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3.  Adventure & Rejection

        This is Act 2, where things don't turn out the way you think.  For the sake of website brevity I'll shift into fast forward... Just the highlights.


The old house at 402 North Main Ave., Tucson.

 


SANA letterhead logo 

        I had been living with my dear grandmother, Gladys Carroll, for 10 years, in the gracious house that her parents had built in 1898, at 402 North Main Avenue, in downtown Tucson.  Her father was one of the founders of the University of Arizona.  402 was (and still is) the last of the old anglo houses in Tucson still occupied by the original family.  She lived on the main floor, filled with wonderful original furnishings and artworks.  And I lived in the basement,  with a tiny bachelor bedroom under the kitchen, and a large, chaotic office and lab under her bedroom.  I had finished my Ph.D. in that office, and had moved on to postdoctoral courses, inventions, and other projects.  That office now became the corporate headquarters for SANA Institute, Inc.  My friend Kathleen McCarthy, a young Tucson lawyer (now one of the best and best known), was very kind to donate her time to help us incorporate.  There were lots of conference calls and letters in the mail.  And Dr. SGA created a logo and printed up cards for us all. 

First SANA meeting with Donatos
First SANA meeting with
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, June, 1987.
(Standing L-R) Dr. Perez Garcia y Bellon 2, SGA MD.
(Seated L-R)
Dr. Perez Garcia 3, Chris Duffield,
Mel Silverman

        I dropped almost everything else in my life, and jumped into SANA activities with all my heart.  There was a trip to Fort Lauderdale June of 1987, where Dr. SGA introduced Mel and me to  Drs. Perez Garcia 2 and 3, and where I helped Mel polish the first patent application.  We wrote and sent around business plans.  We signed an agreement with the Drs. Perez Garcia.  We did a second patent.   We had tons more phone calls and letters between us.   We wrote and talked to lots of people.   We redid the business plan.  But the bottom line is that we never attracted a single investor.  The problem was that IPT is a method, and we couldn't find a business model that would make it easy to make money from a medical method.

        So then, in 1990, we decided to form a nonprofit corporation.  At least we could give IPT away, and be heroes, and make good salaries, or so we thought.  Thus, with the Drs. Perez Garcia included this time, we formed Medical Renaissance Foundation, and went through all the expensive and time-consuming steps to become a recognized 501-c(3) nonprofit organization.  Again, it was an Arizona corporation, with world headquarters in the basement of my grandmother's house.  I was the Vice Chairman of the Board this time.  We had a stunning logo and letterhead, designed by Wes Wait, a Portland, Oregon graphic artist I met through another project, who did the work for free.

        Kathleen McCarthy, when asked once what our company was, replied that we were "a group of eccentric intellectuals".   Dr. SGA wrote papers and went to conferences, trying to get the idea of IPT out there for breast cancer and AIDS.  I did medical library research for Dr. SGA, and helped with everything.  Mel kept focusing on business leads and patent angles.   And all of us did a lot of phoning and meeting with possible funders, investors, researchers, doctors, and patients.   Here are some of the adventures I went through.

No-AIDS button
Button made by 
SGA MD for our
 IPT for AIDS initiative.
[the classified ad]
AIDS & ARC Victims:
 
US physician's 
experimental program 
in Mexico City.  
No charge 
(for limited time).  
Pay your own travel & 
6 weeks expenses.  
Serious applicants only 
call 884-7634.  
Confidential.

        After the Drs. Perez Garcia had success with IPT for treating a couple of AIDS patients, we decided to focus on the AIDS applications of IPT.  In 1987 I met with some AIDS organizers and a group of AIDS patients in Tucson, telling them about IPT.   I put a badly worded classified ad in the Tucson papers, offering free treatment for AIDS & ARC "Victims" in Mexico City, with my home phone number.  But no one answered the ad.  Then I traveled to San Francisco to meet with members of the AIDS medical treatment underground.  These were mostly men, mostly gay, who were searching the world for better treatments, and were trying them.  I told them about IPT, but it got nowhere.   Their doctors weren't interested.  And no one wanted to go to Mexico City for IPT treatments.

        Later, Dr. SGA pushed for us to focus on breast cancer.  I talked to lots of people in this field.  Breast cancer support group organizers.  Foundations.  Not much happened.

I went to the University of Arizona Cancer Center and talked to its head, Sydney Salmon, M.D.   He said something like this:  "Yes, I can see how insulin might have the effects that you are describing.  But it is not a new drug, so no one will make any money from it, and so you will have difficulty finding funding for it.   On the other hand, if you were to come to us with, say, thirty thousand dollars, I have someone on the staff here who would certainly be interested in looking into it."   

I was grateful to have such an honest assessment and explanation of how the established research system works.  Ironically, he died of pancreatic cancer in 1999, probably without ever having read our case studies of pancreatic cancer sent into complete remission using IPT.

