Saturday, October 27, 2012

Dr. Lentz and the Cancer Cure

Or Stranger Than Fiction: How Frank Lost the War

As usual, this blog is about anything but books. Something happened this week that I’m still trying to process. It all started in 1998, when my father-in-law, Frank, was diagnosed with cancer. I woke up the other day thinking about the doctor who promised to save him.

Back then, Frank didn’t want surgery or radiation, so he went to an “alternative” clinic offering chelation—normally used for heavy-metal poisoning—and vitamin shots imported from Germany. That doctor referred him to a specialist in Nashville, Dr. M. Rigdon Lentz, who was conducting an FDA clinical trial. It was supposed to be THE cure for cancer, the biggest news in history. Frank didn’t blink about paying $30,000 in cash. (And this was 20 years ago.) We were alarmed, of course, but what if it worked? Online, I found an AP story about a widow who filed suit against Dr. Lentz for giving her husband “false hope.” The couple’s church had raised $60,000 for the treatment, which they considered a miracle. Dr. Lentz told the dying man his tumors were gone, when one grew as big as a baseball. By phone, I talked to the wife, who said she’d heard from dozens of families with similar stories. All of their loved ones pinned their last hopes on Dr. Lentz. All of them died.

Granted, these people were terribly sick in the first place, so Lentz could hardly be blamed for their deaths. He was a loving, caring man who wanted only the best for his patients. My father-in-law adored him, and didn’t appreciate my skepticism. In my research, I found it strange that Frank, who had early-stage prostate cancer, was accepted into a trial for metastatic breast, melanoma and colorectal cancers. Years later, we would read about these “breaches of protocol” in FDA memos.

Frank quickly ran through his life savings, along with loans from family and friends. The treatments made him terribly sick, but that just meant they were working, or so he was told. When his money ran out, Dr. Lentz announced that Frank could go home—his scans were clean! In fact, the cancer had spread. By the time Frank reached the Cleveland Clinic, it was too late. The oncologist, hearing about Nashville, got so mad, he had to leave the room. He said that Frank’s cancer would have been among the easiest to treat, with a survival rate of 95%. Frank died later that year.

In 2006, Dr. Lentz pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge filed by the FDA. Warning letters cited “serious violations” in his clinical trial, including failure to obtain informed consent and treating patients “off-study.” He also “failed to report all deaths/adverse events that occurred.” (If you’ve heard that these were merely “administrative errors,” I urge you to read the report filed by the FDA inspector, who found boxes of “dead patient files” in the hall.)

We thought Dr. Lentz’s practice was closed for good. Just to be safe, I searched his name occasionally, and that’s when we heard he’d set up shop in Prien, Germany, with his wife, Kiran. Over time, I found a few Facebook posts from families who raised money to send their loved ones overseas, but the stories always ended in funerals, and the clinic was in a foreign country, so what could we do?

Even Farrah Fawcett went to Germany for treatment (a different clinic). I started to wonder if maybe the hype was true. At one point, news reports said that Farrah was “tumor-free.” Sadly, we know how her story ended.

So, on Monday morning, I woke up out of a sound sleep, thinking about Dr. Lentz—the first time in ages. Something made me go to my computer, and when I searched his name, up came a story about a young man in Canada battling a rare form of cancer. His family was trying to raise $180,000 to send him to Dr. Lentz.

And I thought, oh, my God, I have to tell them.

But tell them what? These poor people were desperate for a miracle. Who was I to question their chances? What if I was wrong? It took all day to write the email. The next morning, I heard back from his family. They’d been on their way to book tickets to Germany. Now, the trip was canceled. There had been doubts all along, but nobody wanted to steal the young man’s hope. They called my email “a gift from the universe.”

Today, I’m putting our story out there for others to find. We didn’t say anything all those years ago because, like everyone else, we wanted the cure to work. It was inconceivable to us that a doctor could look a dying man in the eye and promise to help—and take every last penny he had—unless the promise was real. We hoped that one day, Frank would be part of medical history, and Dr. Lentz would win the Nobel Prize.

In his online credentials, Dr. Lentz says he is currently a “senior research scientist of the International Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of Immunology of Georgetown University Medical Center, in Washington, D.C.” I searched the Georgetown site and found no mention of him, so I asked the medical center to verify his title. Their written response: “We did not find Dr. Lentz in our directory.”

There’s a frustrating lack of information elsewhere. In their research, the Canadian family sought the opinion of Dr. Ralph Moss, a consultant in the field of non-conventional cancer treatments. He charged $20 for his report on Dr. Lentz, along with a $300 treatise on their specific diagnosis. Dr. Moss holds a doctorate not in medicine or science, but the classics. He was a proponent of laetrile. When Frank got sick and we looked for answers in 1998, Moss was Dr. Lentz’s biggest supporter.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably heard about the conspiracy to suppress cancer cures. Dr. Moss wrote a book about it. The medical establishment, the FDA, the drug-makers—they’re all involved. Thousands of people are trying to block the cure that would save their own mothers. Pay attention the next time you hear this, and I promise you: Someone will be trying to sell you something.

