The Dr. Kelley Story
Part 3: Dr. Kelley, Dr. Max Gerson, Dr. John Beard, Madame Curie and Dr. Edward Howell
Dr. Gonzalez speaking:
Fortunately, Dr. Kelley's local library had a copy of Max Gerson's 1959 book called FIFTY CASES. Gerson was an interesting character in medical history. He was a very prominent German physician who during the forties and fifties developed his own personal approach to degenerative diseases involving primarily a diet of raw foods, nuts, seeds, grains, and lots of fresh vegetables juices: 8- 10 glasses a day. With this approach, Gerson had great success with a whole range of degenerative diseases, including cancer. During the thirties with the advent of Nazism, Gerson, being Jewish, left Germany and came to New York and set up his own clinic where for about a twenty year period he continued to have a fair amount of success using this particular diet.
Gerson hypothesized that meat was somehow toxic to the human body and toxic to the liver, and raw fruits and raw vegetables helped the body clean out, stimulated the liver and made the immune system work better. He wasn't too sure of the science, but he did know that the results were good. He published this information in 1959. Kelley was a little ecstatic about this because it provided confirmation that the diet he was on really did have the possibility to work.
Kelley got progressively stronger over a three to six month period, but he had stabilized. He was lucky, as I like to say, he was lucky in a very unlucky way. He was unlucky, of course, because he had pancreatic cancer. But he was lucky in that he had such bad cancer that the tumors protruded from his liver and he could feel them, so he could really monitor his own progress. He knew that when he got lazy on the diet, which he occasionally did, that his tumors would grow within days. And he knew that if he stuck to the diet religiously, those tumors would regress. So he had his own 'tumor marker' sitting right there on his belly since he could feel these tumors. This was very fortunate. But about during the sixth, seventh month, those tumors didn't shrink any more. And just about the time those tumors stopped shrinking, Kelley developed severe digestive problems.
The problem with pancreatic cancer is that it destroys the pancreas. Well, we know that the pancreas does: it produces insulin and it produces digestive enzymes. Without those digestive enzymes, you can't digest food. One of the most common serious problems with patients with any kind of pancreatic disease, whether it be cancer or pancreatitis, is severe digestive problem: bloating, gas, nausea, vomiting, the dumping syndrome, constipation--they just can't digest and utilize their nutrients properly.
Kelley figured there had to be a simple solution to this so he went to his local pharmacy and talked to the druggist who was a good friend of his, who said, "That's no big deal, just use some pancreatic enzymes." He pulled out a bottle of vibrant pancreatic enzymes, we're talking 1964, he said, “Take these, they'll provide the enzymes that your own pancreas isn't producing, a very simple solution, it'll take care of the gas and the bloating.” Kelley, if nothing else, was a man of excess, and if he was going to buy one bottle of the pancreatic enzymes, he was going to buy a hundred. So he bought about ten cases of these enzymes, and that day he started taking them.
He started taking three with meals then four with meals then five with meals and after about three days, he was taking about fifty capsules of pancreatic enzymes with each meal. And he noticed that something began to happen in his gut. Every time he took a dose of enzymes, there was a twinge of pain in the areas of the tumor in his liver. After a couple of weeks on these enzymes, he began to notice that these tumors seemed to actually be softening. In fact, he began to believe that after this period of the stabilization on the diet, they were actually shrinking, and dissolving. He said, "This doesn't make any sense. I take these enzymes, and within half an hour of taking them I feel some pain, some gnawing, something going on in these areas of tumor, but those enzymes are destroyed in the gut. I can't conceive how this is possible. I don't see what these pancreatic enzymes would have to do with those tumors in my liver."
Kelley went back to his local library. Again, Kelley being a scientist, he was never satisfied without finding an answer. He looked up pancreatic enzymes by doing a literature search. And he was fortunate to find a name in the literature, Dr. John Beard, probably one of the most eminent men of the twentieth century and one of the least known men of the twentieth century. John Beard was an eminent embryologist working out of the University of Edinburgh in the 1880s, 1890s and around the turn of the century.