I talked with some other high level cancer researchers at the University of Arizona Cancer Center, David Alberts M.D. and Robert Dorr Ph.D., and they actually tried some simple petri-dish experiments, with a drug they were funded to study, but without promising results.   I have not reviewed their experimental design, but I suspect that it had limitations.

        For me, it was an exciting time.  I made IPT the main focus of my actions.  During the day I would write letters and make phone calls.  At night I would stay up late doing research in the University of Arizona medical school library, finding references for Steve's papers.  At conferences I would approach doctors and researchers.

Microsoft

October 24, 1988

Dr. Christopher Duffield, Ph.D.
402 North Main
Tucson, AZ 85701

Dear Dr. Duffield:

On behalf of William H. Gates, Chairman of Microsoft Corporation, I must decline investment in Insulin Potentiation Therapy technology.  After reviewing the information you provided, Mr. Gates does not feel it is compatible with his personal investment strategies.

Sincerely,

Susan F. Raunig
Administrative Assistant
Corporate

OCCIDENTAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION
ARMAND HAMMER
CHAIRMAN AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

April 28, 1988

Dr. Christopher Duffield
402 North Main Avenue
Tucson, Arizona 85701

Dear Dr. Duffield:

Thank you for your letter of April 1st which I reviewed with care and interest.

The work described therein may indeed well have some substance; however, to bring it to the United States, manufacture the drug, test it on a large number of patients, etc., would entail, as you no doubt realize, quite a costly operation.

Notwithstanding, because I am Chairman of the President’s Cancer Panel, I am ethically bound not to involve myself in any projects which may have commercial applications in the field of cancer.

While I regret that I cannot be of assistance, I appreciate your writing me and sincerely hope that you will be able to find a way to carry on with your work.

Sincerely yours,
Armand Hammer

AH : cmj

        We tried contacting celebrities.  I wrote to actress Lee Remick, my third cousin, about IPT.  She had cancer, and was kind enough to write back to me.  Her doctor was apparently skeptical.  She died later.  I sent an information package about IPT and AIDS to Elizabeth Taylor and her foundation for AIDS research.  Never heard back.  We sent information to actor Michael Landon, who was dying of supposedly untreatable pancreatic cancer, telling him about IPT as a possible effective treatment for that disease.  IPT almost got selected for his last efforts, but another therapy won out.  I sent information to Bill Gates.  His assistant wrote a form letter back:  No.   I wrote twice to billionaire Armand Hammer, an acquaintance of my biological father's, who had stated publicly that he wanted to devote the rest of his life to finding a cure for cancer.   He wrote back: No.   I wrote to President Bush, and an assistant sent me an NIH grant application.

        Then there was the time I got a call from a Hollywood promoter who wanted to put on a celebrity IPT telethon.  He talked me into buying a plane ticket to L.A.  There he introduced me to his money man at a window table with a spectacular view, at the penthouse restaurant/bar atop the round hotel tower overlooking I-405 beneath the site of the new Getty Museum.  The money man, who used this table as his office for all the day's meetings, explained how he worked.  He would be very happy to lend us the money for the telethon, if we would pay him his large amount of interest up front, and then pay him back the principal after the show.  My intuition bristled -- what if the event flopped? -- and I got out of there.

        Dr. Perez Garcia 3 moved from Mexico City to Tijuana in 1988.  Once, I went there to try an IPT treatment for myself.  Not having a serious disease, I decided to be a guinea pig and try potentiating cognition enhancing drugs.  This was in the days of a mandatory enema before the treatment.  (Thank goodness that is no longer necessary!)  The nurse had me put on a gown and get in bed.  She hooked me up to an IV drip.   Donato injected regular insulin into the IV line, and gave me tablets of two drugs -- I think they were Piracetam and Centrophenoxine.  Over the next half hour the insulin took effect, at first not noticeable, then speeding up.  I became drowsy and my pulse speeded up.  I saw some green phosphenes -- less glucose getting to my brain.  I began to have a hard time thinking and talking.  It felt like I was distant from the room, slowly and comfortably drifting away from this world. 

        The "therapeutic moment" arrived:  Donato injected some liquid vitamin C -- and I could smell and taste it, an unexpected sensation, as the blood carried it past my olfactory nerves and taste buds.  Then vitamin B complex -- a very strong and different smell.  And finally glucose, which brought me back to normal awareness in just a few seconds.  I actually had some mild symptoms (a slight headache, as I recall) that I had read were symptoms of overdose for one of the drugs.  Donato had given me a normal dose, and IPT had made it into an overdose.  At a drugstore I bought some nutrients (lecithin among them) that are the antidote for such overdose,  and after I took them, I felt really wonderful for the rest of the day, and very good for days afterward.

