Readers of the Townsend Letter may have an interest in what got me involved
When I was age 15 in 1926, my mother at age 40 was suffering from pernicious
anemia. She was bedfast and white as a sheet and not expected to live for long.
A young Baptist minister was looking after her salvation in light of her expected
early death. One day he came running up our front steps saying that everything
was going to be "alright."
Two doctors at Harvard, Murphy and Minot, had taken 46 patients with late-stage
pernicious anemia and fed them one pound of liver a day. All 46 of them had
completely recovered in three weeks' time, showing no sign of anemia.
They had published the results in the Journal of the
American Medical Association in 1926 and the Baptist magazine had picked up the story.
I was doing most of the cooking and we all began to eat liver three times a
day and my mother was fully restored in three weeks' time. Her doctor,
when told of eating liver for pernicious anemia, said 'ridiculous, doctors
do not learn medicine from the Baptist magazine.' My mother lived to
It was of interest to me that doctors took almost no note of the discovery
of Murphy and Minot and very few patients with pernicious anemia were told
by their doctors to eat liver.
In 1926 we had 10,000 deaths in the USA from pernicious anemia. In 1934 we
still were having 10,000 deaths from pernicious anemia. In 1934 Murphy and
Minot won the Nobel Prize for Medicine for their discovery of 1926. Did that
get doctors to tell patients to eat liver for pernicious anemia?
What happened was that drug firms came out with a liver extract to be injected
in the buttock five cc at a time. The cost was $5.00 an injection and was most
painful. My mother was told by her doctor that at last something could be done
for her anemia. One injection was enough for my mother. She continued to eat
The injections of liver extract did some good and by 1938 we were having only
4,000 deaths a year from pernicious anemia where there could have been none,
had all pernicious anemia patients been eating liver each day.
Then in 1948, young Karl Folkers, PhD working for Merck discovered vitamin
B12. Injections of one cc a week would completely prevent pernicious anemia.
Merck sold it to doctors, putting an end to over 10,000 deaths a year from
pernicious anemia worldwide.
In 1926 doctors were not reading medical journals and that seems to have changed
but little today. Doctors today learn medicine from the sales people of the
major drug firms and from little else. I will give a few examples:
See my letter in the TLfDP in the April 2000 issue on the anticancer effect
of cimetidine. Cimetidine is a wonderful drug for cancer treatment. Smith Klein
had done most of the work to find the anticancer effect of cimetidine but when
the patent on it ran out, Smith Klein shut up like a clam and will do nothing
to foster cimetidine for cancer treatment. There is absolutely no use for this
wonderful drug in cancer treatment. There are now about 20,000,000 patients,
worldwide taking cimetidine for stomach distress and this may be having the
effect of reducing cancer among them.
I will not review all that I have in my letter in that issue in 2000. I will
review a bit of it: The first indication of the anticancer effect of cimetidine
was from the University of Nebraska and reported in The
Lancet in 1979 (i p
822-3). It reported on two patients with lung cancer. Both were given cimetidine
for stomach distress. Both had dramatic complete remissions from cancer. In
one patient, the lung cancer was a metastasis from a squamous cell carcinoma
on the neck. The lung metastasis was most aggressive. The patient was given
cimetidine, 1,200mg a day. Almost at once there was a regression of the lung
metastasis. The patient was maintained on cimetidine, 600mg a day and one year
later, the tumor could no longer be detected.
A second patient had a brain metastasis from a non-small cell carcinoma primary
of the lung. The patient was given steroids for the brain tumor and cimetidine
600 mg a day. Very soon after she was given cimetidine, the lung tumor decreased
in size. The brain tumor was removed by surgery and one year later the lung
tumor no longer could be detected. The patient was continued on cimetidine
at 600 mg a day.
The authors said that there was no indication in the medical literature that
cimetidine is an anticancer drug but there was no doubt in their minds that
cimetidine was responsible for these two remarkable remissions of lung cancer.
By 1982 it was understood that cimetidine inhibits T-suppressor cells and helps
to liberate our cancer-killing lymphocytes. A report from Ireland was in The
Lancet, 1982 (11, p 328), of the treatment of four melanoma patients: All were
far advanced with metastases in the internal organs, in the lungs and liver.
