Doctor to practice alternative methods for treating cancer: Conference will discuss how to scientifically evaluate if new treatments are working

Steven G. Ayre MD - photo by Sandy Bressner
Steven G. Ayre MD – photo by Sandy Bressner

Kenneth Patchen, Staff Reporter. Lakeland Newspapers, July 31, 1997.

“We need to bring human values into our science,” said Dr. Steven G. Ayre. To do this, he will soon begin a new stage of his medical practice, education, and career.

Ayre, a Grayslake resident practicing at Primary Care Family Center in Antioch, has been invited by the National Institutes of Health, Office of Alternative Medicine, Bethesda MD, to participate in a conference Aug. 4 through 6. Attendees will discuss ways to evaluate cancer treatments that combine conventional, complementary, and alternative medical treatments for patients.

When he returns from the conference, he will begin to treat patients for cancer in a way that no doctor has been allowed to treat them for 60 years.

“I am just a scientific liaison for my colleagues in Mexico,” he said. “I do not practice this therapy,” he said of his work now. The treatment is known as Insulin Potentiation Therapy, IPT.

Ayre has studied IPT for many years, but has refrained from using it. However, the NIH conference will provide a science-based method for him to move forward with treatment for cancer patients, that he has always believed to be of value. For the first time, the conference will establish the use of a system of patient care evaluation that is applicable to a scientific framework.

“It’s a very important conference,” he said. “It is creating a level playing field upon which practitioners of non-traditional cancer treatments can go ahead and treat patients are report that data on a newly organized scientific format.” The old format is being supplemented, he said, on part to respond to a congressional mandate.

The U.S. Congress is the origin of change. A study by the medical profession found that many people were seeking cures for problems through alternative medical treatments. In response to that finding, Congress mandated the creation of the Office of Alternative medicine to study the phenomenon, Ayre said. Congress was responding to the reality of what people were doing, particularly those with cancer.

The Office of Alternative Medicine was created within the National Institutes of Health. A family physician, Dr. Wayne B. Jonas, is now the director of this office. Ayre said Jonas set forth to determine why “there are people out there getting well going to see these people” who provide alternative treatments. To do this, Jonas created POMES, an acronym for Prospective Outcomes Monitoring Evaluation System.

POMES is a method in which “non-traditional treatments are being studied in the field on human beings and that can be considered valid scientific data.” In other words, patients receive a treatment from their doctor in his office and the results are counted to determine if the treatment works. If a treatment appears to have promise, the National Institutes of Health will design a study to further evaluate the treatment is a prospective clinical trial (as opposed to a retrospective analysis).

Ayre speaks highly of Jonas. “Wayne Jonas should get a prize for stepping out and doing this” new format for research, he said. “He believes in the mandate form Congress.”

To Ayre, the conference represents an opportunity to being human values (such as openness and sensitivity) into scientific methodology. He sees it as an opportunity for treatment options to become available to people who have cancer and to build those treatments further into powerful medical treatment tool.

Ayre is at the conference to discuss the first of four methods to evaluate treatment. The four are: best case series, retrospective analysis, prospective single arm approach (i.e. no control group), and basic science. Ayre is there to demonstrate the virtue of a best-case series approach for initial evaluation of non-traditional cancer treatment.

He will also be present at the conference to moderate another session that will discuss the issues related to POMES. Lawyers, traditional practitioners, and non-traditional practitioners will meet to talk about the proposals.

“It is anticipated that conflict will arise,” he said.

He gives considerable credit to MD Anderson of Houston, Texas for assuring that his work was brought before NIH for consideration at the conference.

Upon his return to Illinois, Ayre will begin research under the new NIH guidelines. “I’m going to start research which is basically just treating the patients with the treatment,” he said.

Ayre has had a career-long interest in the value of Insulin Potentiation Therapy (IPT). First developed by Dr. Perez Garcia more than 60 years ago, the therapy is considered to be outside proper medical practice. Ayre has focused his work with IPT on the need to somehow respond to the demands of scientific inquiry. He has presented papers in peer-reviewed medical literature, attended scientific conferences, and undertaken “animal studies on the unrecognized actions of insulin on biomembranes.”

What is Insulin Potentiation Therapy? It is a hormone being used as a medicine. “In this therapy, insulin is being used as a drug which has the action to potentiate, or enhance the actions of other drugs on cells,” said Ayre. IPT is biological response modifier. He gives another example not related to IPT.

“Cortisone is a hormone used as hormone replacement therapy for Addison’s Disease just as insulin is used as hormone therapy for diabetes. Cortisone is also used widely as a drug for a lot of conditions that have nothing to do with Addison’s Disease. In these circumstances, cortisone is being used as a drug with pharmacological actions that are useful in the treatment of many Addison-related conditions. Similarly, IPT is used as a drug.”

When he returns from the conference, Ayre will step into a new world of research under the rules of the National Institutes of Health and its Office of Alternative Medicine. He will have left his practice with Primary Care Family Center medical practice in Antioch to work with the Kingsley Medical Center, Arlington Heights. Ayre will be doing what physicians do and what researchers do.

He stresses, “without the work of Dr Perez Garcia I would have nothing of value to say to anybody.” He hopes that his contribution will serve as a bridge between those who have come before him with intuitive and clinical-based knowledge of IPT as a cancer treatment and those who no demand the rigor of scientific methodology to establish treatment effectiveness and value.

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