        According to Dr. Perez Garcia 3's records, the other medications administered to me in my first (and so far only) IPT treatment were:

Oral: 40 mg of Undecanoato de testosterona
100 mg of Nimesulid -antinflamatory-
150 mg of Ranitidina -for gastric irritation-
0.70mg of Yodocaseina -immunologic booster- no longer available
IM: Liver Extract 2 cc - liver protection
IV: 40mg of Cocarboxilasa - memory enhancer
1 gr of Vitamin C
1 ampule of Magnesium & Calcium Gluconate

        Drug companies fund most pharmaceutical research.  So we tried contacting drug companies.    An insulin manufacturer,  drug companies that make drugs that work well with IPT, companies that had experimental drugs that worked well in the test tube but had bad side effects which IPT might be able to eliminate.  No luck.

        As a 1971 alumnus of Amherst College, which has many rich and powerful alumni, I tried following up on some Amherst leads.  The old boy network was only modestly productive.  Our class agent refused to print my story about IPT in the alumni magazine.  I wrote an impassioned letter to David Kessler, class of '73, head of the FDA.  A staff person got back to me, explaining that they were aware of Dr. SGA's efforts, but could not discuss the situation with me.   (In 1996, at my Amherst reunion, I tracked down Dr. Harold Varmus, class of '61, Director of the National Institutes of Health.  I intercepted him on the way to dinner, and gave him my 60 second speech about IPT.  He sort of snorted and sneered and suggested that I apply for a grant like everyone else.)  My classmate Bob Yarchoan, very big in NIH's AIDS efforts, was skeptical about IPT.  So was Teller, of Penn & Teller, class of 1969.  Teller, normally silent on stage, sent me a postcard saying that I should be careful about making unrealistic claims!  To paraphrase a Penn & Teller show title:  Don't try IPT at home.

Medical Renaissance Foundation (MRF) logo
MRF letterhead logo

        I finally scored with Rich Moret, also class of 1969, a public relations and advertising man in Tucson.  He gave us free advice and free help, and some free office space that we never really used.  He connected us with a small group of wealthy Tucsonans.  Dr. SGA, Mel, and the Drs. Perez Garcia flew into town to meet with them.   We paid for a fancy lunch at a private hotel dining room.  I'll never forget the uniformed waiters lifting the silver covers off all our plates at the same instant.   We asked the people for a donation.  They said "Let's make money with this instead."  So we switched to proposing a joint venture clinic in Tijuana.  More faxes, more phone calls, more business plans.  And nothing ever happened.

        Rich also helped us place an ad in the Los Angeles Times on a Sunday.  It was a small ad, about 3 x 5 inches, offering free breast cancer treatment to women as a clinical trial.  It cost us about a thousand dollars, out of our own pockets, of course.  I was ready and waiting, in my grandmother's basement, for the onslaught of desperate patients and clamoring press reporters,  with two 800 numbers and a new telephone headset.  We got something like 18 calls, from doctors and potential patients, and no one was interested enough to follow through.  We placed some more ads in a Palm Springs magazine.   No calls.  And some more ads in some LA weekly newspapers.  Same result.

       In the mean time, Mel insisted that we needed an office in downtown San Diego.  And over my strenuous objections, we got one in a high rise.  It was very expensive, and the rent came out of our pockets.   Not so much out of mine, because I was almost broke.  Mel was the only person who ever used that office.  As I recall, he started flying to San Diego a couple of times a month to help with MRF business, but apparently also to try to expand his patent business from the east coast.

        I did have some success in San Diego.   An older Amherst alumnus kindly donated about $2,000 worth of stock to MRF,  the only outside money we ever received for either SANA or MRF.  Unfortunately, it all went to pay old bills.  And an executive at Scripps Clinic gave me a lead to the president of Johnson & Johnson.  I called him up, and he said he was interested.  But I was burned out by that time, and was losing trust in our team, and did not follow through with an information packet.  I've always wondered what might have happened if I had followed through...

        There came a moment when Mel, Dr. SGA, and the Drs. Perez Garcia and their wives were all in Tucson, for meeting with Rich Moret's potential donors.  And my 89-year-old grandmother was in her bedroom, slowly dying of her final illness.  (She had patiently supported me and listened to me and encouraged me throughout the whole SANA/MRF adventure.   Only because of her could I have become involved.)   I brought everyone to the old house, but they did not feel right about going inside, and she never got to meet them.  We took a group picture out on the lawn.  A few weeks later, I was with her during her final breath, there in the same bedroom where she was born.  It turns out that she may have had colon cancer.   If IPT had been available, she might have lived a while longer.

        Finally, it all fell apart in the early 1990s.   The office in San Diego was the last straw that broke us.   The Drs. Perez Garcia rebelled, and we shut it down.   There were angry phone calls and letters all around.  Communication broke off.    Dr. SGA kept SANA going in name as his personal project, eventually closing it in 1997.  MRF died, and became a mere paper entity in my basement, as I tried to recover my personal finances after my grandmother's death.   The Drs. Perez Garcia were doubly burned.  Not only had they spent many thousands of dollars of their own money on unnecessary expenses, but they were taxed severely and unjustly by the Mexican IRS on the entire MRF cash flow, because their names were among those on the bank account.  We blew apart like chunks of an exploding airplane, each still committed to IPT, but making our efforts part time and on our own.

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