One Man Alone: An Investigation of Nutrition, Cancer and William Donald Kelley
By Nicholas Gonzalez, MD
New Springs Press, New York
Oversize paper back, 494 pages
Reviewed by Katherine Smith
Sometimes, meeting one person changes the entire course of your life. For Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez, that person was dentist (and orthodontist) Dr. William Kelley (pictured above).
At the time that they met, Dr. Gonzalez was a second year medical student. He was not terribly keen to meet Dr. Kelley – who had become infamous due to the death of a high-profile cancer patient, actor Steve McQueen who had been suffering from a medically incurable cancer.
Dr. Gonzalez describes their first meeting:
“Kelley was indeed very shy, appearing very uncomfortable, so soft-spoken that initially I had trouble hearing him. We sat together awkwardly in the chiropractor’s consulting office, as I tried to get the conversation going. We talked about his trip across Canada, his romantic break up, and the harassment he had endure over Steve McQueen. When I then asked him about his treatment, very quickly his face became animated, his voice strengthened and the words began to flow. He became a totally different person than the bumbling, nervous man he had been only a minute previously. With great authority he discussed his conceptions of autonomic physiology, the use of diet and supplements to manipulate the nervous system, the British embryologist and researcher John Beard who had first used pancreatic enzymes to treat cancer some 80 years earlier. The ideas came fast and furious, somewhat overwhelming my two years of medical school knowledge. I tried to hold my own, but quickly realized that whatever the press or the world thought about Kelley, he was one smart man.
“Further along into our conversation, I asked him what he wanted, and he answered without hesitation; as he had told my writer friend, he believed this therapy had value, but it needed to be evaluated in appropriate clinical trials in an academic medical setting. If after such testing the regimen proved to be of benefit against cancer, he said it needed to be in the hands of the conventional medical world, where it might be properly studied and made available to those patients who wanted an effective nutritional approach. And if it turned out the therapy had no value, he needed to know that, so he could close his office down and ‘go fishing.’”
Following this meeting, under the tutelage of Dr. Good, then Director of New York’s prestigious Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital, Dr. Gonzalez began to make an exhaustive study of the records of some of the case histories of some of Dr. Kelley’s cancer patients. He examined their medical records and interviewed patients who were still alive – or their families in the case of those who were deceased.
What Dr. Gonzalez discovered was that Dr. William Kelley’s diet and nutritional supplement programmes – tailored according to the metabolic type of the patient; Kelley identified 10 different metabolic types – had been successful in treating people who had been suffering from a wide range of cancers, including two types of acute leukaemia, several types of lymphoma, myeloma, melanoma with superficial metastases, as well as cancers of the ovary, breast, uterus, testicle, kidney, stomach, pancreas, lung and brain. Case histories of people who had all these conditions are documented in the book – along with their medical records, which make very interesting reading. (This being said, the book does not include the records of the treatments that Dr. Kelley prescribed for these patients; information about Dr. Kelley’s approach to treating cancer in One Man Alone is mostly limited to a description of the general principles of his approach rather than supplying sufficiently detailed information that could be used as a clinical guide to implementing this sort of therapeutic approach.)
William Kelley was himself a cancer survivor – having cured himself of pancreatic cancer with a metabolic therapy approach. (In the book One Answer to Cancer that may be read online at this link: http://www.drkelley.com/CANLIVER55.html), Kelley’s daughter recounts how desperation had driven her father to overcome his cancer, and how he survived not just because he wanted to live, but because his wife, who was apparently something of a shopaholic, had neglected to renew Dr Kelley’s life insurance – meaning that his young family would be left penniless if he died.)
Kelley subsequently went on the help other people recover from pancreatic cancer. As part of his study of Dr. Kelley’s patients, Dr. Gonzalez reviewed the records of those patient whose diagnosis was pancreatic cancer; all had metastatic disease when they consulted Dr. Kelley.
Of the five patients who followed Dr Kelley’s recommendations, the man survival was 8.2 years (median survival was 9 years). Four of the five had metastasised adenocarcinoma and one had islet cell carcinoma.
Four of the patients were alive at the time of the study – one had died due to Alzheimer’s disease.
These survival statistic are remarkable considering that with conventional treatment eighty percent of people with metastasised pancreatic cancer die within a year.
Unfortunately, in his lifetime, Dr Kelley received harassment and opprobrium for his temerity in curing the incurable – rather than the respect he deserved. He became increasingly embittered, and, it appears, mentally unbalanced due to the prolonged stress; incapable of distinguishing friend from foe. In the early 1990s Dr. Kelley even tried to sue Dr. Gonzalez but the case was tossed out after Kelley threatened the presiding judge.
For his part, Dr. Gonzalez was magnanimous, writing:
“But I forgave his misguided wrath, brought on by years of rejection by the academic world and the media, and too often their vicious disdain. Despite his eccentric behavior in later years, in his theories of ‘metabolic typing’ and in his use of enzymes and detoxification routines, Kelley was surely on to something. I still think of him as a most brilliant man, perhaps the most brilliant of all the many smart people I have had the good fortune to meet over the years, including more than one Nobel Laureate. But he was so far ahead of his time – perhaps outside his time is a better way to think of him – he simply fell off the edge of the universe.”
With Dr. Kelley no longer practising by the early 1980s Dr. Gonzalez began treating cancer patients based on Dr. Kelley’s methods – including the use of a personalised organic diet, supplements, coffee enemas for detoxification and products containing pancreatic enzymes. (The formulations developed by Dr. Gonzalez for his patients are produced by Allergy Research Group in the USA.)
In his turn, Dr. Gonzalez has become famous for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. In the 1990s, he and his colleague Dr. Linda Lee Isaacs published preliminary results a study in the peer reviewed journal Nutrition and Cancer. (For the abstract, see: http://www.dr-gonzalez.com/pilot_study_abstract.htm)
Like Dr. Kelley, Dr. Gonzalez has also had to weather controversies, such as the fallout following a clinical comparing his pancreatic enzyme based therapy with the standard drug therapy for pancreatic cancer (gemcitabine-based chemotherapy) which was sponsored in part by the US National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Gonzalez states that he believes the trial “fell victim to biases that we believe ultimately sabotaged the study”. *
One Man Alone: An Investigation of Nutrition, Cancer and William Donald Kelley is a fascinating book that should be part of everyone’s professional library.
It is available from this link: http://www.newspringpress.com/whatwentwrong.html
NB: Dr Gonzalez has written a book about this clinical trial called What Went Wrong (see: http://www.newspringpress.com/whatwentwrong.html. )
(This review was first published in issue 7 of The NZ Journal of Natural Medicine.)