One young man had severe stomach distress, with many tumors. He was given cimetidine,
1,000 mg a day and almost at once he had regressions of his many tumors. In
two weeks' time, he was able to return to work.
At this time, their other three patients were given cimetidine, 1,000mg a day.
Two of them had dramatic remissions of cancer. One patient was not helped and
died. All these patients were tested for T suppressor cell counts. All had
their T suppressor cells decreased by cimetidine. All four of these patients
were being maintained on coumarin. There had been no benefit from coumarin
although the doctors there thought that coumarin may have acted with cimetidine
to produce these remissions.
Then there was a report in the NEJM in 1983, vol. 308, pp 591-2. The report
was from Sweden. Here, six melanoma patients were being treated with interferon.
There was no benefit. These patients all had cimetidine added to treatment
and there were some exceptional results. There were two complete remissions.
One patient had a partial remission. With a fourth patient, progression was
stopped. With two patients, there was no benefit.
It is in the area of colorectal cancer that there is a pressing need for treatment
with cimetidine. During a major surgery, there is a vast increase in T suppressor
cells which is highly immunosuppressive at a time when cancer surgery may be
sending a shower of cancer cells in the blood to all parts of the body.
A trial on cimetidine during surgery for colorectal cancer was done in Australia
and reported in The Lancet in the December 31, 1994 issue pp 1768-9. Cimetidine
was given for seven days only at the time of the surgery. The results were
utterly astounding. At three years the survival of the patients who got cimetidine
was 93%.Of the ones who got no cimetidine, the survival was only 59%. One could
surmise that this treatment might be of great benefit in surgery for other
kinds of cancer.
There was a trial in Japan reported in The Lancet in the July 8, 1995 issue,
p 115. Here the patients having surgery for colorectal cancer did not get cimetidine
during the critical seven days at the time of surgery when there was a surge
of T suppressor cells. In this Japanese trial, the patients were not given
cimetidine until two weeks after the surgery.
Cimetidine has anticancer effects other than the suppression of T suppressor
cells. In the Australian study, more of the cancer cell killing lymphocyte
entered the tumors, 63% in the ones who got cimetidine and only 24% in the
controls. Cimetidine also inhibits histamine which is also immunosuppressive
and may be a tumor growth factor.
In the Japanese study, all patients at two weeks after surgery were given 5
fluorouracil, 150mg a day. Half of the patients received 800mg a day of cimetidine.
This treatment lasted for one year after surgery. The results were even better
than in the Australian study. In this study, rectal cancers and colon cancers
were reported separately. Among the rectal cancer patients, 100% of those getting
cimetidine survived, whereas only 53.3% of those survived who were not given
cimetidine. Among the colon cancer patients, survival among the patients given
cimetidine was 96.3%. The survival of the colon cancer patients who were not
given cimetidine was 68%.
We will have in the USA this year over 50,000 deaths from colorectal cancer.
The implication of these two trials is that if all patients in the USA having
surgery for colorectal cancer were given cimetidine at 800mg a day from one
week before surgery until one year following surgery, deaths from colorectal
cancer could drop from the present 50,000 plus to less than 20,000 a year.
These two studies were reported in 1994 and 1995. It is doubtful in the past
seven years if there has been a single patient to have surgery for colorectal
cancer who was given cimetidine. This supports my contention that doctors now
do not read medical journals.
We will now make a case for dipyridamole. See my letter in the TlfDP in the
May 2000 issue on the anticancer effect of dipyridamole.
The patent on dipyridamole has also run out and the use of it is small indeed.
The European Stroke Prevention Study was reported in The
Lancet in the December
12, 1987 issue, pp 1,371-4. Here it reviewed the many trials on treating stroke
patients with aspirin. There had been no trial of aspirin in stroke prevention
that had shown benefit. That is still true today. As a result, in the Stroke
Prevention Study, aspirin was kept at 1 gram a day and dipyridamole was added
to treatment at 225mg per day. All patients had had a TIA or had survived a
stroke. The duration of the trial was two years.
Adding dipyridamole to aspirin gave results that were so good as to be incredible.
Stroke deaths were reduced by 50% but that was not the end of the benefit.