I’m a firm believer in holistic medicine and non-traditional methods of healing, and I know that American regulations can keep effective drugs from reaching the market. But we have to use common sense. If a doctor discovered a cure for cancer, the pharmaceutical giants of the world would beat a path to his door. He wouldn’t have to work in a tiny clinic in a foreign country. There would be dozens of published reports about his success. And maybe, after refining his methods for 30 years, he would have found a way to lower his costs, so as not to bankrupt the families he’s trying to help.

How much is time worth? How much would you pay for a few more months on earth? These are the questions faced by terminal patients exploring alternative options. Dr. Lentz’s treatment, which has gone by the names of Apheresis, Biopheresis, Ultrapheresis, Immunepheresis, Immunopheresis, OncoPherese and now, LentzLoc, is said to be a medical breakthrough—but where is the independent data? Claims made on a web site don’t count as clinical proof. We hear impressive things about tumor reduction, but I have yet to see any published statistics on long-term survival. One woman whose sister is still in the fight [passed away in 2014] said, “I don’t believe it’s a ‘cure,’ but it buys time. I tell others to do their research.”

Epilogue: This blog is now three four eight years old, and the response has been overwhelming. Emails continue to come from families and physicians around the world, but so far, not one has been from a patient in remission (or even anyone who survived the trip home from Germany). Several doctors told me they spoke by phone with Dr. Lentz, who was quite convincing about his methods. They later regretted not listening to their guts. 

Here are two articles that were recommended to me about the choice between palliative care and “futile care.” The first, written by nurse Amy Berman in the Washington Post, describes her decision not to seek aggressive treatment for stage-four breast cancer. The second, How Doctors Die, urges a discussion about quality of life over quantity when faced with a dire prognosis.


  1. OMG! i'm lebanese, we were just considering sending my mother to germany to be treated by him! OMG

    1. Sorry to hear what you're going through. Please keep me posted.

  2. My dad is considering going to Dr. Lentz for treatment. It would really help us if we could talk with you about your family's experience. I am sure it is difficult for you to discuss it, but it would really help our family during this trying time. I hope to speak with you soon,


    1. Update: My dad died 6 months after treatment. The treatment significantly hurt his quality of life during his last months. He was a big runner, but could not exercise after the treatment. Dr. Lentz is unproven and will try to sell you false hope.

      I don't mean to sound like a bitter person who has it out for Dr. Lentz because it happened to not work in my case. I had been against Dr. Lentz since before we started treatment. I had not thought of him since the treatment until someone emailed me based on my above comment.

  3. Hi Alison, I read your blog on Dr. Lentz. My mother had advanced ovarian cancer and underwent several rounds of Chemo, but we could not save her. I was planning to take my mother to Lentz clinic in Germany. So, according to you his treatment does not work ?.
    There are people who say that his treatment has worked for them

    Would like to know your comments.


    1. The post you're referencing was made by Dr. Felicia Miller in 2008. At the time, her cancer was said to be in remission. Her email address is no longer valid. I found this mention online: "Regrettably, Felicia lost her long struggle with breast cancer several years ago."

    2. Felicia was my aunt, a remarkable woman, writer, poet.

      The treatment offered by Lentz seemed to work for a time but the cancer appears to come back afterwards even stronger. It is criminally expensive. Dr. Lentz was kind to her while she was getting better but became callous and cruel when it returned.

  4. Dear Alison - I'm sorry for your loss. I'm writing to let you know that I have been conducting an in-depth analysis of Dr. Lentz' technology for the past 3+ years. To date we've spent $1.5m USD on a diligence trial conducted by an independent MD/PhD with extensive clinical trial and drug discovery experience. He went into the investigation with a great deal of skepticism, as did I on behalf of our investors. We also studied Dr. Lentz' clinical data going back to 2005, and interviewed several patients and their oncologists. Our study was concluded in May of last year. The result? We are convinced that Dr. Lentz' treatment is significantly more effective than the standard of care, that his hypothesis of how cancer defends itself against the immune system appears to be correct, and that his intervention effectively interrupts the tumor's defense. In his patient records, we saw numerous cases of patients who had terminal prognoses yet went on to live for years; some are still alive and some died of non cancer-related causes. Many died when they ran out of funds, but we also investigated the cost basis of Dr. Lentz' treatment and are now convinced that the cost of the biologic at the core of his treatment is the primary reason for the high patient cost, as opposed to some sort of patient gouging. We also investigated Dr. Lentz' history with the FDA, and while you are correct that the FDA was highly critical of Dr. Lentz' later methods, they also confirmed the safety and efficacy of his treatment. In short, we are now convinced that Dr. Lentz' treatment is real, that it can be effective with late stage metastatic cancer where no other treatment is effective, and that it offers a high quality of life on treatment with virtually no side effects. We are moving forward with a major investment in Dr. Lentz' technology. It concerns us that you appear to have dedicated a great deal of energy toward criticizing Dr. Lentz based on very little data, coupled with narrow personal experience from 15 years ago. It's obvious from the comments above that you are driving patients away from Dr. Lentz who could potentially be helped by him. I would like to meet with you if possible and share our findings in detail. You are welcome to bring an oncologist or research scientist to the meeting. I think you'll be impressed with how much Dr. Lentz has accomplished in the last 15 years, and how detailed our study of his work has been. Please don't hesitate to contact me so we can set up a meeting.
    Sincerely, Lou Hawthorne

    1. With all due respect, Mr. Hawthorne, when your study is published in a medical journal and verified by independent researchers who have no profit motive, I will feel more comfortable discussing your results. How many patients has Dr. Lentz treated since 2005, and how many survived? You cite “numerous” examples. How many, exactly? What are his mortality rates? These are fair questions to ask. I’m a hospice volunteer. I’ve seen patients with months to live who survived for years. Does that mean hospice cures cancer? Of course not. (And hospice is free.) A handful of survivors is no proof that a treatment works. It only proves how unpredictable cancer can be.

