Recently we visited a number of clinics in
Mexico. These included:
IMAQ - Dr. Castillo's clinic
San Diego Clinic
We met with Dr. Castillo
on a Saturday afternoon while his clinic was open (about seven patients
were in the IV room). We had
the opportunity to ask him a number of questions about his practice and
his approach to treating people with cancer.
He seemed very friendly, relaxed and open and was comfortable
fielding any question we had for him.
Experience – Dr.
Castillo has over twenty years of experience in using alternative methods
to treat individuals with cancer. He
worked for four years at the Oasis of Hope hospital in the early 1980’s,
under the direction of Dr. Contreras, Sr. This is where Dr. Castillo gained experience in working with the
metabolic approach to cancer. (This
includes a range of nutritional and immune support products administered
through IV. Typically, this includes high doses of vitamin C,
anti-oxidants, DMSO, and laetrile.)
After Dr. Contreras Sr.
left Oasis, Dr. Castillo moved to the Gerson clinic for one and a half
years, and then later worked at the BioMedical Center (Hoxsey clinic) for
one year. He has now managed
his own clinic for about nine years.
Overall, Dr. Castillo
seemed to have a wealth of experience in treating all types of cancers, as
well as a lot of experience in working with a range of therapies.
Treatment Philosophy –
Dr. Castillo uses a range of tools to strengthen an individual’s immune
system to bring them back into balance, reduce the tumor load, and prevent
further occurrences. This
includes metabolic therapy (IV’s of vitamin C, antioxidants, DMSO,
laetrile, etc), nutritional and herbal products, and a Hoxsey-like herbal
formula (when appropriate).
Relationship – We didn’t get the opportunity to talk with any of Dr.
Castillo’s patients while we were visiting, but we have heard good
feedback about Dr. Castillo from people we have talked with over the phone
who have seen him. We got the
impression that he is an attentive listener, that he sincerely cares about
his patients, and that he’s easy to talk with.
Diet – Dr. Castillo’s
clinic is an out-patient facility and doesn’t serve food. However, he’s very familiar with the Gerson diet (having worked
there for a year and a half), and recommends a diet regimen for his
patients. (did he comment on
the diet he recommends for his patients?)
Costs –Dr. Castillo
tries to keep his overhead low in order to offer affordable services to
people – he feels this is a very high priority since most people with
cancer seeking alternative treatment cannot afford to pay a lot of money
for care. From what we saw
and heard, it seems he has achieved this goal. He shares office space with two other doctors (a biological
dentist and another alternative MD), and for most patients, he’s able to
charge only $5000-$7000 for three weeks of care.
Herbal Medicine – Dr.
Castillo works with herbal medicine, in addition to nutrition and
Homeopathy – Dr.
Castillo said the other MD that works in his clinic is certified in
- Dr. Castillo said he recognized the importance of dealing with
mental/emotional issues in the healing process, but that he did not have
any professionals in-house that worked with mental/emotional healing. He said that when necessary, he refers patients to a local
Facility – Overall, Dr.
Castillo’s clinic seemed clean, well organized, professional, friendly,
and comfortable. His on-sight testing equipment seemed very modern. The clinic
includes an IV room which includes comfortable chairs facing an atrium, allowing patients who are receiving
IV’s to watch the birds and focus on a relaxing setting.
Staff – Dr.
Castillo’s staff seemed friendly, accommodating and flexible. We felt welcomed and supported during our visit.
Gerson – I asked Dr.
Castillo about his experience with the Gerson therapy in particular. Specifically I wanted to know if he felt the Gerson diet included a
sufficient amount of protein. He
said that in his one and half years at the Gerson clinic, he had never
seen a patient show any signs of protein deficiency. He added that the vegetables in the diet contain a sufficient
amount of protein – if the person on the diet follows the program as
designed. He also said that
although he valued the Gerson approach, he often felt while working at the
Gerson clinic that the diet and supplement regimens should have been more
customized for each patient. (It’s
been a long time since he’s worked at the Gerson clinic, however, so
this is not a comment on their current program.)
Laetrile – I asked Dr.
Castillo how significant laetrile was in his overall tool kit for treating
people with cancer. He said
that laetrile was a significant tool – when used appropriately – and
that he would definitely feel handicapped without it. He also said that he has seen excellent results with certain types
of cases when using a hoxsey-like formula in combination with laetrile.
Hyperthermia – I asked
Dr. Castillo about his opinion on hyperthermia. He said he chooses not to use it with his patients, since he
believes it only provides superficial and temporary relief of the cancer. (Hyperthermia is the practice of raising the temperature of the
patient to a level at which their cancer cells die. Local and whole body hyperthermia is used by some doctors to reduce
tumor load.) He prefers
instead to address the underlying cause of the cancer, by strengthening
the immune system, detoxifying and nourishing the individual.
