Ms Michelle Mitchell OBE,
CEO Cancer Research UK
PO BOX 1561
Oxford OX4 9GZ
14 August, 2023.
Dear Michelle Mitchell OBE,
Our organisation first contacted CRUK in 2014 with an open letter to then CEO Dr Harpal Kumar, with a view to establishing a constructive dialogue on cancer prevention and public education (1). As this initiative did not yield any tangible result, I am contacting you in your role as current CEO of the world’s largest cancer charity, to explore what has occurred over the last decade, with respect to our understanding of cancer and the role of CRUK.
Two of the most crucial issues are :
- The corporate social responsibility of CRUK to better inform and educate the public in the field of prevention ;
- The extensive and unnecessary use of animal models in CRUK-funded research.
- The corporate social responsibility of CRUK to better inform and educate the public in the field of prevention
In 2012/13, CRUK invested less than 5% of its total disposable income on information and education. Ten years later, in 2021/22, even less has been invested on information and education, since the figure of £ 28 million (less than 6% of the £ 471 million spent on charitable activities) includes « prevention and treatment, and on working with government and the NHS » (2).
In your document entitled « 2021/22 in review: Charity looks to the future with ambitious new strategy » dated 21 July, 2022, there is no mention of the paradigm shift that points to cancer as being more of a metabolic disease and less a genetic disease, which is a game-changer in terms of treatment outcomes as well as prevention for most cancers.
How is it possible that the world’s largest cancer charity is unaware of this ground-breaking work ? I refer here to the peer reviewed publications of Professor Thomas Seyfried at Boston College and colleagues demonstrating the beneficial effects of medically supervised intermittent fasting in conjunction with a ketogenic diet, with or without chemotherapy, even in stage 4 cancer patients (4, 5, 6). Other researchers have provided clinical evidence (published in the BMJ) of the benefits of medically supervised water only fasting in advanced stage cancer (7).
- The extensive and unnecessary use of animal models in CRUK-funded research
CRUK clearly states on its website that « Research involving animals is essential for beating cancer » and yet does not provide a single peer reviewed publication to substantiate that claim (8). Instead, it refers the public to Understanding Animal Research, which is an industry funded group that proactively supports and promotes animal experimentation.
Equally disappointing is the fact that CRUK continues to provide significant funding for animal based research, despite our current understanding of evolutionary biology and complex systems (9, 10). How is it possible that CRUK funded researchers are unaware of the fact that mice and men are separated by 90 million years of evolution and have each developed very different ways of coping with cancer ? How is it possible that CRUK funded researchers do not understand the fact that one evolved complex system (mice) cannot predict the effect of a perturbation (e.g. a chemical or a drug) on a differently evolved complex system (humans) ?
It would be very appreciated if you could provide clear and substantiated answers to these fundamental questions. In the spirit of transparency, it would also be very appreciated if your could reply in the form of an open letter so as to allow the public to study your comments.
Andre Menache BSc(Hons) BVSc Dip ECAWBM (AWSEL) MRCVS