By Marika Sboros

The upcoming world-first cancer summit in Paris looks set to open 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 world leaders – top scientists and clinicians working separately – in a vital but under-investigated research area. It is the role of diet and metabolism in cancer control. They are leading what they believe is a major part of the real “revolution” in treatment: anti-angiogenesis methods. Angiogenesis is the term for growth of new blood vessels that cancer needs to survive and thrive.

The conference will, therefore, address three main topics: metabolism, caloric restriction and dietary bioactives.

Organisers are Gustave Roussy Cancer Campus’s Dutch Director General 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. has published Trochon’s remarkable health story. In it, he explains why he chose to delay chemotherapy and radiation “intelligently” and instead, opted for anti-angiogenesis therapies.

Trochon believes that the summit will “change the world” for doctors and patients.

Prof Alexander Eggermont

All the speakers on the summit programme are exceptional leaders in a paradigm shift around cancer treatment.
Alexander 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 also holds a Chair in the International Research Network on cancer at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam.

Since 2001, Eggermont has filled the Joseph Maisin Honorary Chair of Oncological Surgery at the Louvain Catholic University in Belgium.

Escudier is a trained cardiologist who 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 leads the Gustave Roussy’s renal team. His main fields are RCC, immunotherapy (cytokines, vaccine), and developing new strategies (antiangiogenic drugs, gene therapy). Escudier has also been principal investigator of many RCCs, from phase I to III.

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,  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.

Dr Ranier Stange

Stange is researching at the Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics at the Charité University Medical Center in Berlin.

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.

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.

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. His fields of research involve identifying  molecular pathways conserved from simple organisms to humans that scientists can modulate to protect against multiple stresses and treat or prevent cancer

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 continues to ruffle scientific and medical feathers by declaring that in future all cancer will be treated metabolically. 

Dr William Li

William Li is a founder member of the US Angiogenesis Foundation and a student of the late Dr Judah Folkman, a pioneer of anti-angiogenesis. Folkman is widely acknowledged as the “father” of the idea that you can keep tumours in check by cutting off the blood supply they need to grow.

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.

Quinn 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 that the conference topic merits scientific discussion and investigation, Trochon says.

Air France captain Jean-Jacques Trochon

When it came to financing the Paris cancer summit, Trochon started out crowd-funding through his ‘Rethinking Cancer 2017 Facebook page. It wasn’t long before the injection of support came streaming in from more conventional sources.

Trochon asked for a meeting with Air France president, Jean-Marc Janaillac. Janaillac immediately offered Air France’s sponsorship for all travel costs. The ACCOR hotel chain is sponsoring accommodation costs.

Many of the cancer specialists working in anti-angiogenesis and metabolic model fields have experienced laughter and ridicule from their peers. That laughter and ridicule have since given way to respect 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.”

Research suggests a closer version from a speech that union leader Nicholas Klein gave in 1918: “First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you.”

The monuments aren’t up yet. However, the conference could signal more movement in a monumental paradigm shift taking place in conventional thinking about cancer treatment.

“Imagine knowing about foods and other substances that can fight or save you from cancer,” Trochon says.

For doctors, it gives the hope of less toxic more effective methods. It means less chance of cancer patients describing conventional treatment as “worse than the disease”.

Trochon aims to “recentre” cancer patients in the middle of conversations about their treatment and options. At heart, he wants to help patients to take back the power that is rightfully theirs and not to be afraid to question doctors. He also wants to spread the message of hope that conventional medicine often unthinkingly destroys.

He especially hopes to teach people how not to get ill in the first place. After all, prevention really is so much better than cure.