      Other investment firms have pursued Dr. Lentz’s technology. In 1999, Minntech announced plans to acquire the rights, but the deal fell through. Again I ask, if Dr. Lentz’s results are “significantly more effective than the standard of care,” why are there no published studies? Why do I have to meet with a stranger in order to get this information?

      You’re right—I have very little data. The same is true for anyone contemplating a trip to Germany. What we hear is that Immunepheresis “shows the potential to shrink tumors by 50% with only a few cycles of treatment.” That's a huge claim to make, especially to a patient who’s dying. Your comment that “many died when they ran out of funds” sent a chill down my spine. You accuse me of “dedicating a great deal of energy toward criticizing Dr. Lentz,” when all I did was research his medical background and share my family’s “narrow personal experience.” It’s just one story, Mr. Hawthorne. One of many. When you stack it up against the stories of all those patients “who had terminal prognoses yet went on to live for years,” why are you concerned? The truth will win in the end. I have nothing to gain here, other than to help people make an informed decision.

      I wish you and your investors the best, and I look forward to hearing about your progress. What is the name of your company, and what other cancer treatments have you developed? I will be happy to leave your comments here for others to see, although I add the disclaimer that your proof is, as yet, unavailable to the public.

      May I ask about your assertion that the FDA “confirmed the safety and efficacy” of Dr. Lentz’s treatment? As of 2012, the FDA had not approved its use, as far as I know. If you have more current information, please provide the link, and I'll update this page. If anything I’ve said is untrue, please help set the record straight. I welcome the chance to read your analysis.

    2. Thanks for your comments Alison. Please call me Lou. The questions you're asking in this email are not unreasonable. They are all being addressed in detail by the team assembling the first website focused on Dr. Lentz' clinic and treatment efficacy, which will launch later this Fall. A few quick responses:

      - Dr. Lentz has several publications including results of FDA trials; I can't attach publications to your site but these publications will be posted on Dr. Lentz' new site when it launches. He did not complete Phase-3 clinical trials before moving to Europe to be closer to apheresis technology developers, but Phase-2 trials were completed which demonstrated both safety and efficacy, which again was published. More recently (2008) his technology received a CE-mark, which is the European equivalent of FDA approval, which is why he can offer his treatment commercially and legally in countries that honor the CE mark - which is most of the world except the US and Japan;

      - Dr. Lentz' treatment is not a cure. In our review of the data, we saw a statistically significant number of patients who went from heavy metastatic tumor load to remission, more than half of whom underwent recurrence some time later. However, the treatment appears to be equally effective in repeat applications, meaning it potentially converts a terminal condition to a manageable one, much like the first generation of protease inhibitors did for HIV patients. The fact that patients who do not undergo annual or biannual maintenance treatments (as many do) then undergo recurrence - and in some cases die - does not in any way diminish the significance or value of the therapy;

      - I'm unclear as to why patients dying when they run out of funds sends a chill up your spine. The biologic at the core of Dr. Lentz' device is very expensive; we reviewed his financials as part of our due diligence. There is no way that Dr. Lentz could cover patient costs himself for more than a few treatments - which he does when possible and necessary. Longer term, this treatment will be covered by medical insurance and patients will no longer die from lack of funds;

      - Dr. Lentz is a trained oncologist as well as the developer of this new technology. Patients don't have to go to Germany as you imply without gaining more information. They can have their oncologists speak directly to Dr. Lentz. He is extremely credible and can answer any questions that an oncologist may have;

      - Regarding my own background, I served on the Exeter Green Light committee, a life science private equity fund, which underwrote over $100m in research for everything ranging from age related diseases (including cancer) to the safety of hormone replacement therapy for women, to "green GMOs" and animal cloning. I have extensive experience in evaluating scientific technologies for efficacy and investment potential. I've spent about 4 years studying Dr. Lentz' technology and have not been paid a dime by him to do so, but rather have been paid by parties who want to know whether this technology is real - or not. Our conclusion, despite your own unfortunately experience, is that it is very real;

      - You ask why I'm concerned about the energy you're putting into criticizing Dr. Lentz, which you admit is based on very little data. The web is a funny place and individuals can have a tremendous impact where their opinions would once have been filtered out or at least tempered by scientific media. Your blog is influential, so it behooves me to interact with you just as much as any serious reporter. My offer to meet and show you all the data we've collected over the last several years still stands.

      Lou Hawthorne

    3. Thank you for the respect with which you've treated this subject, and me. I appreciate the wealth of information. For those who didn't go to medical school, the jargon can be overwhelming. If I understand correctly, you're saying that:

      a) This treatment is not a cure.
      b) A certain percentage (?) of patients saw tumor reduction.
      c) In that group, tumors reoccurred more than half the time.
      d) Only patients who could afford continued treatments saw continued results.

