"The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is." Winston Churchill link
Before you read this post, we have a big favor to ask of our readers. We will be linking to a website written by a family that is being cared for by John Catanzaro. We would ask that, in subsequent comments, the names of these folks not be used. We would also request that you not contact them or comment on their blog. We will edit any comment which includes the name of this family. TWW has not attempted to contact them due to privacy concerns. We also ask that you speak positively of this family in your comments.
A simple Google search of John Catanzaro's name led me to a blog written by a family who, for the purposes of this post, I shall call the Smiths. Ms. Smith received a diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma which has a concerning, long-term prognosis, but strides are being made. The family is reportedly receiving care from both a certified oncologist as well as Catanzaro. TWW requests that you pray for this family. Here is a link to that blog. Update 2/5: I received an email from a family member advising me to take the link down. So, I did. I have the link if proof is needed for these comments….Update 2/6: It appears the family took my advice and made their website password protected. In other words, you can't get there from here even if you had the link.
As stated yesterday, I was deeply disturbed by what I had been reading. It was on the website of this family that I read a number of things that concerned me. For the purposes of this post, I will refer to only a few blog entries since they are relevant to the information I will discuss.
We are preparing for the development of the next immunotherapy vaccine with the Health & Wellness Center. I had a 2-hour conversation on the phone the other day with Dr. John Catanzaro, who talked us through why this vaccine is different and something to be particularly hopeful about… the most significant being that he is now partnering with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston!
The first time that Ms. Smith and I read anything speaking of a CURE for Multiple Myeloma was forwarded by a friend from an article published about advances by doctors at Dana-Farber. This provided us with a great deal of hope, as well as assurance that the treatment we are pursuing with Health & Wellness Center is legitimate. It was SUPER encouraging to hear Dr. John say that he is now partnering with Dr. Ken Anderson at the Dana-Farber Institute to develop the same kind of vaccine for Ms. Smith that Dana-Farber Institute has experienced so much success with. (I included some links below if you want to know more).
Now, let's take a look at an email the Smiths claim to have received from John Catanzaro. Reminder: insurance will not pay for this vaccine.
<April 17, 2013> Reminding you that Ms. Smith HLA testing needs to be set up asap. We need to in three weeks time have her urine sent over frozen to Dana Farber to begin analysis.
HLA High resolution testing should be $700 through Labcorp.
Vaccine Development Cost: The cost for them for the full analysis is $5,000. The cost of peptide development is $5500 and the blood vaccine $5500. The total cost of HLA matched vaccine with cells then is $16,000. This is with the cancer research group sponsoring 50%. Otherwise the cost is $32,000.
The Cost of vaccine development with HLA High Res testing included is $16,700.
Dr. John A. Catanzaro, Medical Director Clinical Research
Health & Wellness Institute
HWIFC Cancer Research Group
What does a couple that does not have a large disposable income do in this circumstance? They begin to fundraise, of course. And concerned friends and family will help them as should be expected. Once again, I am not blaming this dear family for any of their actions. They are the victims in this situation. Here is what they wrote on their blog:
We need your help in raising this $16,700.
When first hearing this figure, I was a bit shocked, but thinking back on the past year… God was faithful to provide. There were SO MANY joyful givers, amazing examples of generosity, and beautiful moments in which we were lifted up and provided for by our friends, family, and an absolutely awesome community of people near and far away. Just looking back at our older blog posts — my worries and temptation to take all of the responsibility on myself have been squished.
If you feel moved to help us, please consider the following options:
Give using a Checking/Savings Account
This can be a one-time donation or you can arrange to have a small amount withdrawn from your bank account monthly for as long as you would like to support us.
Give using a Credit or Debit Card
This is run by our friends at EFT Giving who generously have decided to take 0%, so all of your donation goes directly to pay for Ms Smith's medical expenses.
Tax-Deductible Gifts You can give a tax-deductible gift directly to the Health & Wellness Institute to help us pay for the development of Ms. Smith's vaccine by calling the Health & Wellness Institute at (425)697-6112 with your credit card information, or by mailing a check to the HWIFC Cancer Research Group: Payable to: HWICRG, *Be sure to indicate that it is for Ms Smith
"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." ~2 Corinthians 9:6-8
"Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the LORD." ~1 Chronicles 29:9
Then they provide their readers with information on Dr Ken Anderson (see below).
"Targeted Cancer Drugs Keep Myeloma Patients Up And Running" (February 18, 2013) — National Public Radio recently did this piece on the advances for treating Multiple Myeloma, including an interview with Dr. Ken Anderson from Dana-Farber (who Ms. Smith's doctor is working with). The segment quotes Dr. Anderson stating — "We're close, close, close… that's doctor-speak for a CURE."
Here is one more comment on fundraising:
My vaccine that Health & Wellness and Dana Farber are collaborating on is in the works as well. We have over $10K of the needed $16K raised. Thank you for being SO generous. It really blows us away. I am very excited about this vaccine and feel like we are very close to a possible cure for this nasty disease. We are thankful for the work that is being done by Dana Farber and the doctors at Health and Wellness on my behalf.
Finally, here is an interesting comment. Apparently, Ms. Smith's real oncologist had not been fully on board with Catanzaro's treatment regimen. Actually, the family calls it a feud.
