American Cancer Society Repudiates Pittsburgh Cancer Clinic

Various authors

Summary: In the late 1940s, the Drosnes-Lazenby Naturopathic Clinic in Pittsburgh began reporting some amazing results regarding cancer treatment. After the founders of the clinic successfully reversed tumors in guinea pigs using the secretion of a specially developed microbial culture, they began administering the treatment to people who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Remarkably, many of the individuals—given no chance to live by conventional medicine—recovered. With the work fully supervised and documented by medical doctors, the clinic approached the American Cancer Society (ACS) to do more extensive testing of its treatment. Astoundingly, the ACS, without investigating the clinic’s patient cases or analyzing the microbial secretion, proceeded to publicly denounce the Drosnes-Lazenby treatment as a hoax. The ACS then banded with the American Medical Association to “inform” physicians and their patients that the Drosnes-Lazenby treatment had been “thoroughly investigated” and that the clinic operators were effectively frauds and profiteers (neglecting to mention that the clinic was not even charging for its services). Yet, as this collection of writings published in 1950 by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research attests, the successes of the Drosnes-Lazenby Clinic were well documented, revealing just how far the conventional cancer-treatment industry has gone to protect its “turf” against competition—regardless of the consequences. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprints 18E and 8-50A, 1950. Multiple original sources.

[The following is a transcription of the original Archives document. For clarity the articles have been rearranged relative to their order in the original document. To view or download the original document, click here.]

American Cancer Society Repudiates Pittsburgh Cancer Clinic

[Article #1:]

PITTSBURGH CANCER TREATMENT

Transcription of a 1950 radio report on the Drosnes-Lazenby Clinic by Mr. Frank Edwards, commentator for the Mutual Broadcasting System.

Editor’s note: It gives us pleasure to reproduce here, by special permission, the scripts of Mr. Edward’s two broadcasts over the Mutual Broadcasting System on “The Pittsburgh Cancer Treatment,” which since 1947 has created such intense interest. It is especially gratifying to note the clear, analytical, and impartial reportage by this outstanding commentator—also that an important part of the press, usually so subservient to organized medicine, has carried fair and impartial reports of this important medical experiment. This marks an important step in the advancement of free medical science.

[First segment of report]:

Washington, DC, February 15, 1950

Did you ever talk to a person who was supposed to be dead? I did that very thing today—not once but several times. I picked up the phone and put in a long distance call to a woman who was supposed to die in a Pennsylvania hospital in the first week of December 1949, a hopeless cancer victim. But instead of dying, she has gained weight, and the malignancy has decreased. Today, more than a year after she cheated death, she was in Muskegon, Michigan, taking care of a sister who is ill.

What happened to her nobody knows exactly. But the same thing that happened to her, whatever it is, is the same thing that enabled these other patients to cheat death—and to puzzle the medical profession. Here is the story, an up-to-the-minute report on this current phase of the endless battle against death from cancer.

I have before me the photostats of several hospital case histories of people who are still alive although they were pronounced hopeless cancer victims long ago. I am indebted to radio station KQV of Pittsburgh, which broke the story in August 1947, and to its news directors Bill Burns and the manager Jim Murray. I am also indebted to the Pittsburgh Sun Telegraph and to the various doctors and surgeons with whom I discussed this matter. The Pittsburgh Independent also carried articles.

Story Made Public

The Pittsburgh Sun Telegraph in its Christmas issue of 1949 carried a photograph of Mrs. Harry Day, who lives at 3415 Seventh Street, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. The caption over the picture says, “Doomed Mother Greets Yuletide After Clinic Cancer Treatment.” The picture is of Mrs. Day and her daughter trimming their Christmas tree. This Mrs. Day was a cancer patient at Beaver Falls General Hospital. After two major operations, the hospital felt that they had done everything possible and regarded her as a hopeless case. On December 20 she was released by the hospital and told that she had only a short time to live. That was in December 1948. Yet today when I called her home in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, I had to get the call transferred to Muskegon, Michigan. She is now in Muskegon, feeling good—has gained twenty-five pounds in weight, she told me—and is up there caring for a sister who is ill.