      In terms of cold, hard facts, it comes down to an economic gamble. You may spend everything you have and not change the outcome. You may buy some time, but you'll spend it in a dialysis chair. Terminal patients are searching for a miracle. They don't have time to weigh cost vs. benefit. They don't hear the part about "statistically significant" chances. They hear the word "remission" and think they're headed for a cure. Otherwise, why would God have pointed them in this direction?

      It goes back to something Dr. Lentz said in 1998. When a reporter asked him about the woman who left his clinic thinking her husband was cured, only to lose him a few months later, the doctor said, "Maybe she heard something different."

      I'm trying to say, "Don't just hear what you want to hear." Do your research. Have your oncologist call Dr. Lentz. Don't listen to me or Lou Hawthorne or anybody else--we all have our own agendas. Lou, I'll forward your information to my medical friends and ask them for help in interpreting it. Call me old-fashioned, but I'd still trade a glossy new web site for a peer-reviewed article in a medical journal. Please feel free to email me (contact field at right) so we can continue the conversation.

      Take care,

  5. Thank you Alison. Your first point is definitely correct - this is not a cure for most patients. However, your points (b) and (c) should read: "A statistically significant number of patients went from heavy metastatic tumor load to remission, and more than half of those who reached remission later underwent recurrence."

    According to the data we have, the treatment really looks linear: the more treatment, the better the result, even to the point of remission. Your point (d) is mostly correct; some patients have been in remission for years without maintenance treatment, though others require annual or bi-annual treatment to stay in remission. Recurrence under this treatment is not the disaster it is with conventional treatment; the treatment appears to work just as well in repeat applications as it did originally - though of course cost remains a factor.

    Speaking of cost: a minority of patients have been able to obtain insurance reimbursement for this treatment. These are almost always patients who have medical insurance designed for business travel, which often covers treatments available overseas that are not covered in the U.S. Of course securing insurance reimbursement for the treatment is a key goal of our business group going forward. Our planned trials will nail down the efficacy sufficiently for insuring entities, plus our plans to scale up production of the technology should reduce the cost to make it much more affordable both to individuals and insurance companies and public funds.

    Best wishes,

    1. Hello Lou
      I’ve been reading Alison’s blog and all the comments people have made and I thank you all for your insights. It is now a few years since most of these commemts. I was wondering if you would be so kind as to update me on any progress or otherwise regarding Lentz and your involvement?

      Fyi, i am asking purely for a family member who is a cancer patient.
      Many thanks

  6. I was a radiologist in Nashville who regularly reviewed CT scans on Dr Lentz's patients, seeing before and after treatment scans. I can confirm that in many cases there was very significant improvement in tumor size. This was in patients who had typically failed conventional therapy. He never claimed to cure people, but he was able to make the cancer more of a chronic disease that could be treated intermittently. I believe the science is good and worth further study. Like many innovators, he has not always followed the rules as closely as he should, but he is not a quack. If I had metastatic melanoma, for example, I would go see him. Adrian Lamballe

    1. Were you by chance affiliated with Southern Hills Medical Imaging?

    2. daviddisbro1@aol.comNovember 7, 2013 at 11:01 AM

      My 18 year old daughter has recently undergone treatment for a sarcoma type cancer in Nashvile, tn and has been given a grim prognosis after having a tumor removed, followed by 3 courses of chemo. The cancer has spread throughout her skeletal system (or was undetected by a previous petscan) so Dr Borenstein has recommended palliative care. My ex-wife has started her on a homeopathic, wholistic regiment of products but I am concerned about using that approach alone at this point. My daughter is still relatively healthy. I am a believer in immunotherapy type treatment. Any advice would be appreciated. David

    3. So sorry to hear about your daughter. The guys at Ingram are good and if there was a reasonable chance at being able to do something useful, I am sure they would have recommended it. The homeopathic thing won't do any harm. Immune therapy may one day be the answer, but there are no realistic chances of cure out there at the moment. Every once in a while, someone inexplicably gets better, but it is rare. Sorry I can't offer any better hope. BTW, Lentz isn't 'curing' anyone, but many folks do live longer on his therapy, despite what some skeptics say. How valuable that extra time is differs for everyone and is not for me to say. Don't know whether your daughter's tumor would be susceptible to treatment, but sarcomas are tough to deal with. Good luck to you and your girl. A

  7. Replies
    1. That was the label on my father-in-law's scan proving that his tumors were gone. When he went home and received another scan at the Cleveland Clinic, the news was all bad. We were never able to get a satisfactory answer as to how the two scans could be so different.

    2. Can only tell you what I saw. I never saw tumors disappear completely but it was typical for big reduction in tumor size. There was always regrowth. Obviously, some people responded better than others.

  8. It would be interesting to see if Dr.lentz would be willing to take a cancer patient with Metastic tumors and put them on a course of his treatment.(I believe that entails 12 cycles)
    Anyone from any walk of life who is not affiliated in any way with him, his hospital, or friends or family friends, somebody who has nothing to lose because of their terminal cancer but everything to gain if his treatment works or show a significant reduction in the tumor size.
    This would have to be verified by the patient own clinical oncologist in their own country.
    It would cost Dr Lentz the course of 1 Treatment but if it is as good as he claims then the publicity would more than compensate him for the cost of the course of treatment
    I have yet to hear of anyone with stage IV (other than the claims on his website) who has received this treatment and is still alive to claim that this has saved them.
    Or from any oncologist who advocate the methods used by him in the fight against this disease.