Dr. Beard, like Kelley, started out with no interest in cancer whatsoever. He was an embryologist, who was interested in comparative embryology, particularly in the placenta. His area of expertise was the placenta. Now we know what the placenta is. After fertilization in the mammal, the embryo produces an organ called the placenta which literally eats into the mother's uterus. It serves as an anchor to the growing fetus and it also serves as the connection between the blood supply of the mother which means nutrients to the baby. and the waste products to the baby. There's a point of connection between the blood supplies of the baby and the mother. That's how the baby is fed and that's how the baby gets rid of its waste materials.
Beard was a smart man and he noticed that in the mammalian species that he studied, and he studied dozens, that the placenta would grow into the uterus and would grow and grow and grow and at a particular time in every species, it would suddenly stop growing. In mice it was ten days, in humans 56 days, in every human embryo, virtually to the day, 56 days and that placenta would stop growing, in elephants it was something like 300 days.
Beard was particularly interested in this because he realized something unusual about the placenta, and he was the first person to make this observation, but not the last. He saw the placenta as kind of like a tumor, because indeed it does behave like a tumor. The placenta is a piece of tissue that invades the mother's uterus, much as a tumor would invade the mothers' uterus. Now usually, the placenta reaches a certain point of growth, and stops. But sometimes it doesn't, and in women where the placenta doesn't stop growing, they develop a very serious cancer called chorliocarcinoma that used to be one of the most aggressive cancers around. Fortunately, there is a chemotherapeutic agent, methotrexate, that really does knock it out and now 80 to 90% of these women can be cured. Prior to the advent of methotrexate, it was a very, very deadly disease.
So, there was a tradition of the placenta behaving like a tumor, and Beard was aware of this. And he made the connection in his own mind. He said, "If I could figure out why the placenta stops growing at a certain point, 56 days in a mother, maybe I could figure out a way to stop tumors from growing." It was a great leap of faith, and it led to ten years of research. What he did is, in a variety of animal studies, he investigated the growth and development of every organ system there was - the tissue of the organs, trying to find some connection between the development in the embryo and the cessation of growth in the placenta.
It took him ten years before he hit upon the fact that the only connection that existed, the only thing that changed, for example, day 56 in humans, 10 in the mice, day 300 in the elephants, was the day the placenta stopped growing, the embryonic pancreas started to work. There was no other connection. That's kind of an interesting concept, because embryos don't really need a pancreas. They get all the nutrition they need from their mother's blood supply. They don't need digestive enzymes, they get them for free right from the mother's blood supply. They don't have to chew it or digest it in fact, their digestive system really does not function. It is not needed until the day they're born, and they start eating through their mouths. Again on day 56, which is pretty [rare] in embryonic development, the placenta started working - it started producing pancreatic enzymes. Beard said, “Listen, what possible function could these pancreatic enzymes have other than to stop the placenta from growing? And if indeed they do stop the placenta from growing perhaps, they could stop tumors from growing! “
In November of 1904, Beard presented his hypothesis that pancreatic enzymes represent the main defense against cancer, not the immune system or any other system. He presented it before the Edinburgh Scientific Society. He was almost universally laughed at, and I said almost universally laughed at because there was one very bright army surgeon in the audience who was a cancer specialist. Of course in 1904 there was no cancer therapy other than surgery, and this guy had seen a lot of his patients die. He was willing to listen to anybody, even this crazy embryologist out of Edinburgh who proposed that pancreatic enzymes could cure cancer.
After the lecture, and all the booing and the throwing of tomatoes, this army surgeon went up to see Beard, and said, "I'd like to try your therapy. So Beard and the army surgeon developed some injectable pancreatic enzymes. The first case documented in the medical literature was metastatic laryngeal cancer. Now even today, laryngeal cancer is a really nasty disease. It doesn't have a real good prognosis. This patient had metastatic disease where he had a huge tumor sitting in his throat. The Army Captain injected the enzymes with Beard's assistance over a period of two weeks, and in two weeks that tumor was just thrown up by this patient. They documented it, and it was dead.