Let’s look at case number two, that of Karen Gillespie of 601 Delaware, Oakmont, Pennsylvania. In May 1948, a Pittsburgh hospital biopsy diagnosed her case as tumor of the brain. She was in a coma, paralyzed by the growth inside her head. Surgeons had performed three operations and decided they could not finish the surgery or she would die on the table. The doctors told her parents in June 1948 that she might possibly live three months but the case was hopeless. The child was paralyzed and unconscious for five months, in a deep coma. Today that little girl is recovering the use of her limbs. She sits up in a wheelchair, sings, writes, listens to the radio, and takes a bright, active interest in life. She has no pain and the swelling is receding, her father told me this afternoon. Karen Gillespie, cancer victim who was scheduled to die in the fall of 1948, is alive today and enjoying life.

Three Months to Live 

Another case—that of little Sandra Schooley, daughter of Jack Schooley of 26 Coulter Street, Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Sun Telegraph and [radio] station KQV both carried reports of her fight to live. On January 14, 1949, the hospital told her parents the cancer on her cheek would kill her in three months. Yet last Christmas Sandra posed for newspaper photographers as she told Santa Claus what she wanted him to bring. And today when I talked to her mother, Mrs. Schooley said that the little girl was playing around the house like any healthy child—the swelling in the jaw had been reduced [and her] general condition is good. Sandra has already cheated death by many months and gives indication of continuing the winning fight.

Next case—and I have the photostatic copies of the hospital biopsy before me—is that of Mrs. Daisy Hansen, fifty-three, admitted to a Pittsburgh hospital in March 1948, biopsy showing cancer of the cervix; treated and sent home. Readmitted May 1948; treated and released. Cancer determined. Admitted again in August 1948; cancer diagnosis confirmed; treated and released as incurable. Yet when I talked with her last Thursday, Daisy Hansen was doing her housework and making pies. Felt fine, she said—and no wonder: I have before me a photostat of an examination made by her own physician in August 1949, one year after she was sent home to die, and the report shows, “Internal examination reveals no evidence of malignancy at this time. Mrs. Hansen has gained weight and is now free of any pain.”

All Cancer Patients

All of these people have several things in common. They were all cancer patients, examined and treated by qualified medical experts and released as incurable. All of them were given a short time to live—yet every one of them is alive and improved tonight long after their allotted time. They all had cancer, as their hospital records prove.

And after they had been given up by the various hospitals, which could do no more for them, they were all treated at a little free experimental cancer clinic in Bloomfield, a section of Pittsburgh. The clinic has had a hectic career. It is opposed by the local medical society there. The two people who started it, in the basement of a Catholic church with the aid of a friendly priest, were convicted of practicing medicine without a license. But last week the court declared that the jury had erred in convicting them and granted a new trial. In the meantime two respected physicians, both graduates of the Pittsburgh University Medical School, have been donating their time and skill to the clinic. Nobody gets paid at that clinic, and they will treat only cancer cases that have been given up by hospitals. The treatment is free, but the patient must have a biopsy showing that he does have cancer and it has been pronounced incurable.

And the treatment? Just “the extract”—a bitter brown extract from a mold that is grown on a mixture of wheat, yeast, and salt. Nothing radical about that, for penicillin too is made from a mold that grows on a mixture of organic salts and molasses. Mrs. Lillian Lazenby, who had an idea about this mold, was a hospital dietician. Mr. Philip Drosnes, who provided the original funds for the experiment, is a tire dealer.

The official medical group in Pittsburgh won’t touch it with a ten-foot pole, but several physicians who have sent patients to the clinic as a last resort are admittedly amazed. The chief chemist of one of the nation’s biggest pharmaceutical companies said to me, “I am thoroughly familiar with the clinic and the cases. It’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. I can’t explain it.”

Treatment Not Cure

Please note this carefully. I am merely reporting to you the facts that I obtained from the doctors, the hospital records, and patients themselves. Nobody is calling this treatment a cure. It is at this stage only an experimental treatment offered without charge to hopeless cancer victims. The doctors donate their services, and neighborhood contributions have kept the clinic open, but it is now in financial difficulties. The fact remains that [thanks to the clinic’s treatment] former incurable cancer cases are still alive and free of pain months after their allotted time, as indicated by the records I have given you tonight.