  9. Alison,

    My wife has an aggressive brain cancer and I decided to start aggressively searching for alternatives. I found Dr. Lentz website and even talked to him over the phone. To be honest, I haven't even asked for a cost of treatment yet.

    But then I Googled his name and sure enough found all this info on him including your posts. Have you heard anything in the last few months about him or his procedure? Have you read or heard of anything that may have changed your opinion?

    Thanks for your time.

    1. Conor, I'm very sorry to hear about your wife. All the information I've received has been posted here. Despite mentions of a new web site and exciting news last fall, it's been oddly quiet. Sad to say, my opinion has only been reinforced by the comments. I continue to search for people who've had long-lasting remission. Perhaps the most telling comment is from the radiologist who read x-rays for Dr. Lentz: "There was always regrowth." My prayers are with your family. I hope you'll keep me posted. Take care.

  10. Hello Alison, Conor, and other fans of this site. The Lentz Clinic website, which has been under development for the last 6 months, is 98% done. It's been a vast undertaking addressing the science, clinical factors, history, publications and every other aspect of Dr. Lentz's work - including the latest efficacy data by cancer type and detailed information on how to obtain treatment. We're currently fact-checking the entire site and also incorporating diagrams from the new textbook, Immunology IV by Dr. Joseph Bellanti, one of the project advisors. We hope to launch the site within a month and will post the URL here as soon as it's ready (if that's OK with Alison).

    It's been interesting to observe the explosion of interest over the last few months in cancer immunotherapy, the field that Dr. Lentz has helped to pioneer over the last 30 years. There is a very good reason why the journal Science declared cancer immunotherapy in general as "Breakthrough of the Year 2013". Refining the technology and making it safe has taken a long time and there have been some sad times along the way, as Alison knows well. But those of you with loved ones suffering with cancer should take a very close look at the new generation of immunotherapies. None of them, including Dr. Lentz's Immune Pheresis, work in all cases, but many patients have derived significant benefit while also maintaining a good quality of life - which we all know is just as important as quantity.

  11. Lou, you shrug off my family's experience as "some sad times along the way," as if we're stuck in the past, refusing to believe in a breakthrough because it didn't work for us. Why would I waste so much time and energy, 15 years later? If anyone had told us that Frank's treatment failed, we would have understood. (In fact, we expected it.) But that's not what happened. Dr. Lentz told Frank his tumors were gone. Not "shrunk by 50%" or "in temporary remission." Gone. Frank came home believing he'd beaten the odds. Imagine his pain and humiliation to discover he was not only sicker than when he'd started, but also broke. You can say he misunderstood, or heard what he wanted to hear. Spin it however you want. Except that he wasn't the only one. Something tells me you've found the other stories in your research. Go back and read the one about Bill Weddle, and maybe you'll understand why I'm doing this.

    If my blog has become your way of publicizing Dr. Lentz's new site, then let me add a note about Immunotherapy, a wide-ranging term describing scores of different weapons, from monoclonal antibodies and genetically engineered T cells to cancer vaccines and immunosuppressive drugs. The field may indeed be a breakthrough, but Dr. Lentz and his technology are nowhere mentioned in the Science article. Strange to exclude one of its pioneers, don't you think? I urge everyone to read the piece and investigate the very promising trials it describes:

    By the way, the author asks, "Were we irresponsible to label as a breakthrough a strategy that has touched a tiny fraction of cancer patients and helped only some of them?" These are obviously uncharted waters, Mr. Hawthorne, and I think you do cancer patients a disservice by suggesting that Dr. Lentz's treatment has been "refined and made safe." After 30 years, Immune Pheresis is still experimental, still uncovered by insurance, and still extremely costly. Whatever claims you continue to make here, you're still asking us to take your word for it--literally asking people to bet their lives.

  12. The miracle (and sadness) of the Internet is that you can trace the journeys of cancer families from their initial hope and excitement at finding a possible the online memorials. In stories that mention Dr. Lentz, the recurring theme seems to be one of "traveling back and forth to Germany for five months," at an average cost of $180,000 to $240,000. One woman says, "What can it hurt?" Another notes, "The treatment can’t hurt me if well performed." A husband says he's heard that "One doctor sent six terminal patients to him. One died during treatment, the other five are in remission." Incredible odds, indeed.

    A breast-cancer patient writes that she's in remission after "a year and a half of treatments." She eventually lost the battle. Another says she "made progress against the disease" after four months of "virtually non-stop treatment." She died eight weeks after leaving Prien. A young man reports from the clinic: "My tumor markers have gone down!" His obituary is dated five months later. One husband claims that he "witnessed disease regression at a remarkable rate" in Germany. Where his wife passed away.

    One teenager lay in a bed for 60 consecutive hours (4 days) and apparently "broke clinic records for most continuous time and liters filtered." After five months of traveling back and forth to Germany, his scans showed new tumors and other metastasis. His family credits adoptive T-cell therapy at MD Anderson Hospital in Houston for his survival.