Deaths from myocardial infarction were reduced by 38% and cancer deaths were
reduced by 30%. It would seem that few if any doctors in the USA have read
or have even heard about the amazing results of the European Stroke Prevention
The sales people at Boehringer Ingelheim which firm held the patent on dipyridamole,
are no longer telling doctors here that dipyridamole tends to prevent cancer
cells in the blood from attaching to the walls of arteries and veins, thus
preventing the formation of metastases. Close to 90% of cancer deaths are caused
by metastases and the message of the sales people at Boehringer Ingelheim was
that dipyridamole at 300mg a day will go far to prevent the formation of metastases.
Dr. E.H. Rhodes of the St. Hiler and Kingman Hospital in Surrey, England had
a report in The Lancet in the March 23, 1985 issue, p. 692 on treating melanoma
with dipyridamole, 300mg a day. Thirty melanoma patients were maintained on
300mg of dipyridamole over a period of 11 years. Of them, 26 had type IV disease
and four had type III disease. The patients with type IV disease had a five-year
survival of 74%. None of the patients with type III disease had died, so for
the 30 patients with type IV and III disease, the five-year survival had been
This was most remarkable for the five year survival of type IV melanoma patients
was only 32% for the whole of England. I established a friendship with Dr.
Rhodes. She was a dermatologist and she was treating only melanoma. She felt
that what the Boehringer Ingelheim salespeople were saying about dipyridamole
preventing the formation of metastases, was true. She felt that if breast,
prostate and colon cancer patients were maintained on 300 mg of dipyridamole,
the same increase in survival as was had with her melanoma patients, would
Dipyridamole is a most harmless drug. It is regrettable that doctors do not
maintain cancer patients in general on 300mg of dipyridamole in the hope of
increasing survival by a factor of two or three, by preventing the formation
of metastases. Perhaps there would also be a substantial decrease in stroke
and heart attack deaths.
Now to the anticancer effect of digitoxin. See my letter in the TlfDP on the
anticancer effect of digitoxin in the June 1999 issue. Also see the letter
from Dr. Johan Haux, MD, PhD in the October 2000 issue on cardiac glycosides
vs alkylating agents in medical oncology.
Here is an old herbal medication that has been used since 1780 to treat congestive
heart disease. It has been found over more than 200 years to be most harmless
at a proper dose.
In the NEJM for February 25, 1982, p 484, Bjorn Stenkvist et al. had a report
on treating breast cancer with digitalis. There were 149 breast cancer patients
in this trial of which 40 were maintained on digitalis. Of them 34 were given
digoxin and six were maintained on digitoxin. As of 1982 at five years, only
one of the patients taking digitalis had a recurrence of cancer. Of the 109
patients who did not take digitalis, there were 21 recurrences of cancer. There
were 9.6 times as many recurrences of breast cancer among the patients not
taking digitalis. It was noted that digitalis made breast cancer cells smaller
and more uniform in structure.
One would have thought that this might have opened up a whole new vista in
the treatment of breast cancer. Such was not the case. Dr. Stenkvist was at
University Hospital in Uppsala, Sweden. He was not allowed to treat another
breast cancer patient with digitalis. What he was told was that no breast cancer
patient should be deprived of the great benefit of chemotherapy or tamoxifen.
He tried with no success, to interest the major drug firms in digitalis for
treating breast cancer. All drug firms that he approached showed no interest
in an old drug on which no patent could be had that cost 17¢ a day for
In 1998, I called the digitalis story to the attention of my friend Johan Haux,
MD who was then with the Institute of Cancer Research and Molecular Biology
at the Norwegian University for Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway.
He at once made contact with Dr. Stenkvist.
Over the past five years Dr. Haux has done an incredible amount of work in
tissue cultures, testing the anticancer effects of digitalis, both digoxin
and digitoxin. He has learned that the main anticancer effect of digitalis
is the induction of apoptic death of cancer cells. He has also found that the
natural digitoxin has a much greater anticancer effect than has the synthetic
By now he has tested the anticancer effect of digitoxin against several kinds
of cancer and found that it inhibits cancer cell growth in several kinds of
cancer, especially in one most hopeless cancer, glioblastoma. This has been
the subject for his doctorate thesis. He has reviewed the possibility for the
use of digitoxin in the treatment of several cancers in Medical
Hypotheses in 1999, 53 (6).
