In the 1980s, a young medical student, named Nick Gonzalez, was sent by the Sloan-Kettering cancer center in order to debunk Dr. William Kelley’s claim of a 100% cure rate for pancreatic cancer. However, after reviewing Kelley’s patient records, Gonzalez became a believer.
Nick Gonzalez medical student is now Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez M.D., a New York-based physician, who has received a significant amount of attention for his controversial treatment of cancer.
He first received a degree in English literature from Brown University and worked as a journalist for Time Inc. and as a freelance writer, covering a variety of health-related topics. He became interested in medical research, especially cancer research, while covering these topics.
In 1983, Gonzalez completed postgraduate premedical work at Columbia University and received his medical degree from Cornell University. He worked with Dr. Robert A. Good at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center while in medical school. This is when he became a believer in Dr. Kelley’s cancer work. After receiving his medical degree,Dr.Gonzalez completed his internship in internal medicine at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Gonzalez worked with Good again, from 1984 to 1986 and completed a fellowship in immunology while at University of Oklahoma and All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Dr. Gonzalez has been using his treatment methods since 1987. It’s developed from that of Dr. Kelley, DDS, MS. Gonzalez believes that cancer is caused by poor diet. He also believes the problem is compounded when a person doesn’t eat a diet that corresponds with one’s metabolic type. In addition, he believes environmental pollution and daily stress contribute to health problems.
Dr. Gonzalez’s treatment regimen is based on two major concepts. One is that the pancreas, just like the liver, provides a detoxification via pancreatic enzymes, which helps the body eliminate toxins and help normal cells repair damaged cells. Secondly cancer, as well as other human illness, is related to physiological imbalances created by toxins from food and the environment.
The regimen is complex and is tailored by the practitioner for each specific patient. It involves pancreatic enzymes, derived from porcine sources that are taken orally. It also involves specific diets, vitamin and mineral supplements, extracts of animal organs and coffee enemas twice a day.
Nicholas Gonzalez MD, like his mentor Dr. Kelley has been rejected by mainstream medicine. He has been branded a quack and a fraud by his peers and health fraud watchdog groups. In 1994, he was reprimanded and placed on two years’ probation by the New York state medical board for “departing from accepted practice”.
Nicholas Gonzalez has lost two malpractice lawsuits and in 1997, a New York court found Gonzalez “negligent” for his cancer treatment.
The American Cancer Society believes that there is no convincing scientific evidence that his treatment is effective in treating cancer. But Gonzalez wants his research evaluated by independent scientists. His quest for legitimacy makes him a maverick in his field. He is one among only a few alternative practitioners who are trying to prove that a therapy labeled as quackery has a place in mainstream medicine.
Gonzalez advocates a cancer-treatment regimen of strict diet, enzymes, nutritional supplements and twice-daily coffee enemas which is controversial to say the least. In 1999, he persuaded the National Institutes of Health to fund a $1.4 million, five-year patient study that would test his method against chemotherapy in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. He ultimately won the respect, sometimes begrudgingly, of some mainstream medical researchers and institutions.
Until recently, the medical establishment has either ignored or reviled alternative medicine. That allowed Tijuana to flourish as a mecca for alternative clinics. It has for decades been a haven of poorly regulated clinics and a place for scam artists, but also a place for well intentioned alternative practitioners.
But the growing popularity of alternative medicine has forced the U.S. medical establishment to reconsider unorthodox therapies. In the 1990s, more than two dozen U.S. medical schools and hospitals established centers to study alternative medicine, and to try to integrate it into conventional health care.
The most industrious research effort to date may be the evaluation of Gonzalez’s treatment for pancreatic cancer, a disease that kills nearly 30,000 Americans each year.