[Second segment of report]:

April 18, 1950

On the night of February 15, I reported to the nation the gratifying and unusual things that were happening in a little cancer clinic in Pittsburgh. I told you that the clinic had had a hectic career and had been kicked around in court—although the judges later dismissed the verdict and granted them a new trial.

They [the cases mentioned in part 1 of the report] all had two things in common. They were terminal cases, which means that they had been told that ordinary medical procedure could do nothing more for them, and they had all, in desperation, been treated with an experimental mold extract at the Drosnes-Lazenby Clinic in Pittsburgh.

The clinic will treat only terminal cases. It will treat them free of charge. Nobody at the clinic receives any pay. The office help and the doctors donate their time in the interest of humanity, in the hope that they can at least add a little to the life of a hopeless cancer case.

In that first broadcast, I read to you the case histories of several cancer victims who were living from a year to two-and-one-quarter years after they were expected to die. Two middle-aged women, two little girls, and a seventy-five year old man were included. They are all alive tonight, all feeling good. Their records are open to inspection by any interested party.

More Cases Now 

To that list let us add the case of Mrs. Sophie Panza, 1973 Clinton Avenue, Bronx, New York. The New York hospital record shows that she was operated on several times for cancer until she became too weak to stand another operation. Given two months to live, [she was] sent home to die in January 1949. [She then] became an experimental patient at the Pittsburgh clinic. [She] was examined by the hospital in New York in July of last year. The hospital report said she had made definite improvement. Today, Mrs. Panza is alive—ten months after she was expected to die. She is by no means well and sound, but she is free of pain, able to visit her friends and family and do her housework.

A few minutes ago, I talked with a priest in a little Pennsylvania town. His father was operated on several times for cancer in a Pittsburgh hospital. In April 1949 the hospital report recommended another operation. The priest and his brother took their father to this much maligned little clinic in Pittsburgh to be given free experimental treatments with this mold extract. Today, this priest told me that his father is in A1 condition, active, and works around his little farm. He has regained all his weight and his appetite. I am not using the name because the victim was never [officially] told that he had cancer.

I have the photostats of the hospital records and the recorded conversation with the priest in my possession. I have a similar case here, dealing with an elderly businessman in Pittsburgh. One of his relatives is connected with a newsgathering organization. That old fellow never knew that he had cancer of the intestines. His family declined to permit a colostomy and took the patient to the office of one of the doctors who donates his time to this clinic. The victim is alive and well today, going to the synagogue, walking downtown and back to take care of his business interests. As the relative said to me a while ago, “I didn’t shoot my father…I took him to that free clinic as a last resort.” 

Life Despaired Of

Take the case of Jimmy Murphy, 4653 Carroll Street, Pittsburgh 24, Pennsylvania. He was thirteen years old when the hospital diagnosed the ugly lump in his jaw as a malignancy. His jaws locked, and an operation was performed. The doctors told his parents to take Jimmy home to spend the last few days of his life [there]. That was in December 1947, [when] Jimmy went home to die. When I called for him today, I talked with his father. Jimmy [currently] goes to a drafting class at a trade school and works as an intern each night at one of the Pittsburgh hospitals. I have the photostats of his case in my possession.

These are unusual cases, of course. But these people are all alive today long after medical experts had expected them to die of cancer. And all of them have taken or are still taking the mold extract treatments at that free clinic in Pittsburgh.

Doctors Give Time

The two doctors and the clinic deserve the admiration of everyone. Dr. Joseph Wilson and Dr. Paul Murray work long hours at their offices and then donate their time to these so-called hopeless cases. The clinic itself is desperate now, badly in need of funds to carry on the work it is doing. Mr. Warren Hirt of Detroit gave them $500 in memory of a friend; Mr. Moses Spatt of 16 Court Street in Brooklyn gave $250; others have contributed smaller amounts. And I don’t see how they could have given to a better cause. If you would like to help them, I’ll be glad to handle the donation for you.