    My point with all these testimonials is that I feel an obligation, having published Mr. Hawthorne's claims, to include as many real-life examples as I could find. These stories are in the public domain, although the vast majority deal with grieving families, so I'm not comfortable including their names. Feel free to contact me privately if you would like other details. A brand new web site funded by Mr. Hawthorne and his investors will launch soon, exposing Immunepheresis to a much larger audience, so I don't feel obligated to continue the marketing campaign here. Soon, Dr. Lentz will have more patients than he can handle.

    1. Alison - I am the man who "witnessed disease regression at a remarkable rate". My wife Michelle was the first patient treated at Dr. Lentz's Prien Germany Clinic. As a matter of fact, my late father and I helped to financially start the clinic. We wanted to ensure that Dr. Lentz would have a place to treat Michelle and another young lady that had been a previous patient of his. I refuse to enter into the argument as to the efficacy of the treatment or the cost. I can only tell you what I saw first hand. When we arrived in Germany Michelle was so weak that she had to be wheeled through the airport. But after only a few treatments at Dr. Lentz's clinic, she had the strength to get out and go Christmas shopping for our children.
      We made the decision to go to Germany and seek Dr. Lentz's treatment after Michelle's breast cancer returned shortly after MD Anderson sent her home "cancer free". It returned in the form of a small lump above her collarbone, and grew to the size of an egg in just a few months. At this point, it became severely painful for her to even turn her head. After three weeks of Dr. Lentz's treatment the tumor shrank to the size of a pea, and the pain associated with it was completely gone.
      Prior to going to Germany Michelle had a non-contrast CT scan of the brain, that was negative for metastasis. But during her second cycle of treatment in Germany she became very dizzy and sick to her stomach. Due to this, Dr. Lentz sent her to have a contrasted CT scan, which showed numerous tiny tumors in her cerebellum, which were swelling from the progress of the treatment. Dr. Lentz offered two options at this point, we could either return home or continue the treatment in Germany in short increments while attempting to control the swelling in the brain with medication and time off from the treatment. Dr. Lentz made it perfectly clear that the treatment had made the tumors swell, that it was very dangerous and unpredictable to treat. Nevertheless, we decided to take our chances and continue with the treatment.
      After viewing the first CT scan in Traunstein, the doctor there told me that we should go home because there was nothing that could be done for Michelle. After further treatments we returned for a second CT scan, and approximately a third of the tumors appeared to be necrotic tissue. The doctor was very surprised and wanted to know what Dr. Lentz's treatment was, and demanded to speak with him.
      Unfortunately there was a point when the swelling, which is caused by the immune systems response to the treatment, caused Michelle to become ill enough to suspend treatment. Shortly after she passed away from complications associated with the brain metastasis. Having said all of that, her time spent in Germany was some of the best times through out this whole journey. She felt well enough to spend much needed valuable time with our three young children.
      The money that we spent in Germany on Dr. Lentz's treatment pales in comparison to the cost of the failed treatment we received in the United States, not to mention the pain and suffering associated with it.
      Did my wife die...yes she did. Would I seek treatment from Dr. Lentz if I was diagnosed with cancer...most definitely.
      In all the conversations we had with Dr. Lentz he never gave us false hope, nor did he offer a cure for this dreaded disease. When discussing failures associated with Dr. Lentz's treatment, let us not forget the millions who have died during the time when chemotherapy and radiation have been the standard of treatment for cancer patients.

      Lee Holsey

    2. Thank you, Mr. Holsey, for sharing this information. I'm deeply sorry for the loss of your wife. She sounded like a brave and wonderful lady. After all this time, I'm almost relieved to hear from someone with first-hand experience. How sad to know that being sent home "cancer-free" is not limited to a specific treatment. I hope you'll forgive me for intruding into your family's pain, but thank you very much for sharing your story.

  13. WOW, stumbled on your blog today--Had no idea the "pioneer" was still at work 30+ years later. We tried to reproduce similar work by Terman in the 1980s, when I was the Director of the BRMP at the NCI. Unsuccessful ! See Fer et al J. Biol. Response Modif. 3:352-358, 1984 Others have tried to reproduce Lentz but no one has. He would say only he has the exact technique. You have done a superb analytic job with your blog. Keep it up !!

  14. Dear Alison,
    I am so sorry to hear that.
    I am Lebanese, and my brother has a Pancreas cancer Stage 4 (37 old);
    I was planning to take him to Germany according to the information from
    They are talking about Alternative Treatment and some Protocols (Cellect-Budwig, and/or Dirt Cheap Protocol).
    Finally, I am contacting EuroMed in AZ-Phoenix, I have the feeling that they can do something for him. 15 min ago, and when i was reading on their website, i found the name of Dr. Rigdon Lentz in Germany, saying that they send their patients who cannot come to US to germany to be treated by him!!
    My question here, what do you know about all that, (Protocols, EuroMed) ? could you please advice me and give me your opinion. what i have to do? where i should go? any clinic, hospital, center... that can help my brother!

    please, an advice can save the live of a person.