This was the first documented case of a patient apparently cured by the use of injectable pancreatic enzymes. It was published in the British Medical Journal and caused an enormous controversy. The usual controversy - the patient didn't have cancer, the results were faked, that wasn't really a tumor, the same things that we hear today. A number of doctors, however, did get interested in Beard's work and over the following years about thirty or fifty papers were published in medical journals, both in the U.S. and in Europe documenting the regression of tumors and in fact some cures, with the use of injectable pancreatic enzymes.
Now you say “that's wonderful but why didn't Beard's work take hold it if was so wonderful?” In fact, in 1911, Beard published a book called "The Enzyme Theory of Cancer," and I think that only about 15 people ever bothered to read it. The reason is that just about the time he published his book, Madame Curie announced that radiation was a safe, non-toxic cure for virtually all cancer.
Madame Curie had a fabulous reputation...and had done wonderful work with radiation. She proposed at that time that radiation was perfectly safe. It would take a generation of radiation oncologists to die from leukemia before we realized that it wasn't as safe as she thought it was. She also was mistaken to believe it would be useful against virtually all cancer. There are very few cancers that are radiation sensitive for any prolonged period of time.
However, Madame Curie sold her work in the world's press that this was the answer to cancer. Thus Beard's work was forgotten, and then he died in about 1920, he died in obscurity. His enzyme therapy was forgotten until Dr. Kelley in 1964 because of the use of pancreatic enzymes given to him by his local pharmacist began to suspect that those enzymes were getting rid of that tumor in his gut.
Kelley realized that there was one problem - Beard said the enzymes had to be injected, that they would be destroyed in the gut. In fact, every medical and dental student who has ever gone through dental or medical school in the U.S. or any other country was taught that all ingested pancreatic enzymes are wonderful digestive aids, but they're destroyed in the gut. They are not absorbed active and intact in the gut - that doesn't happen. Kelley was taking the enzymes orally, and he said, “Wait a minute. Beard said they have to be injected. I'm taking them orally and I know something is going on here.”
Kelley went back to the literature. Lo and behold, in the 1930 and 1940s, there were a whole series of wonderful experiments documenting that oral ingested pancreatic enzyme in both human and animal studies are absorbed active and intact in the gut and do serve wider physiological functions. The easiest way to document this is with a 24 hour urine collection. Feed a patient a huge amount of pancreatic enzymes then collect urine for 24 hours, and you can see how much of those enzymes are going to be excreted in the urine. It turns out that virtually 100% of what you take orally comes out in the urine, not in the intestinal tract, which means they have to be absorbed. With that problem resolved, Kelley began to think about the raw diet he'd been on.
Now remember, his Kelley's therapy began with his mother's vegetarian diet: fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, grains, all raw, lots of juices. He said," I wonder why that diet stabilized me initially?" He was kind of taken by this idea of Beard's enzyme theory, he said, "You know, raw food is a wonderful thing, it's got lots of vitamins and minerals and trace elements and it's loaded with nutrients, and this of course is widely recognized." He said, 'When you cook food", and his mother insisted that the food had to be raw, "when you cook food, you don't really destroy too many of the vitamins and minerals and trace elements - most vitamins and minerals and trace elements are not sensitive to heat."
So Kelley said, “Why does this diet have to be a raw diet? Why did Max Gerson use a raw diet? What is it about raw food that helps cancer patients?” And he kept thinking and thinking and thinking and thinking, and he said, well the vitamins and minerals and trace elements are not destroyed by heat. What is destroyed by heat? The only thing destroyed by heat are enzymes. Raw food is loaded with enzymes; it's just packed with enzymes. Every cell in everybody has at least 50 thousand enzymes, so when you eat raw food, you're getting a load of enzymes. When you cook food, you get nothing. Enzymes are heat sensitive. They're destroyed and inactivated at about 118 degrees Fahrenheit.