Another report was circulated that the clinic had been investigated and condemned by the Allegheny County Medical Society and top government cancer authorities. That was not hard to check. I have here a letter to the head of the Allegheny Medical Society from the head of the National Cancer Institute. The letter says, “A copy of our report on the mold is enclosed. I am sure you understand that this report in no way implies that the National Cancer Institute is investigating the claim that this mold yields a substance effective in the treatment of cancer.”

Official Investigation?

In the next paragraph of the same letter, the head of the National Cancer Institute again cautions the Allegheny Medical Society about misconstruing the meaning of their actions. He said, “We give our advice and guidance when requested…But we do wish to avoid the implication that the National Cancer Institute is making an official investigation.”

If the National Cancer Institute didn’t make the investigation, who did? Certainly not the Allegheny County Medical Association. They have never been inside the clinic, have never asked for a sample of the mold extract, have never treated a single patient with a single does of the extract. It is their privilege to ignore it if they wish, but the battle against death is too important to condemn a single weapon without exploring its possibilities.

Meanwhile, the little clinic goes on as best it can, trying to determine whether it can save a life or add a few months to a life that is already lost. The clinic’s address is 4774 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Telephone Museum 1-7769. End.

From the Journal of National Medical Society, First and Second Quarters, 1950. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprint 18E.

[Article #2:]

Letter from the American Cancer Society in response to a patient inquiry about the Drosnes-Lazenby Clinic

April 6, 1950

American Cancer Society, Inc.
Office of the Medical and Scientific Director
47 Beaver St., New York, NY
Hanover 2-3277

Mr. D.E. Hamilton
PO Box 1350
New Haven, Connecticut

Dear Mr. Hamilton:

The Drosnes-Lazenby “clinic” in Pittsburgh does not offer anything that would be helpful in the treatment of cancer. These persons “treat” the disease with a harmless but totally ineffective preparation that, on analysis by competent scientists of the American Medical Association [AMA] and the United States Public Health Service [USPHS], proved to contain yeast forms and water, a mixture of no possible effectiveness.

[Note: Neither the AMA nor the USPHS ever examined the extract secreted by the Drosnes-Lazenby preparation, which was the actual substance used by the clinic to treat patients. Nor did either institution ever test or investigate the effect of the secretion on any cancer patient.]

I cannot urge you too strongly to disregard these people who have nothing to offer but disappointment to those who permit their hopes to be raised by this false promise of effective treatment.

Very sincerely yours,
Charles S. Cameron, MD [Article #3:]

A Pertinent Reminder That the Pittsburgh Naturopathic Cancer Cure Needs Your Help Now—and in the Future 

By Daniel R. Adams of Chicago, Illinois

As though unaware of the rumpus it has created, the Drosnes-Lazenby Naturopathic Cancer Clinic goes serenely about its work. It treats all cancer sufferers who apply for aid and is doing the seemingly impossible: obtaining absolute cancer cures in this day and age when Modern Medicine and Syndicated Surgery emphasize that cancer, except in minor first stages, is absolutely incurable.

Here is an organization, in the Bloomfield suburb of the great city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that conducts its business openly—that is every day accomplishing “seven day wonders”—and yet has had practically no publicity at all (except publicity of the wrong kind). This clinic serves its customers without charge, without selection, without selfish motives, and is doing with its nickel-and-dime contributions that which the great cancer institutes—the animals’ hells-on-earth—have been unable to do with the vast millions upon millions of dollars that you, the public, have contributed.

Hundreds of case histories have been gathered during the past twelve months, showing conclusively that the treatments—natural treatments with no cutting, no X-ray, and no radium burning—are successful [and] are actually curing cancers that so-called medical cancer experts and specialists have declared to be incurable. Miracles are being wrought right here in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The impossible is being proved to be possible, and the demonstrations that are being made are being made publicly (not behind closed doors) for all the world to see.

But the scientific world—the medical and surgical worlds—do not care to see! To those stuff-shirted addicts of the microscope and the test tube, this demonstration in Pittsburgh is a myth—something that doesn’t exist, a figment of somebody’s haywire brain. The local board of health, forced to action by indignant citizens, went to the clinic, sniffed disdainfully at what it saw, declared the situation “unsound and unbusinesslike,” and withdrew into its shell. The mayor of the great steel metropolis, when appealed to for “a square deal,” merely looked down his nose, wrote a churlish letter, and intimated that if the Board of Health could not understand the situation, it was a sure thing that he, the mayor, couldn’t.