Filiberto Munoz, MD met
with us with his colleague Vincent Gammill, ScD, a research biochemist. Both
seemed very friendly, articulate, focused and open to answering all of our
Experience – Dr. Munoz has worked with many integrative/alternative
cancer clinics, including those of Manner, Hoxsey, Freeman, and
Scheidl. About five years ago
he became medical director of the San Diego Clinic where he instituted the
use of German immune-boosting strategies.
Vincent Gammill has been
a research biochemist for approximately 20 years during which
time he has synthesized, extracted, and formulated hundreds of medicines. He was the first commercial manufacturer of cetyl myristoleate and
has been working with cancer vaccines since the early 1990’s. Although
not a direct employee of the clinic, Vincent (who prefers first-name
informality) has been a clinical research consultant for the clinic for
the past ten years. He also has a San Diego area consultation
service (for clinicians and patients), and an R&D laboratory for
the design of new pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals.
Treatment Philosophy –
Dr. Munoz spoke about the work he’s doing with cancer vaccines,
tumor-site injectables, and immune support therapies. It was clear from our discussion that he likes keeping up on the
latest and greatest research for cancer treatment (conventional and
alternative), and that he’s very thoughtful in discerning how he can
best incorporate various approaches in his practice. Dr. Munoz does have a background in standard metabolic therapy
(that is using IV vitamin C, antioxidants, laetrile, immune boosters,
etc), but in practice he relies heavily on correcting immune dysfunctions
and stimulating the immune system in ways that directly target the cancer.
If the immune dysfunction can't be remedied, the strategy becomes one of
finding a safe and effective multi-modal strategy for bypassing
Dr. Munoz seemed very
creative as a practitioner, both in terms of seeking out new ways to help
a particular patient, but also in terms of how to treat patients that have
little or no money to spend on health care.
Overall we got the impression that he is really conscientious in
his work and that he really cares about his patients.
Dr. Munoz said he was
hoping that there would be more communication and sharing of ideas amongst
the various doctors in the Tijuana area that are treating cancer patients
with alternative methods. He
mentioned a few other doctors that were open to this type of exchange of
ideas (Dr. Alvarez at Stella Maris for example), but most were
Vincent Gammill spoke at
length about the research related to cancer vaccines, comparisons of nutritional
and alternative approaches, and the unique strategies that they use at this clinic. His major
emphasis was the importance of understanding the mechanism of action
of all medications/nutrients and their biochemical
pathways. Only then can one develop a coherent protocol.
Laetrile – I asked Dr.
Munoz how significant laetrile was in his treatment protocol. He often uses a sub-component of laetrile (a benzaldehyde clathrate),
which he said was an important natural medication in his tool
Facility – The clinic
is used mainly for consultation, examination and testing.
Treatments such as the IV infusions take place at the BioMedics Institute.
Dr. Munoz is making changes in the San Diego Clinic so that it
conforms to Mexican regulations such as tile floors instead of carpet. That
way more of the treatments can take place at the clinic. We
toured BioMedics Institute later in the day. It seemed clean, professional, and nicely decorated.
It included exam/consultation rooms and rooms for IV therapy,
hyperthermia, and radiation.
Diet – Vincent and Dr.
Munoz were both concerned that the patients who come to the area do
not have many options for good healthy food. (The hotel that most of their patients stay at is surrounded by
fast food restaurants and doesn’t provide kitchen services.) So – Dr. Munoz is in the process of putting together a housing
facility for patients – one which would keep the cost of their stay to a
minimum and provide good food. This
is still in the planning and design stage. Vincent emphasizes that
whatever diet the patient was on the preceding five years did not serve
them well. This must be the starting place of designing changes.
As an example he points to vegetarians who get cancer and the delicacy
that is often required in finding a solution that does not violate their
Mind/Body – Dr. Munoz
also said he recognized the importance of dealing with mental/emotional
issues in the healing process, but that he did not work directly with any
professionals that worked with emotional healing. Like other doctors in the area, he said that when necessary, he
refers patients to a local psychologist.
Hyperthermia – Dr.
Munoz sometimes recommends microwave hyperthermia for his patients. He contracts out the hyperthermia treatment with specialists at
BioMedical Institute, which he believes are the most skilled in this type
of therapy. They say that high rates of remission are routine with
proper patient screening and the use of hyperthermia sensitizers.
Relationship – We’ve talked with people that have worked with Dr.
Munoz and Vincent Gammill and have heard excellent reports – the
patients felt Dr. Munoz and Vincent were genuinely concerned about their
situation and were putting forth their best effort possible in both
keeping the patient costs down and providing optimal care.
Costs – Because they
vary the treatment so much, it was impossible for Dr. Munoz and Vincent to
give us a price range. In
general, they try to work within the means of the patient.