It’s not everyday that you see some of the worlds leading cancer scientists attending a scientific forum put on by a hospital from Mexico. But CHIPSA hospital isn’t your average hospital and the scientists showed presenting their research, much of which they are working on with CHIPSA.
Take for instance Dr. Franco Marincola. The famed former chief of immunogenetics for the NIH, editor of 9 peer reviewed publications and co-author of the textbook mosts oncologists use for immunotherapy reference. Dr. Marincola joined the CHIPSA Scientific advisory board in June and speaks highly of their work and passion for translational science.
Or Dr. Vijay Mahant, who did his post doctorate at MD Anderson in 1985 and invented the prostate cancer test that is widely used today. He also co-founded auto-genomics a leading liquid biopsy company that is studying diagnosing cancer through the blood.
Or Dr. Phillip Kim who has worked for Nestle or Dr. Thomas Ichim who has been published 123 times for cancer and stem cell research.
CHIPSA is a different hospital. It’s work in translational cancer research has always kept it ahead in many ways from the traditional hospital models. CHIPSA CEO says: “CHIPSA has been doing Immunotherapy for cancer for 38 years. Long before we really understood the mechanisms of action, back when immunotherapy was doubted. Well immunotherapy just won two Nobel prizes in 7 years and it’s about time people start recognizing that CHIPSA has been doing many of these things for a long time.”
Clay goes on: “Take checkpoint inhibitors. Dr. Allison and Dr. Honjo were just announced the winners of the Nobel prize. We’ve been using both pd1 inhibitors and ctla4 inhibitors for many years. And we’ve moved way beyond that. Our focus with these is how to allow our innate immune stimulating treatments to turn a tumor from cold to hot, which could allow checkpoint inhibitors to work even better. So it’s not like we don’t look at conventional treatments. Many of the ideas our doctors were called quacks for are now mainstream. Our doctors just don’t like to wait to be told it’s “ok” to save someone’s life.”
CHIPSA boasts a roster of 23 integrative MD’s, 2 naturopathic doctors, and 2 surgeons. They are building a cutting edge cryoablation suite to “freeze” tumors with their interventional radiologist. Their rolodex of scientists that are working or collaborating with them range from Nobel prize laureates to FDA investigators. And 3 of their treatments have received FDA phase 1 clearance in the last year alone.
“Methodology really interests me. The scientists that we work with are very good in immunotherapy and genetics. So with immunotherapy the timing of these treatments and understanding how the immune system works is key for our patients success. And if we can turn on the genetics and follow this closely we will have an even better chance of getting more and more durable remissions because we can time when to activate it. When the immune system does the final killing of the cancer, specifically the adaptive immune system, you can get real cures. And that’s what the world is looking for. Not 3 month life extension with full blown chemo. We want cures. And we see them every now and then. And conventional oncologists are seeing them more now with the checkpoint inhibitors. But we still have a ways to go. At least now it’s recognized that to get a cure it can’t be done with a drug, you’ve got to activate the immune system.”
This is not something that you would hear from a hospital CEO in the United States. Clay, a former professional fighter and trainer, bought CHIPSA with his two best friends for his mom. He took his experience with training high level athletes and professional teams and used it to help patients overcome their illness: “My mom was sick and we were out of options. I’d read a paper from 1923 on Coley’s toxins for Rheumatoid arthritis and it was interesting. We had tried all conventional options and so I became familiar with other options. I studied Gerson therapy, ozone and bunch of things.
So we bought CHIPSA, my mom was our 2nd patient when the doors opened, she came in a wheel chair and left walking. Her RA is still in remission and it’s amazing. I feel very blessed to have my mom and that we were able to purchase CHIPSA.”
In 2013 CHIPSA closed for two years due to the retirement of Dr. Ortuno. Ortuno founded CHIPSA in it’s different names and partnered with Charlotte Gerson. In 1996 the famed oncologist Dr. Josef Issels moved from Germany to Mexico to spend his last years. He brought with him protocols for different peptide vaccine and what is now known as dendritic cell vaccines.
The first dendritic cell vaccine called Provenge was approved by the FDA in 2009 and in 2011 Bruce Buetler was awarded the Nobel prize in medicine for his work ton dendritic cells, specifically his TLR-4 discovery. Buetler now collaborates with CHIPSA through Batu Biologics where he is a member of their scientific advisory board.
“Our goal since taking over CHIPSA is to build bridges with the scientific community. There’s too much fighting out there and the reality is we’re all doing our best to cure cancer. We should be building bridges between each other instead of fighting over who’s right. No one that I know of can cure every patient so until we can we need to be working together.” But building bridges wasn’t that easy.
When Clay and his team started they encountered a lot of obstacles. “People are skeptical of change. There’s a saying that the only person that likes change is a baby in wet diapers… So we understand that and many people that were harsh on us at first have gotten to know that we’re serious about taking this on and making a difference. We have thick skin and don’t take any of it personal. As soon as we take it personal we make it about ourselves and forget about the bigger picture of helping people and serving others.”