The great cancer interests sent representatives to the scene who were instructed to “kill this snake,” and they certainly tried to do just that. The investigating doctors were courteous, were condescending, apparently for once dismounting from their high horses, but in the end [it was] the same old razzle-dazzle—the same old “thumb’s down” action—just because this clinic had not been going for ten years; because it had not cured tens of thousands of cancer patients and had not been staffed throughout by licensed medical doctors, the demonstrations that were made to these visitors were “deemed insufficient and incomplete” and “unworthy of further consideration.”

Yet these same investigators, when they left, had congratulated Philip Drosnes and Lillian Lazenby personally on “a truly remarkable achievement.” But once back in their own quarters, no matter what they reported privately, they publicly did everything in their power to “kill the situation.” What is more, the medics and the surgeons may have been sluggish about investigating the merits of the clinic but they were “Johnnie Jackrabbits” when it came to pushing the local prosecuting office into action. They were right there when it seemed possible to crush these two hardy pioneers by local court action.

Almost before it took time to tell, Philip Drosnes and Lillian Lazenby were arrested under an old statute and charged with “practicing medicine without a license.” They were hailed into court, where they were tried under star chamber proceedings, as they were not permitted to have a jury as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States. They were convicted—made criminals and branded as lawbreakers—even though everything they had done had been under the direct supervision of a licensed medical man of Pennsylvania. Not a fly-by-night little doctor but a former public health officer of the Keystone State. Right now these two hardy souls are out on bail, pending a hearing of their appeal, and if the organization of medical doctors can have its way, they’ll spend the rest of their lives in jail, at hard labor, for trying to help mankind after first obtaining permission (an impossible proposition) from these same kindly medical boys.

The latest “slap in the face” this clinic has had to endure was from the Damon Runyon Cancer Fund, which claims that their clinic—which is operated openly and in public view in Pittsburgh—“has neither research, manpower, nor facilities.” Furthermore, the clinic has been told in writing that the chances of its receiving a penny from this Damon Runyon Cancer Fund is gone forever merely because Philip Drosnes inadvertently called the great radio sponsor of this fund at his hotel instead of crawling on his knees to the fund’s offices and begging the underlings for permission to speak with the powers that be.

But in spite of the barriers that have been erected on every side to smother the Drosnes-Lazenby Naturopathic Cancer Clinic and regardless of the court proceedings, the anonymous telephone threats, and other types of gutter blackmail, the glorious work goes on.

At least it was proceeding serenely when these words were written, but anything can happen when you attempt to beard Modern Medicine and Syndicated Surgery. Anything can happen and happen suddenly. What you readers should do is to more or less hold yourselves in readiness to bring your moral weight to bear—in case something happens. You folks are the only ones—with the exception of a brave little group in Pittsburgh known as the Friendly Neighbors—who stand between this cancer cure and its snuffing out. You can save it from obliteration, and you will save it when the time comes for action. You have the power to stop these vultures in their efforts. You have the power to call a halt on these unsavory proceedings. And when you do, as you will do, you will finally guarantee to the American people a continuance of the first successful cancer cure that has come to light.

[Sidebar:] Our 14,000 readers have a wonderful opportunity to stand up and be counted, counted among those Americans who not only believe in liberty—yes, including the right in time of illness to select any type of treatment that seems best under the circumstances—but also who are ready to do anything within reason to protect that liberty and to see that it is not abridged.

From The Herald of Health, January 1950. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprint 8–50A .

Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research
Reprints 18E and 8-50A
Milwaukee 1, Wisconsin
Printed in U.S.A.  

Patrick Earvolino, CN

Patrick Earvolino is a Certified Nutritionist and Special Projects Editor for Selene River Press, Inc.

One thought on “American Cancer Society Repudiates Pittsburgh Cancer Clinic

  1. powermitch936 says:

    thank you. i wish to take up the standard and be the challenge . i was born in 1952 maybe in answer to this 1950 news from pittsburgh…. i now live in pittsburgh

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