Meanwhile, Dr. Stenkvist has traced nearly all the patients in his 1982 trial
as of 1998. There was only one patient in this trial of 1998 still alive. She
was still free from cancer. She was one of the six to get digitoxin. As of
1998, the number of patients not getting digitalis had increased to 143 and
of the patients getting digitoxin, only 32 could be traced. Of the 143 patients
not getting digitalis, 48 had died of breast cancer or 33.6% of them. Of the
six patients getting digitoxin, none had died of breast cancer. Of the 26 who
had gotten digoxin, two only had died of breast cancer. Of the 32 patients
who had gotten digitalis, only 6.25% of them had died of breast cancer. One
can only say that Dr. Stenkvist's trial on treating breast cancer with
digitalis had been a great success.
In February 23, 1987 I received the following letter from a breast cancer patient,
Sandra H in Wisconsin.
Just a note to let you know how I am doing on the regime you recommended to
me for breast cancer.
I especially want to thank you for your concern, support and encouragement.
It is greatly appreciated. I am very sure that God has a special place reserved
for you. You are a shining example of brotherly love. The regimen I am following
is as follows:
Aminoglutethime 125 Bid
Digitalis 0.125 a day
Bromocriptine 5mg Bid
Coumadin 10mg a day
Cimetidine 300mg a day
Urea 15 grams a day
Azelaic acid 10 grams a day
Chlorella 15 grams a day
Hydrocortisone 10 mg
I am doing very well and feel great. As you remember last December I had surgery
on my right leg for a metastasis from my breast cancer. I had a large tumor
removed and because of this, I am on crutches but I have little pain and I
get around well.
At that time, I was told by my family doctor that I had pleural effusions from
metastases in both lungs. I had bone metastases in my ribs and at several places
in my skull. I was told that I should expect survival of from three to six
months. In March, I had a bowel obstruction that required a major surgery.
They removed my appendix and my ovaries, both of which had metastases.
Now for some good news. When I had returned for this surgery, the metastases
in my lungs had improved in dramatic fashion. The physicians were amazed. This
had taken place between December and March. I had started on this regime the
first of December except for the azelaic acid. I was most fortunate that my
family doctor went along with my wishes. He said that all that I was taking
was utter nonsense and that I must be on chemotherapy at once, however he wrote
the prescriptions for me.
The first week of May, I went to Denver to Dr. Doell who supplied me with azelaic
acid. My family doctor would not even think about my taking azelaic acid and
said that I was insane to take it. So in May, I added azelaic acid and chlorella
to treatment. I definitely feel that azelaic acid has been a great help. I
have felt stronger and more like a normal person from the time that I started
taking azelaic acid.
I was told by my doctor that it was thought that I had a liver metastasis.
I have just had a liver scan and the doctors were amazed at no liver metastases.
I told them it was because of taking urea. They think that I am talking Greek.
They do not think that I am free from liver metastases so they are going to
do another liver scan. They have done another liver scan and again no liver
metastases. They assure me that urea is poison.
It is now September and I feel so good. I do not think that I can ask more
than that. Thank God for people like you who are so willing to help others.
I have spent a lifetime working in the aluminum industry until a
year ago. I have been writing letters of a medical nature as a pastime.
I am sorry that I did not keep in contact with this patient. I recall
a phone call I think from her husband, wanting a new place to get azelaic
acid. She was alright in 1991.
Since I have quoted the letter from Sandra H. some mention should be made of
some other treatments which she used at my suggestion.
Azelaic acid is not considered a drug. It is just a chemical. The first that
I heard of it in cancer treatment was in a report in The
Lancet in the May
24, 1980 issue pp 1109-11 by A. Breathnach et al. of the St. Mary's Hospital
Medical School in London. Azelaic acid was given to patients before and after
surgery for melanoma, 10 to 15 grams a day.
In this report, azelaic acid did have a definite benefit in treating melanoma.
One anticancer effect of azelaic acid it is said, is that it inhibits tyrosinase
and tyrosinase is said to foster several kinds of cancer. Also Breathnach said
that it inhibits the mitochondrial oxidoreductases of the respiratory chain
and of enzymes concerned with DNA synthesis.
