Government Panel on Cancer Recommends

Funding Grant for Kushi Institute

This past February, the Cancer Advisory Panel on Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAPCAM) studied the cases of six cancer patients, presented by the Kushi Institute to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The meeting was held on February 25, 2002, at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to which CAPCAM belongs. NCI is a division of NIH and is the U.S. Government's main agency for research and information about cancer. The NCI states it ". . . will support rigorous scientific investigation of approaches with positive Best Case Series reviews." The outcome of this historic event is overwhelmingly positive for the Kushi Institute and the macrobiotic movement in general.


In order to have a fair evaluation of the modality being reviewed, the CAPCAM is split among members who come from conventional and alternative viewpoints. The panelists rigorously reviewed the medical and macrobiotic evidence presented by the Kushi Institute, in order to determine if macrobiotics may have been the critical factor in the survival of these patients, thereby warranting governmental funding for research.


All of the six persons whose cases were reviewed had been diagnosed with IVth stage metastasized cancer. All claim their seemingly miraculous full recoveries were the result of following a macrobiotic practice, which they all still do to this day.


The CAPCAM review included viewing patient slides and records, hearing expert testimony from a radiologist and pathologist, and listening to an explanation on macrobiotic theory and practice from Phiya Kushi, Executive Director of the Kushi Institute. In addition, three of the six persons whose cases were being reviewed were on hand to give personal testimony and to answer questions from the panelists.


At the end of a day-long, rigorous review, the panel of 15 physicians and scientists agreed that the evidence presented was impressive, and proved that macrobiotics as a Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapy is worthy of further study.


Furthermore, the panel voted unanimously to recommend to the NCI that governmental funding should be provided to the Kushi Institute for a prospective and full clinical study on macrobiotics and cancer! This is a landmark event, as there has never been a unanimous agreement by the CAPCAM such as in the Kushi Institute review.


This review was the first stage of the Kushi Institute's submission in the Best Case Series, an ongoing project of the NCI in its efforts to evaluate and support promising Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) practices. And well it should -- studies show that over half of the United States' population uses CAM therapies, yet less than half of one percent of the over twenty billion dollar budget of the NIH is appropriated to study and research of CAM methods.


The CAPCAM recommendation is wonderful news. For the past fifty years,macrobiotics has been a grass-roots movement. Its constant growth has been due to the ever-growing number of testimonials from people the world over whose illnesses have been reversed through macrobiotics. Many people, however, will not consider macrobiotics without scientific verification.


This strong acknowledgement by a governmental agency could lead not only to governmental funding, but also might create new direction from private donors who want to support studies on macrobiotics and nutritional approaches for cancer recovery; inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, colitis, and Crohns disease; cardiovascular diseases; and metabolic diseases such as diabetes. Macrobiotics is a natural and safe approach that has been effective in supporting recovery from all of these illnesses, and studies will make macrobiotic education and information available on a broader scale.


Although considered a CAM therapy by the medical and scientific establishments, according to Kushi Institute Executive Director Phiya Kushi, macrobiotics should not be considered an alternative, and placed in the same category as herbs, supplements, acupuncture, and other therapies which, like Western Medicine, can be helpful but address illness in a more symptomatic fashion. Mr. Kushi states, "Macrobiotics is the art and science of health and longevity through the study and understanding of the relation and interactions between ourselves, the foods we eat, the lifestyles we choose to lead, and the environments in which we liveā€¦. The macrobiotic approach to health recovery can be used along with conventional and alternative medical treatment and intervention, and is compatible with and adaptable to all forms of religious and traditional cultural practices."


For the past fifty years, the Kushi Institute has been quietly transforming people's health and quality of life. When the recommendations of the CAPCAM become a reality, macrobiotics will become more widely known. The greatest benefit of all from what happened on February 25, will be that more people facing cancer will be able to find out about the natural macrobiotic approach to cancer recovery, and like the six cases reviewed, will have new choices and the possibility of regaining a long and cancer-free life.
Kushi, Yu and Akbar Lead Research Effort


We have some wonderful people to thank, whose help made it possible for the Kushi Institute to successfully submit cancer cases to the NCI's Short Best Case Series.


LAWRENCE H. KUSHI, Sc.D., Associate Director for Etiology and Prevention Research, Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California.


Dr. Kushi also held the positions of Professor of Epidemiology at Columbia University and Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.


We would not have been able to present these cases were it not for Dr. Kushi's work in obtaining an initial grant. That grant of $30,000 went to a joint effort between the University of Minnesota and the Kushi Institute, and funded the efforts of locating people who had been diagnosed with cancer, had used macrobiotics to support their recovery, and were willing to take part in a study on macrobiotics and cancer.


Though hundreds of people responded, not all cases fit the strict requirements that must be met for submission to the NCI's Short Best Case Series. It was from these original files that we were able to abstract the six cases reviewed by the CAPCAM on February 25. Dr. Kushi was also present and spoke at the CAPCAM review.


CHRISTINE AKBAR, an assistant of Michio Kushi, spent countless hours obtaining the medical documentation on each case, and together with Dr. George W. Yu, did the monumental projects of completing the application and arrangement of all the file records.


GEORGE W. YU, M.D., is Clinical Professor of Urology at George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C.


As a surgeon, he noticed the dismal survival of his patients with invasive bladder cancer. To this day, the best chemotherapy results in a 50% partial response, and a 10 to 15% complete response. On a broader scale, he was investigating other modalities of therapy that could increase survival. His investigations led him to the Kushi Institute, and since that time he has been sending patients to the Kushi Institute's Way to Health program.


It was Dr. Yu who encouraged us to submit our cases to the NCI's Short Best Case Series, guided us through the application process, and helped us to put all the medical files in order with a systematized presentation format. On February 25, Dr. Yu performed the critically important task of presenting all the cancer patient files to the CAPCAM Panel.


After the CAPCAM review, Dr. Yu commented: "The lesson we have learned from this experience is that testimonials are powerful, but are insufficient to convince the broader community that supports the patients who wish to come to the Kushi Institute.


"Therefore, it is important for all macrobiotic counselors to proactively document and collect the health data necessary to validate any form of nutritional or medical treatment.


"It behooves us to take the extra time, both for the client and practitioner, to cooperate in assembling this kind of validative information, which is timeless and universal."


Two of the people whose cancer cases were reviewed have written autobiographies documenting their stories: Recovery from Cancer by Elaine Nussbaum and When Hope Never Dies by Marlene McKenna.


There are also several testimonials on recovery from other illnesses on our web site in the health recovery section of our website.

Also see: Macrobiotic and Cancer Update (february 2003) and The Stories That Made The Experts Listen!