    1. My deepest sympathy to you and your brother. Believe me, if I knew of a miracle cure, I'd shout it from the rooftops. I only have a stack of emails from people whose loved ones spent their last days in a clinic, far from home, away from their family, their pets and everything they loved. It's not the way I'd want to go. We lost a relative to pancreatic cancer after a 3-month battle, so I understand the desperation. No, I haven't heard of the Cellect-Budwig or Dirt Cheap protocols (really?), but according to Cancer Research UK, "There is no reliable scientific evidence to show that the Budwig diet (or any highly specific diet) helps people with cancer." The Cam-Cancer site says, "No clinical trials or documented case reports on the Budwig diet are available in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. Hence, the anti-cancer claims for the Budwig diet are not supported by clinical evidence." As I understand from the Cancer Tutor site, these protocols involve maple syrup, baking soda and asparagus. If these simple household items really worked, wouldn't we have more proof than a handful of testimonials on the site that sells the treatment? The American Cancer Society says that the baking soda regimen is "based on the theory that cancer is caused by a form of yeast infection and that sodium bicarbonate can kill the yeast. This claim is not supported by science or clinical evidence and is contrary to widely-accepted basic facts of oncology and microbiology." I'm sorry not to be more positive, but it breaks my heart to see the damage that false hope does. Of course, changing one's diet or doing ANYTHING to improve one's health can boost the immune system, which in turn can slow the growth of cancer, but I notice that in most of the anecdotal stories about these protocols, the patient FEELS better for a little while but dies anyway. Maybe that's not a bad thing, but palliative care can produce the same results without the waste of precious time and money. I would advise you to ask your brother what he wants to do. Many cancer patients submit to exhaustive treatments because they don't want to disappoint their family members by "giving up." Peace to both of you.

  15. Good morning Alison, Thank you for this objective and useful information. Your last message was posted over 2 years ago but you may be interested to know that the following advertisement popped up on my Facebook screen today! Maybe because the search engine spotted that I have been looking up this type of information for my husband?
    Pratice Lentz - Immuno-Oncology
    Sponsored ·

    LentzLoc - a non-toxic natural immune-based therapy against cancer.
    LentzLoc treatment against metastatic cancer
    - an alternative to chemo, radiation and antibodies. Learn about immune-adsorption therapy for advanced stage / metastatic cancers.
    Learn More

    1. Thank you for pointing this out, Nickie. It looks like the same treatment with a new name, only now it's being marketed as "natural." Immunepheresis was always described as non-toxic, and the harsh effects that many patients felt were shrugged off as "inflammation." I just heard from a man whose father died 6 months after treatment, which "significantly hurt his quality of life during his last months." Thoughts and prayers for you and your husband.

  16. Thanks Alison. I am so glad I read your page before taking a rash decision. When confronted with a difficult situation (my husband has a relapse of prostate cancer with metastasis on the bones) one tends to consider all kinds of althernative solutions, particularly when the treatment appears to be more "natural". Unfortunately these people play on people's vulnerability. Best regards from Switzerland.

  17. Someone I am close to informed me this morning that my husband's dentist passed away while undergoing treatment by Dr. LENTZ in Germany for his 3 week trial which is standard for new patients.After conducting some research Dr. LENTZ seems to have quite a reputation for his patients mortality rate. It's a disgrace how these terminally ill patients are taken advantage of. Many of which emptied their bank accounts in hopes of achieving remission and sadly passed away while being filled with false hope in the process. The amazing, kind, talented,father and beloved husband Dr. Gordon will not be coming back home to the US died due to an infectiokn spreading to his blood and shutting down his organs from the CATHETER they put in him. Do not send your loved ones to remove this treatment PLEASE

  18. Normally I don't publish anonymous comments, but several people have contacted me about Dr. Gordon. My deepest condolences to his family.

  19. I knew Dr. Gordon as well. He was a kind caring man, a great father, and a good friend. His devastating experience in Germany with the Lentz group is almost overwhelming. His passing was ultimately caused by an infection created by them - and allowed wreak havoc on his body until it was ultimately to late. Certainly infections can happen, but prominent facilities are aware that such issues can arise, and appropriate measures are taken. In this instance it seems there was no sense of urgency or responsibility. Apparently he never even had the opportunity to receive the treatment. It all feels wrong to me. God bless Jerry, you will be missed.

  20. My wife has ovarian cancer, and been told now by the hospital it's terminal, with less than 6 months, we are in contact with the lentz, I need. To know is this a scam or false hope or is this a chance of remission, yes we both know it's not a cure but at the cost of nearly €55,000 euros we also need to make sure she has a chance, kind regards Craig

    1. keep your chance but destiny.
      I lost my youngest brother in less than 2 months after the diagnostic. we paid tons of money, in the best hospitals in Lebanon. I still remember him when the first day in chemotherapy, ...when he said they are killing me.
      AND yes, his health go down fast and died in less than 2 months. I miss him

  21. So sorry to hear this, Craig. All I can say is, please read all of the comments posted by others who have been through similar experiences. They speak more eloquently than I can.

