Jerry Lampe and Ruth Phillips — two of America’s longest-lived mesothelioma survivors — won’t feel so helpless now when a newly diagnosed patient asks for their secret to success.
the controversial Immune Augmentation Therapy (IAT) Clinic in Freeport, Bahamas, will reopen in October, giving mesothelioma patients another proven, alternative therapy option.
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IAT operated outside of US regulations from 1977 to 2016.
The name has changed to Quantum Immunologics, but the philosophy surrounding cancer treatment is exactly the same, a throwback to then lamp and Phillips were originally treated.
“Our basic treatment hasn’t changed,” Dr. Eric Brown, new medical director, to Asbestos.com. “We know that mesothelioma can be treated here. It is treated here and has been successfully treated in the clinic in the past.”
Two Old Believers
Lampe, 78, was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma 38 years ago. He was treated regularly for four years before leaving the clinic cancer-free. Today he lives on a farm outside of Kansas City.
Philips, 66, was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma 19 years ago. There she was treated regularly for 15 years. She lives an hour northwest of Atlanta today.
Both are thriving, giving credit to the IAT clinic and are excited about the reopening.
“Obviously you can argue about the effectiveness of the treatment so long ago, but for some reason I’m still alive,” Lampe said. “Unless it was divine intervention, or just blind luck, I don’t know. Something worked there. I would tell anyone diagnosed with mesothelioma now that you should at least take a look.”
Phillips said the clinic has been a big factor in her care over the years.
“It was an important part of what saved me,” she said. “Now that they’re open again, I’m happy to talk about it again. It’s kind of empowering to help other people by recommending it.”
Help the immune system work
The theory behind the IAT clinic involves fighting cancer by revitalizing and restoring a patient’s individualized immune system.
The belief is that the body’s own immune system – at its optimal level – is the best line of defense, giving a person the ability to destroy cancer cells or prevent them from multiplying.
There is no chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery — proven, standard treatments — and none of the serious side effects associated with it.
There are no oncologists on staff. Treatment involves tuning the immune system to a level it cannot achieve alone.
This philosophy, once considered quackery, became the forerunner of today’s more accepted immunotherapy which is being developed in leading cancer centers around the world.
Many established centers, moving towards alternative alternative medicine, have started offering variations on what IAT did for decades.
Individual treatment in the Bahamas
The therapy at IAT consisted of daily injections of a protein mixture that is regularly adjusted and made from the blood of healthy donors.
It is individualized to supplement a patient’s own immune system.
It can take up to eight weeks of daily treatment to achieve the perfect balance. Patients are then sent home with personalized serum to use alone.
The clinic will again operate outside of any strict government regulations or oversight of the US medical community.
Most prominent oncologists in the US won’t recommend it, but former patients like Lampe and Phillips will praise it.
“They had some issues just before it closed, but it sounds like they’ve been straightened out,” Phillips said. “I still believe in what they have done for me and will do so again. Until I went there, I never thought I would live past 50. I’m here today because of what they’ve done for me.’
The US Food and Drug Administration once lobbied in vain to shut down IAT. The actual shutdown came after founder Dr. Lawrence Burton died and successor Dr. John Clement retired.
Changing philosophy, poor management, continued skepticism from the US medical establishment and aging workforce led to a rapid, downward spiral.
Back to what worked years ago
Brown, who once worked with Burton and Clement, is behind the reopening.
Lynn Austin, a nurse and administrator who spent nearly 40 years at IAT under Burton and Clement, has also returned.
A former patient donated more than $250,000 to upgrade and modernize the facility where it will be housed just a few blocks in advance.
“I started here a long time ago and I became a believer after what I saw,” Austin said. “I’d see a sick patient come in and think, oh dear, I don’t know if we can help him. And very often I was pleasantly surprised at how well they did.”
The clinic will treat a wide variety of cancers, including more common types than mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive cancer with no definitive cure.
Lampe and Phillips first came to the Bahamas after being diagnosed at leading US cancer centers
Both had their diagnosis reconfirmed in other US facilities. Neither had much hope of survival, which led to their first trip to Freeport, believing it was their only chance.
“We’re excited about what we can now offer these patients, who often have no other options,” Brown said. “To see them come in and then leave in remission, or cancer free, that really triggers me. That’s why I’m doing this again.”
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