New Director Attends Office of Alternative Medicine Advisory Meeting

May 1, 1995
Oncology NEWS International, Oncology NEWS International Vol 4 No 5, Volume 4, Issue 5

BETHESDA, Md--Wayne Jonas, MD, director-designate of the NIH Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM), who will take office on July 1, has attended his first meeting of the Alternative Medicine Program Advisory Council (AMPAC).

BETHESDA, Md--Wayne Jonas, MD, director-designate of the NIH Officeof Alternative Medicine (OAM), who will take office on July 1,has attended his first meeting of the Alternative Medicine ProgramAdvisory Council (AMPAC).

In his address to AMPAC, Dr. Jonas, an army physician who hasstudied alternative therapies, said that the original purposeof the OAM was to look at and report on claims of treatments forcancer and other diseases that fall outside the realm of traditionalmedicine, and to establish a clearinghouse for alternative treatments.But, he said, "people invested too many of their hopes inOAM; that is, they relied on OAM to do what traditional medicinecannot: cure cancer."

He noted that the first 3½ years of the OAM's operation havebeen marred by political meddling, as well as administrative andmanagement problems that have hampered the office's ability toconduct appropriate field investigations of a variety of alternativetreatments.

Dr. Jonas assured the AMPAC members that he is committed to excellentscience. "If we do not have top-notch science at OAM, theinvestigations will go nowhere," he said, adding that hefelt confident of continuing NIH support.

Alan Trachtenberg, MD, MPH, who has been serving as acting directorof OAM, reported on the various treatment modalities that havebeen in the OAM's spotlight since its inception in 1991.

In terms of cancer, there is little positive to report, he said.Two children with brain tumors are enrolled in a trial of antineoplastons(substances extracted from urine that have been shown to promoteregression of neoplastic cells in vi-tro), and no patients areenrolled in a study of shark cartilage for solid tumors.

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