I made contact with Dr. Breathnach. He said that azelaic acid is most harmless
and should be used in the treatment of many kinds of cancers. He had a report
in Medical Hypotheses in 1999, 52(3) pp 221-26, with the title "Azelaic
acid: potential as a general antitumor agent." In it he says that azelaic
acid is ideal in the treatment of breast cancer. He was then with St. Thomas
Hospital in London.
Coumadin is a high-priced version of warfarin. It prevents the formation of
fibrin. In 1958, Professor R.A.Q. O'Meara of Trinity College, Dublin
reported in the Irish Journal of Medical Science, 1958, 394 pp 474. He said
that cancer cells give off clotting factors that tend to coat cancer cells
with fibrin. The fibrin coat protects cancer cells from being killed by our
cancer cell killing immunocytes.
O'Meara had a student, L. Michaels, who as a doctor went to Canada. He
reasoned that if O'Meara was right, patients who were treated with warfarin
for heart disease would be having fewer deaths from cancer. He then followed
patients being treated with warfarin amounting to over 1,500 patient years.
There had been expected in this group of patients, eight deaths from cancer.
There was only one such death. This was reported in The
Lancet in the October
17, 1964 issue.
In the issue of JAMA, 1981, (245), pp 831-5, Professor Leo Zacharski of Dartmouth
Medical College et al. reported on treating patients with small cell carcinoma
of the lung with warfarin. Patients were treated with chemotherapy and radiation
alone or with chemotherapy, radiation and warfarin. The patients treated with
warfarin survived twice as long. The patient Sandra H, might have done just
as well if dipyridamole had replaced the more dangerous coumadin.
On the anticancer effect of chlorella, reference is made to a report of Ralph
Moss PhD in his Cancer Chronicles #23 of September 1994. He tells of Dr. R.E.
Merchant of the Medical College of Virginia. He had been giving chlorella to
20 patients with far advanced malignant glioma. Normal survival of these patients
is less than a year. Of these 20 glioma patients taking chlorella, 7 were alive
and doing well at two years. That was in 1990. Merchant reported in 1996, eight
years after one glioma patient started taking chlorella and, the patient was
alive and well.
Bromocriptine inhibits prolactin. It would seem that prolactin fosters breast
cancer in some and perhaps all breast cancer patients. Cimetidine tends to
induce prolactin and this may be bad in treating breast cancer. If a breast
cancer patient takes cimetidine, she should also take something to inhibit
prolactin. However it may be a good thing to inhibit prolactin in the treatment
of breast cancer. Dr. F. Grisoli of the La Timone University Hospital in Marseille,
France thought this to be the case. He and others had a report in The
Lancet in the October 3, 1981 issue pp 745-6. They reported on a near miracle in the
recovery of a woman with breast cancer with a large brain metastasis. She was
given 7.5 mg of bromocriptine a day. In six months' time, the large brain
metastasis was gone and it still was 18 months after the start of bromocriptine
In The Lancet for September 23, 1978 pp 646-9, there was a report on treating
42 patients with well-advanced breast cancer with aminoglutethimide. Of them,
15 were helped in one way or another. Aminoglutethimide causes the adrenals
to stop making both estrogen and prolactin. The results of this trial were
not spectacular as were for example, the remission of the brain metastasis
with the patient treated with bromocriptine.
In the January 25, issue of The Lancet, p 123, was a report by Professor Evangelos
Danopoulos of Athens, Greece on treating liver cancer with oral urea. In this
he reported much success. Since 1974, I have written in several publications
about treating liver cancer with urea, 15 grams a day and have had many reports
of success in so doing.
I had sent the patient, Sandra H, a report in The
Lancet for June 23, 1984
pp 1369-72 from the Royal Marsden Hospital in London. This was a trial on tamoxifen,
compared to tamoxifen, aminoglutethimide, hydrocortisone and danazole in treating
disseminated breast cancer. I had sent it to her as part of the material on
aminoglutethimide in treating breast cancer. I had not suggested to her that
she take hydrocortisone.
Her recovery from far advanced breast cancer was most spectacular. I have told
of the anticancer effects of the various treatments that she used at my suggestion.
Wayne Martin, BS, ChE
25 Orchard Court
Fairhope, Alabama 36532 USA