
H2 AbsorbIn the early 1990s, the new Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM) at the National Institutes of Health included the concept of the best case series among the criteria for considering further study of an alternative treatment.9 Interestingly, in the summer of 1993, after less than six years in clinical practice, Dr. Gonzalez was invited to present a collection of his best cases to a National Cancer Institute Division of Cancer Treatment (DCT) working group. The OAM's bimonthly newsletter AM Volume 1, Number 6, July 1994, published his report, in which he wrote: "On July 7, 1993, at the NCI, I presented 25 histories of my 'best cases': patients with diagnosed, biopsy-proven cancer who enjoyed either documented regression of disease or long-term survival on their nutritional protocol."10

As a result of his presentation, Dr. Gonzalez was encouraged by officials at the NCI and the NIH to publish a report of his best cases in the scientific literature. In 1999, he and Dr. Isaacs did so in the peer reviewed, Medline indexed journal Nutrition and Cancer. Eleven patients with pancreatic cancer treated by Dr. Gonzalez and Dr. Isaacs showed survival considerably longer than would have been expected with standard conventional chemotherapy. The positive results of this preliminary pilot study, which gained national media attention, resulted in the NIH and the NCI approving an unprecedented $1.4 million grant for a prospective clinical trial of the therapy practiced by Dr. Gonzalez and Dr. Isaacs.11,12
Unfortunately, the trial was plagued by problems from the outset and was never completed. In 2012, Dr. Gonzalez published an entire book about the complex situation that deep-sixed the clinical trial titled What Went Wrong.13 The controversy surrounding the failure to complete the trial lends even greater significance to the publication of Conquering Cancer Volume One, which stands as the most detailed and extant record of the success, significance, and potential of the Gonzalez therapy.
A caveat: Conquering Cancer is not a how-to book. Dr. Gonzalez's treatment was highly individualized and customized to the needs of each patient. At the present time, Dr. Gonzalez's long time colleague Linda Isaacs, MD, in New York City is the only licensed medical professional offering a version of the therapy that Dr. Gonzalez, with her assistance, pioneered.
ProTheraFor the open-minded clinician and medical researcher and the serious student of innovative natural approaches to treating disease, Conquering Cancer Volume One is a major contribution to the medical and scientific literature and will, I am confident, take its place along with other notable ground breaking works of the past. The second volume, documenting the treatment of other forms of cancer and several other diseases, including diabetes, is scheduled for publication in 2017.
I should add that I had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Gonzalez and reporting on his work more times than I can count over a 25-year period. During the last decade of his life, he often mentioned that he was working hard on his collection of case histories.14 To finally be able to hold this book in hand now is a wonderful and permanent reminder of the work of an amazing clinician and an exceptional human being.

© by Peter Barry Chowka
Peter Barry Chowka has reported on issues and personalities in national politics, the media, popular culture, and alternative medicine since the 1970s.

1.     Gonzales NJ, Isaacs LL. The Trophoblast and the Origins of Cancer: One Solution to the Medical Enigma of Our Time. New York, NY: New Spring Press; 2009.
2.     Gonzales NJ, Isaacs LL. Evaluation of pancreatic proteolytic enzyme treatment of adenocarcinoma of the pancreas, with nutrition and detoxification support. Nutr Cancer 1999;33(2):117-124.
3. [Accessed October 4, 2016]
4.     Ross CA. Methodological flaws in the Chabot trial of pancreatic enzymes for cancer therapy. ARC J Cancer Sci 2015;1:1-4.
5.     Ross CA. The trophoblast model of cancer. Nutr Cancer 2015;67(1):61-67.
6.     Altern Ther Health Med 2016;22(4):12-35.
7.     Gerson M. A Cancer Therapy: Results of Fifty Cases and the Cure of Advanced Cancer by Diet Therapy. New York, NY: Whittier Books; 1958.
8.     U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment. Unconventional Cancer Treatments. OTA-H-405. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1990.
9.     Alternative Medicine: Expanding Medical Horizons. A Report to the National Institutes of Health on Alternative Medical Systems and Practices in the United States. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 341-342.
10. [Accessed October 4, 2016]
11.   Chowka PB. Nicholas J Gonzalez, MD, in conversation with Peter Barry Chowka. In: The Gonzalez Protocol. Eagan, MN: InnoVision Professional Media; 2016: 45-55.
12.   Nelson N. Jeffrey White directs NCI's new Office of Alternative Medicine. JNCI J Natl Cancer Inst 1999;91(4):313-314.
13.   Gonzalez NJ. What Went Wrong. New York, NY: New Spring Press; 2012.
14.   Chowka PB: Reporting on Dr Gonzalez for a quarter century: a memoir. Altern Ther Health Med 2016;22(4):18-20.

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