So, when we cook food, we don't destroy the vitamins and minerals, but you destroy every enzyme in every cell in that food. It's an important concept when you think about. We're the only species in the history of the world--you know, one billion years of life and evolution-- that cooks its food. Every other species of animal eats raw food except for us. We're so bright that we decided that cooking food is better. We decided that--some anthropologists will tell you that 50,000 years ago, some say a couple of hundred thousand years ago, we started to cook food. It tastes better when you cook it. If you give a dog some raw food or cooked food, it's going to eat the cooked food. But if you eat cooked food, you don't get any enzymes. Kelley was thinking about this, and he said, "You know, I just can't believe that I'm the only person in the history of the world who ever thought about the fact that when you cook food you do something profound like destroy all the enzymes and that might have an effect on health."
So, he went back to the library. Lo and behold, he learned about the work of Edward Howell. Howell was a doctor who graduated from the University of Illinois Medical School in about 1920. A brilliant doctor, great career, except for one thing--he was sick as a dog. I guess maybe if he were alive today, he'd be diagnosed as having chronic fatigue syndrome. He was depressed, he was weak and dizzy, he couldn't get out of bed. No interest in his work. He was fatigued, he had fevers, chills and sweats.
Now when a doctor's sick, it's scary. Doctors always go to the best doctor and try to find out the best answer for what they've got. So, he went everywhere, from Columbia to Presbyterian to the Mayo Clinic. And they told him, "There's nothing wrong with you, you're just too stressed, you don't really want to be a doctor, you need a psychiatrist." Even in 1920, they were telling people that.
He didn't like that answer, he'd spent his whole life learning to be a doctor. Here he was 24 years old with a medical degree and unable to function. Out of desperation--believe me, nobody ever goes to the natural therapists as first choice, they go out of desperation--Howell ended up in a spa run by a naturopath. The naturopath took one look at Howell and said, “You're going on a diet of raw foods. Raw foods meaning vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, and grains.” And now Kelley learned about three different people coming up with the same diet.
Howell was too sick to ask questions. He wasn't thinking very clearly. He went on the diet because he was desperate, and in three months he was virtually completely well. As he got better, he felt strong enough to ask questions, and he asked this wonderful old naturopath, "What is it about raw food that got me well?" And the guy gave him one answer: Enzymes.
In 1920, we didn't know too much about enzymes. We knew some. Enzymes are catalysts. They enable reactions to occur in biological systems with a minimum input of energy. You know, there are reactions that occur in the human cell that if it weren't for enzymes would require 1-2 thousand degrees Centigrade: we would disappear in a puff of smoke. Enzymes allow reactions to occur with a minimum amount of heat and energy input. They increase the efficiency of both biological and nonbiological chemical reactions. "When you cook food", this naturopath said, "you don't destroy the vitamins and the minerals and the trace elements, you don't destroy the fat and the protein: there's as much fat in a cooked McDonald's as there is in raw beef. But you destroy the enzymes."
He told Howell what was known, that all biological enzymes are inactivated above 118 degrees. Well, that struck Howell as a pretty profound concept, and he made the same connection that Kelley made forty years later - that we were the only species of animal in the history of the world that cooks its food, and that might have a profound effect on our health. We all know about the vitamins, minerals, trace elements, proteins, fats and carbohydrates. We never think about the enzymes in food. Howell perceived, and so did his naturopath, and so did Kelley forty years later, that the enzymes in food may be the single most important nutrient in food: the nutrients being required for repairing or rebuilding the damaged tissue, for preventing disease--after all it was enzymes that are the metabolic machinery. And those enzymes may be used in the body for repair and rebuilding.
Certainly, Gerson’s work and Kelley's own diet that he was following courtesy of his mother, prove that there was something in raw food that could lead to health. And it had to be the enzymes. Howell spent fifty years of his life documenting the effects of raw foods on human health. His studies are absolutely profound. He's probably like Beard, one of the most brilliant men of the 20th Century, and like Beard probably one of the least well known because he was outside the orthodoxy and nobody paid any attention to him.