The good news is that her immunotherapy vaccine should be ready this month and her oncologist was MUCH more supportive after learning that the Health and Wellness Center has been working with doctors at Dana-Farber on developing the vaccine. (He personally knows one of the main doctors at Dana-Farber who has been behind much of the research and discoveries in this area). This felt very encouraging to us both as Ms. Smith's oncologist and naturopath doc have feuded in the past and seeing both doctors has been a tension. Getting her oncologist on-board for this vaccine feels like a HUGE answer to prayer!
Please refer to yesterday's post for more background on John Catanzaro. Here are a few of his claims:
- He is working in a private movement with expert Dana Farber Cancer Institute/ Harvard cancer scientists in the area of cancer proteomics and molecular genetics in developing individualized HLA matched cancer peptide strategies through a subcontract with NeoBioLabs, Cambridge Ma.
- (He is) a registered Principle (sic) Investigator with the National Institutes of Health.
- He also completed the NIH clinical research training required for principle investigators.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak with LaTonya at the NIH Office of Clinical Research Training and Education link. She confirmed that John Catanzaro did complete an online training course. However, this course does not certify him to be an Investigator or Principal Investigator. From their website we learn:
Who is eligible to enroll in the course? Anyone who has an interest in the subject matter can enroll in the course.
Will the certificate certify that I can conduct clinical trials? No, the certificate shows that one has an overview of the knowledge presented in the course.
She also assisted me in looking to see whether John Catanzaro is currently a Principal Investigator. She said she was unable to find him listed in the NIH database. I also did the same search at this site with no results. Apparently, a TWW reader did the same thing. Here is the comment by "G":
I have enjoyed reading your site for several months and am happy to be able to offer a bit of information. I work with NIH grants and NIH-funded researchers every day, so I know more about both than any normal person would ever want to know! A few points – 1. There is no such thing as an “NIH-registered Principle Investigator.” First, the term is “Principal” (not “Principle”) Investigator.
Second, a person is either funded by NIH or he/she is not. “Registered” is not a term anyone uses. 2. You can search for NIH-funded grants by Principal Investigator name at this site – http://projectreporter.nih.gov/reporter.cfm I did two quick searches going back 20 years and did not find anything under the name of the person in question.
3. He “completed the NIH clinical research training required for principle investigators” means nothing in terms of a person’s qualifications or the quality of his/her research.
This perceptive reader picked up on two other points:
- The term is "Principal" Investigator, not "Principle" Investigator as written by Catanzaro. (Dee Dee, another reader also brought this to our attention.)
- There is no such thing as a "Registered" NIH Principal Investigator.
While on the phone with the NIH Office of Clinical Research Training and Education, I asked if it was possible that Catanzaro had filled out some form to apply to be a Principal Investigator which had somehow not been entered into the system. She said she had never heard of such a designation of a Registered NIH Principal Investigator.
Dr Ken Anderson of Harvard's Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI)
Dr. Anderson is one of the world's leading experts on Multiple Myeloma — Ms. Smith's diagnosis. Here is a link to Warren Throckmorton's post on the same subject. Throckmorton explained:
With the help of Dr. John Peteet, a friend at DFCI, I was able to make contact with Ken Anderson who replied simply that there is “no connection” between Catanzaro and Anderson.
DFCI's Senior Media Relations Specialist, Teresa Herbert, confirmed this officially (on behalf of the DFCI) in an email to the both of us this afternoon at 4 pm.
Good afternoon Warren and Dee,
Dr. Ken Anderson and John Catanzaro are not working on any projects together.
Teresa Herbert, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Teresa M. Herbert
Senior Media Relations Specialist
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute | Department of Communications
450 Brookline Avenue, OS-382A | Boston, MA 02215
We expect to hear more from Teresa Herbert and DFCI as they are currently investigating further claims allegedly made by Catanzaro. When that occurs, we will post it here.
NeoBioLab, Cambridge, Massachusetts link
I spoke with PC Zhu, PhD & MBA of NeoBioLab yesterday. He made the following statement to me:
Like most scientific reagent companies, we provide reagents for research use only, and do not conduct the experiments on live patients through our company.
The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation link
According to their website:
The MMRF relentlessly pursues innovative means that accelerate the development of next-generation multiple myeloma treatments to extend the lives of patients and lead to a cure.
This wonderful organization keeps its fingers on all ongoing clinical trials and advances in the treatment for Multiple Myeloma (MM). I spoke with Shawn Larkin whose duty it is to be aware of all clinical trials. He told me that he was unable to find any listing for a John Catanzaro who is affiliated with an ongoing MM trial.
The information we have discovered is deeply concerning. There is much left to discuss. For now, let me end with a quote from Warren Throckmorton's post. I thank him for all of the assistance he provided as we searched for solid information. He wrote:
According to the information presented by Catanzaro’s patient, Catanzaro claimed that DFCI was being paid to help develop an individualized vaccine. However, since Catanzaro’s lab is not conducting approved clinical trials, it seems odd and frankly hard to believe that DFCI would provide the kind of services Catanzaro claims. Hopefully, DFCI can address this question soon. If there isn’t and hasn’t been a connection, then Mr. Catanzaro may have to explain more than his suspended license to his patients.
Finally, here is a clip from the local news discussing John Catanzaro's suspension.