1994 article (on the occasion of a LIFE magazine article om Springer's work) by Nancy Evans for Breast Cancer Action, San Francisco:
"Twenty years ago, Dr. Springer developed an early-detection cancer test. It is a skin test (a procedure similar to the one used to detect tuberculosis) that measures certain antigens occurring on the surface of cells, signalling that the immune system is revving up to fight cancer.
Springer reports research findings that show the test to be 90% accurate (compared with 75-80% accuracy for mammograms in postmenopausal women and 60% accuracy in premenopausal women) and he asserts that it can detect cancer years before a tumor can be seen on a mammogram.
Springer has also developed a vaccine aimed at preventing the recurrence of breast cancer, the disease that took the life of his wife. When she was given a year to live, she became his first experimental patient. She lived for six more years. Since that time, Springer has used the vaccine in treating women with breast cancer.
In his first study group of 19 women, all survived for five years, the statistical .cure" point. With standard treatment, only 75% of women survive for five years. In Springer's study group of 19 women, 16 (84%) remain alive today, 11 (58%) having survived 10 years or more. Compare that with the survival rate of those in standard treatment: 50% survive for 10 years. Considering the costs of standard treatment, in both financial and in human terms, Springer's vaccine offers a compelling contrast.
Conventional chemotherapy can cost as much as $60,000, and bone marrow transplants up to $175,000. The annual per- patient cost of Springer's vaccine: $1500. Because it is experimental, however, the vaccine is not covered by insurance.
Clearly a man before his time, Springer and his work have been denigrated by the cancer establishment. Scientists refer to his findings as "interesting data," but say that not enough women have been tested to make the findings significant.
However, as cancer treatment inches away from the "slash, burn, and poison" approach toward therapies that use the body's own immune system to combat cancer, his approach may hold greater appeal, particularly to women with the disease.
It seems not only appropriate but imperative that larger studies of Springer's approach to detection and treatment of breast cancer begin so that statistically significant results can be achieved.
The Life article also reports that 24 other vaccines are being studied at various research sites to determine their effectiveness against breast and other cancers. One such study is being conducted by University of Pittsburgh immunologist Olivera Finn; she expects results this summer. Watch for additional articles on the vaccine approach in future issues of the BCA newsletter."
Proposal Could Settle Cancer Vaccine Suit
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
A North Chicago medical school and about 50 breast cancer patients have agreed to settle a lawsuit over a canceled experimental vaccine program that some patients said they needed to keep them alive.
The suit, filed in July, accused the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science of violating medical ethics and breaching contracts by ending the program. School officials ended the program earlier this year, calling it ineffective.
Under the proposed settlement, which the school's trustees could approve, the university would finance the patients' pursuit of Food and Drug Administration approval for the vaccine, the university said in a statement on Friday night.
Robert Cummins, the patients' lawyer, said his clients had agreed to settle the case because they would be able to obtain the vaccine if the F.D.A. approved it.
Dr. Georg Springer started the vaccine program in 1974 at Northwestern University Medical School and moved it to Rosalind Franklin, formerly Finch University/Chicago Medical School, in 1989. The school has said that while the vaccine had been part of an approved research study only since 1997, it had been given to patients since the 1970's.
Mr. Cummins has said that the program was to continue using an estimated $18 million gift Dr. Springer left to the school.
The lawsuit contended that patients had signed consent forms stating that the treatment, intended to boost the immune system, would continue "ad infinitum," or for the rest of their lives.
New York Times article, October 31, 2004
Writer Jock Doubleday, 1998
December 31, 2006
LINK to Breast Journal article
Vaccine issues study underway
LINK to NYC Med Ctr
site on Vaccines
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