  22. Not a believer of Dr. Lentz or any of his experimental "cures", but I am familiar with hospice volunteering and had an aunt just pass away from cancer. Hope is a BIG deal and if people have the money and want to try experimental treatments they should be not only able to but should be more readily available in the US. With that said many people made fun of CTCA and their holistic approach to treating cancer even in late stages, however their documented 5 year survival rates are almost double SEER standards. The main thing I want to stress is you are using your own hyperbole with your earlier statement about your hospice experience. No one going into hospice care with stage 4 cancer and only a few months to live stay in hospice care and live a few years! Not saying they don't start getting better by a new treatment such as immunotherapy or some other drug trial and then do not need hospice care anymore, however no one lays in bed with hospice care and no treatment given a few months and lives for years! So your earlier statement about a hand full of people living years with terminal cancer in hospice care respectfully is false. Otherwise you make some valid points.

  23. Hi Alison
    My daughter is 40 y , has breast cancer 4th grade , I was thinking about this treatment , is it still disappointing ???

  24. Unfortunately, yes. So sorry to hear about your daughter. Prayers for you both.

  25. Thank you for your comments, JR. With all due respect, thousands of hospice patients are discharged every year, some with late-stage cancers. (And we may be arguing semantics here, but I volunteered with home care, when a patient had a 6-month diagnosis but was not yet critical.) Here's a section from the hospice manual: "If you get better, you may stop hospice care. This could happen if your cancer improves or goes into remission. If it improves, you and your doctor might start treatment for a cure again. If it goes into remission, doctors will check regularly for signs of cancer."

    Yes, spontaneous remission is rare, but it happens. We all know that miraculous patient who defied the odds. My point was that cancer is unpredictable, and remission can happen for all kinds of reasons. To attribute the "cure" to whatever treatment the patient happened to be receiving at the time (hospice, immunepheresis, laetrile, etc.) is disingenuous and unscientific. I was asking Mr. Hawthorne for verified statistics on his claim about "numerous" survivors.

  26. Yes. Thank you for your response and I guess it was semantics because I was simply stating if they improve they leave hospice care, and I read what you said as they stay critical in hospice care for years...which does not happen. Again I'm not promoting at all Dr. Lentz, however what I am promoting is many so called alternative treatments do indeed create a remission (3 I've seen permanent) with little or no side effects. Many times these alternative treatments turn into mainstream treatments like those at CTCA! They were laughed at by mainstream medicine at first for even suggesting diet and hypothermia could have a significant impact on patients, and then whoops they did. Even the modern "miracles" of immunotherapy have a basis in alternative medicine. Scientists never even thought of turning ones own immune system against cancer until alternative theories started taking hold. My overriding point is that when someone is Stage 4 and sent home basically "to die", the American system is devoid of all options and therefore all HOPE. These options at that point should be readily available in the US regardless of cost. If one can afford those treatments and the family is ok with it then they should be able to access them without going to Mexico or Germany..etc... Thank you for your thoughtful response though and I enjoy reading your responses.

  27. Dear Alison, thank you for sharing all this information on your blog.
    My husband and I are thinking about going to Germany for the 3 week treatment at Prien. My husband has rectal cancer. How many treatments are given on an average? Because the 3 weeks cost about € 50.000,- so if that's only the beginning and the outcome is so unsure, maybe it's not the best treatment after all. At this point my husband feels very well, no pain, no nothing, but probably the cancer has spread into the lypmh (we will know more next week). Beceause it's a lot of money (which we actually don't have) I started to look for comments on the Internet, to read more about other people's experiences of that treatment. I'm a bit torn, because I want the best for my husband, but I'm skared it will become worse and not better. Looking forward to your comment. Warmest regards, Beata from The Netherlands.

  28. Hi, Beata. I can't speak to the number of treatments, but $50,000 seems to be the starting point. Families have spent anywhere from $180,000 to $250,000, and treatments spanned 3-18 months. (Treatments generally stopped because the patient passed away.) As I have been told by an expert who studied this protocol, only patients who could afford continued treatments saw continued results. In other words, treatments will last as long as you can pay for them. Please consider other treatments first. My best to you and your husband.

  29. Dear Alison, thank you so much for your swift reply! We are also looking at other (less expensive) options, hence we don't have this kind of money. Have you found any other positive feedback from dr. Lentz' patients? I couldn't find much on the Internet. Also not many negative either, which is a bit strange. Is there a non-disclousure agreement or something like that? I'm just curious.
    Have a great weekend and again, thank you a lot! Warm regards, Beata

  30. Beata, in answer to your first question, no. I have a folder full of stories from families whose loved ones came home worse or not at all. I have zero stories from patients who survived. The one personal recommendation was from a man whose wife died during treatment. (See Lee Holsey's comment above.) I have letters from oncologists who questioned the treatment but didn't want to cheat their patients of hope (and later regretted not speaking up). Yes, Dr. Lentz's patients are required to sign a nondisclosure agreement, which may explain why you can't find much. On the other hand, you'd think that patients who found a viable weapon against cancer would share their news on social media. I keep looking. Please enjoy the weekend with your husband, and keep me posted.

  31. Hi Alison,
    You have no idea how elated I am to find your blog. Kudos to you for keeping this going. I met you (and Frank) long ago during his treatments. It was not only patients who were being misled, but also staff members and colleagues. I have to admit those were the worst days of my career in oncology. I just wanted to stop in and give you an, ata girl!!! So proud of you and the grace in which you continue to exhibit to save others from undue stress and heartache. Best wishes, Mel