By Marika Sboros
The upcoming world-first cancer summit in Paris opens a new scientific front in the decades-long War on Cancer. The Rethinking Cancer conference runs on September 21-22, 2017, at the internationally renowned Gustave Roussy Cancer Institute.
It brings together for the first time top scientists and clinicians who have been working in silos in different parts of the globe. Their focus will be the under-researched role of diet and metabolism in cancer control and anti-angiogenesis methods. Angiogenesis is the term for growth of new blood vessels that cancer needs to survive and thrive.
Main topics up for discussion are metabolism, caloric restriction and dietary bioactives.
Organisers are Gustave Roussy Dutch director-general of cancer research Dr Alexander Eggermont and French renal specialist Dr Bernard Escudier. The visionary behind the summit is Air France captain and cancer survivor Jean-Jacques Trochon.
Foodmed.net recently published Trochon’s health story in which he explains why he chose to “intelligently delay chemotherapy and radiation” and opted instead for anti-angiogenesis and other complementary therapies.
Changing the world
Trochon believes that the Paris summit will “change the world” for doctors and patients.
Eggermont has been professor of oncology with the status of “Classe Exceptionelle” in the Paris-Sud University since 2012 and Professor of Oncological Surgery at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam (Holland) since 2003. He is the Joseph Maisin Honorary Chair of Oncological Surgery at the Louvain Catholic University in Belgium and holds a Chair in the International Research Network on cancer at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam.
Escudier, a trained cardiologist, moved to the Gustave Roussy Institute in 1983, initially in the Intensive Care Unit. He later led the Immunotherapy Unit, mainly in charge of developing programs in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and melanoma. He now leads the Gustave Roussy’s renal team and develops new strategies, including antiangiogenic drugs, and gene therapy.
Also on the panel of speakers from France is physician, cancer surgeon and scientist Dr Laurent Schwartz. Schwartz is author of Cancer: A Simple And Non-Toxic Treatment, (a book that’s difficult to get hold of) based on the metabolic model of cancer.
European speakers include Dr Rainer Stange, a physicist and an internist and expert in natural healing and physical therapy since 1984. Since 2001, Stange has been part of the Immanuel Hospital Berlin Department of Natural Medicine and the senior physician since 2009.
He works closely with Prof Andreas Michalsen, head physician at Immanuel Hospital Berlin, and professor of clinical naturopathy at Charité.
Charité is one of the largest university hospitals in Europe. It proudly lays claim to more than half of all German Nobel Prize winners in Physiology or Medicine.
Michalsen is doing compelling research on the benefits of combining fasting with chemotherapy for treatment of breast cancer. Early results show that it can make the effects of chemotherapy less toxic and more effective.
US specialists at the Paris summit include Valter Longo, Thomas Seyfried, William Li and Australian-born David Quinn.
Longo is an award-winning researcher, gerontology and biological sciences professor and director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California.
Seyfried, a biology professor at Boston College, in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, does pioneering work in cancer treatment based on the metabolic model. He is author of Cancer as a Metabolic Disease, On the Origin, Management, and Prevention of Cancer. Seyfried believes that in future all cancer will be treated metabolically.
Li works with around 40,000 scientists and doctors globally. His Ted Talk on eating to starve cancer has been translated into 38 languages. He has developed targeted anti-angiogenesis therapies for use after chemotherapy and radiation.
Quinn is an international expert in the field of clinical trials and molecular correlative studies in genitourinary cancer. He is currently the medical director of the Norris Cancer Hospital and Clinics, head of the Section of Genitourinary Medical Oncology. He is also associate professor of Medicine in the Division of Cancer Medicine and Blood Diseases at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine.
European specialists who will lead round-table discussions include Escudier and German biologist Dr Ulrike Kammerer. Kammerer tests and treats patients with brain tumours using the ketogenesis approach with a team of doctors and nutritionists.
Trochon will lead patients in a series of two-minute presentations about their experiences in cancer intervention using a metabolic, fasting, or antiangiogenic dietary approach. These personal “proof of concept” stories establish merit for scientific discussion and investigation, he says.
Trochon started out crowd-funding the conference through his ‘Rethinking Cancer 2017 Facebook page. Thereafter, Air France president, Jean-Marc Janaillac offered Air France’s sponsorship for all travel costs and the ACCOR hotel chain the accommodation costs.
Many of the specialist speakers say that they have been ridiculed by colleagues for their current lines of work. That ridicule has since given way to gurdging respect, they say, even as the angiogenesis movement remains controversial.
It harks back to a quote (wrongly attributed to Mahatma Ghandi): “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” However, a more likely source is a speech by union leader Nicholas Klein in 1918: “First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. Then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you.”
The medical monuments aren’t up yet but the conference could signal a monumental shift in conventional thinking about cancer treatment.
Less toxic treatment
For doctors, it gives the hope of less toxic, more effective treatment methods – and fewer patients calling conventional treatment “worse than the disease”.
Trochon says that it’s all about “recentering” cancer patients in conversations about treatment and options. To that end, he wants patients to take back their rightful power and not to be afraid to question doctors.