DURING MY RESEARCH for my forthcoming book, “Cures vs. Profits: Successes in Translational Research” (World Scientific), I met dozens of people whose passion for the truth in science vastly outweighed the drive for profit. The topics included dark intrigue in the area of ADHD overdiagnosis. I included recent examples of clearly egregious criminal activities in the area of biomedicine (such as the doctor in Michigan who treated people who had no cancer with chemo, killing some), and in the area of biomedical research. I found bona fide successes in areas such as chemosensitivity assays, breast cancer hormone receptor based targeted treatments, and found absolutely wonderful news in the area of cancer immunotherapy. Of course, any book on translational successes in biomedicine must include vaccines, right?
I writing the chapter on vaccines (which was the last chapter I wrote), it felt half finished. I knew I had to address the Wakefield affair. Unaware of the ensuing controversy over the Thompson affair at the CDC, I blithely told the party-line story of how people who do not vaccinate their children place the very young, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems at risk.
How naive I was.
After I dug further in the Thompson affair, read the full transcripts of his revelations to Dr. Brian Hooker, I secured and read the research studies from the CDC on vaccines conducted and published during the 1990’s. What I found in the publications match the accusations of Thompson re: overcooked data analysis (Madsen et al.), omission of critical positive findings of association in African American males and in idiopathic autism (DeStefano et al., 2004). Some of the most damning evidence were copies of emails, secured by Brian Hooker after 10 years of resistance by the CDC (think about that…) due to pressure from US Sen. Bill Posey (R-Florida)… emails with titles such as “it just won’t go away” (meaning the association between vaccination and autism in the Madsen study). The CDC delayed publication of those results for four years, only to then leave out the original positive finding and (get your wonk hat on) only after using redundant covariates as ‘control variables’ (multicollinear variables should not all be used, it can cause spurious findings). They did not seek interaction terms between any of these factors and vaccination. The factors were birth weight, gestational age, income of the mother, and mother’s age.. .all potentially important factors that could make increase the toxicity of adjuvants such as ethyl mercury and aluminum.
The pattern of changing design and analysis protocols to fit the results of these vaccine safety studies to the pre-determined result of no association is outrageous, and every American should be pissed off that we were lied to, mislead, fed misinformation about the role of vaccines and diseases such as autism, ADHD, and others. They lied to us, then they lied about lying to us. If researchers funded by the NIH did this, not only would their papers be retracted from the journal in which they published, they would be fined and potentially jailed for misuse of federal funds to conduct research. A very big No-No.
These revelations are verified by Thompson in a statement from his lawyer, and then by DeStefano in interview with Sharyl Attkisson, in which DeStefano admitted that vaccines might cause autism in a minority of people. Pay no attention to Snopes on this, they have not done their homework. In fact, the credibility of the CDC was on the table for me after researching for my first book, “Ebola: An Evolving Story“, through which I found the CDC refusing to test kits for detection of Ebola because they had their own under development; I witnessed lies about the existence of mutations in Ebola; I heard misleading information from the CDC on how similar the 2013-2015 virus was to the virus from Zaire in 1995. Why?
Digging deeper, I found that profit motives were rampant within the CDC. Such motives, I had already found, skew the results, the type of studies done, and the interpretation of scientific studies. Key scientists at the CDC are not immune to such pressures.
The epiphany I had during this time was that our society needs a research institute in which the profit motive played no role. I envisioned taking on research topics in the public’s interest, with no consideration on whether I could someday make money from my invested time and energy in research.
A “pure public charity” doing research in the public interest, independent of profit pressures.
A few months later, IPAK is a reality. The Institute for Pure and Applied Medicine conducts and promotes research that is based on bona fide best practices in science. The project areas are numerous, and include:
Vaccine Safety Research Reform – Given that adjuvants are not needed, what changes need to be made in vaccine development to insure that they are both safe & effective?
Veteran’s Mental Health – Do soldiers who are deployed to active duty and those with desk jobs really have the same rate of suicide? We will look into that claim.
Reversing ADHD Overdiagnosis – One in five boys in Georgia are diagnosed with ADHD. How can this be, when the worldwide estimates are from 0.1% to 3%? What approaches can be used in schools to insure that only children who actually need psychotropic drugs are given them by their government-employed school nurses?
Accuracy in Treatments – It is estimated that inaccuracy in treatments is a cause for over a billion dollars of wasted money on ineffective treatments in the US each year. For cancer patients, they don’t have time for their oncologists to figure out that their current favorite industry-standard chemotherapy does not work. Which chemotherapies will work can in principle be determined before the patient is even treated. IPAK therefore promotes, supports and conducts research aimed at improving the accuracy of the use of cancer treatments. (NO, we don’t do ‘Alternative Medicine’. If it’s useful, run clinical trial and make it ‘medicine’).
Compassionate Use Paperwork Simplification – End-of-life patients and their loved ones sometimes do not have time to sort through the red tape for requesting off-label compassionate use of drugs and the experimental use of new drugs to try to save their or their loved ones’ lives. IPAK will research ways to simplify the process, and will go so far as to file the paperwork on your behalf, acting as a patient advocate.
Colon Cancer Prevention – I once gave a plenary presentation to a large group of pharmaceutial executives and told them that they had it in their power to prevent colon cancer. We know everything we need to know to drastically reduce the rate of colon cancer. I told them that in 10 years time, 1/2 a million people will have died from colon cancer. Fifteen years later, there is still no product that has been developed and received FDA approval to prevent colon cancer in at-risk populations. IPAK is working to popularize the hypothesis that some newly approved FDA drugs may well have the capacity to reduce colon cancer.
Infectious Disease Rapid Assay Development – We need to be able to rapidly and accurately screen for Ebola and other diseases prior to symptoms. IPAK is working with other institutions to bring forward new ways of amplifying weak molecular signals and dampen noise to provide highly sensitive and specific point-of-care diagnostics.
FDA Clinical Trial “Gold Standard” Reform – There are numerous valid ways of defining a robust and generalizable prospective clinical trial. The long-standing randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial has serious weaknesses – and the FDA does not even accept the result of the most power test available for that designs. We need to re-educated statisticians on the non-exclusivity of the randomized trial.
Please join us and help make IPAK make advances in these important areas. Our November membership drive is on, so visit http://ipaknowledge.org and navigate to the Donate page. You will receive our quarterly newsletter and membership in the Society for Pure and Applied Knowledge and a thank-you for your donation.
Please be generous, and please invite your friends and colleagues to join IPAK as well.
James Lyons-Weiler, PhD
CEO, President & Chairman of the Board
Institute for Pure and Applied Knowledge