Last week, I wrote about John Catanzaro, a naturopath who Mark Driscoll has called his doctor. Driscoll has promoted Catanzaro in his sermons as the one who helped him overcome adrenal fatigue. This diagnosis is not a medical diagnosis but rather a theoretical concept often advanced by alternative medicine providers. Mars Hill promoted Catanzaro on the Resurgence website until recently when someone at MHC scrubbed all of Catazaro’s articles from the site. Although MHC has not given an explanation, the articles may have gone missing because Catanzaro’s license as a naturopath was suspended over allegations that he was giving untested cancer vaccines to patients.
To at least one patient, Catanzaro claimed he was working with Dr. Ken Anderson, an oncologist at Harvard’s Dana Farber Cancer Institute. On his Linked In page and his clinic website, he claims a special relationship with DFCI. However, it appears those claims are questionable.
On his Linked In page, Catanzaro says:
Dr. Catanzaro is pioneering movement toward personalized genetic and adaptive integrative immune treatment to fight cancer. He is working in a private movement with expert Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard cancer scientists in the area of cancer proteomics and molecular genetics in developing individualized HLA matched cancer peptide strategies through a subcontract with NeoBioLabs, Cambridge Ma.
Catanzaro’s clinic website says:
We are developing individual treatment strategies that will enhance each patient’s ability to fight and win the cancer battle; effectively blending medical science and integrative treatment to reach the cure. To accomplish this we are collaborating with Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard as well as University of Washington in the development of personalized cancer defense vaccines.
Consistent with Catanzaro’s claims, these bloggers describe a phone conversation where Catanzaro claimed he was working with DFCI and Ken Anderson to develop a cancer vaccine:
We are preparing for the development of the next immunotherapy vaccine with the Health & Wellness Center. I had a 2-hour conversation on the phone the other day with Dr. John Catanzaro, who talked us through why this vaccine is different and something to be particularly hopeful about… the most significant being that he is now partnering with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston!The first time that Chelsa and I read anything speaking of a CURE for Multiple Myeloma was forwarded by a friend from an article published about advances by doctors at Dana-Farber. This provided us with a great deal of hope, as well as assurance that the treatment we are pursuing with Health & Wellness Center is legitimate. It was SUPER encouraging to hear Dr. John say that he is now partnering with Dr. Ken Anderson at the Dana-Farber Institute to develop the same kind of vaccine for Chelsa that Dana-Farber Institute has experienced so much success with. (I included some links below if you want to know more).
With the help of Dr. John Peteet, a friend at DFCI, I was able to make contact with Ken Anderson who replied simply that there is “no connection” between Catanzaro and Anderson. A call to DFCI yielded a similar result. Teresa Herbert, spokeswoman for DFCI, told me:
Dr. Ken Anderson and John Catanzaro are not working on any projects together. They spoke on the phone once or twice but they are not working on any projects together and I am not aware that they ever were.
On his Linked In page above, Catanzaro mentions a sub-contract with NeoBioLabs. NBL is not a research group, but rather sells equipment and reagents used in research. In other words, the implication that Catanzaro is working with DFCI via NBL is misleading at best.*
Via email, twitter and Facebook, I asked Catanzaro and the Health and Wellness Institute for references or contacts at DFCI who could substantiate the claims but there has been no reply. Yesterday, Catanzaro appears to have responded indirectly to his suspension on his website. DFCI has promised to address several additional matters as soon as possible.
There are significant questions which remain for Catanzaro and DFCI to address. According to the information presented by Catanzaro’s patient, Catanzaro claimed that DFCI was being paid to help develop an individualized vaccine. However, since Catanzaro’s lab is not conducting approved clinical trials, it seems odd and frankly hard to believe that DFCI would provide the kind of services Catanzaro claims. Hopefully, DFCI can address this question soon. If there isn’t and hasn’t been a connection, then Mr. Catanzaro may have to explain more than his suspended license to his patients.
*Thanks to Dee Parsons for passing along the information on NBL.