The late Dr. Steinman was one of three joint winners of the Nobel Prize for Medicine. Few in the world may know more about cancer than Ralph Steinman did. And it was cancer… pancreatic cancer, specifically…that eventually caused his death.
Several years ago, Ralph Steinman was diagnosed to be jaundiced from spreading pancreatic cancer. Quickly, he began tailoring an experimental vaccine against his own tumor. He used the principles learned in his own experiments to produce immune cells derived from his own dendritic cells—the very class of cells he’d discovered in 1973. Dr. Steinman received standard chemotherapy for his cancer, as well as the experimental vaccine which other doctors injected under his skin. The program, ingenious as it was, ultimately failed.
Doctors die from the same diseases the rest of us do and usually for the same reasons—a disease the enters the body, where it’s hosted by a compromised immune system created in the context of an unhealthy lifestyle…an immune system which would likely have fought off its invader had it been nurtured by a continuing practice of the raw food diet…fasting and calorie restriction…and yoga practice.
There is friction between two worlds…the world of science and the world of those of us seeking to follow the best in preventive health practices through better eating and exercise.
There are ways to prevent cancer and other diseases…even before the need to cure them arises. Among these, programs of eating and exercise that minimize the chances given for disease to enter and foul the body.
There’s a key difference between our two camps—medical science looks at things going wrong…while we in the vegetarian-vegan-raw food camp look at how to make things go right…before they go wrong.
Ralph Steinman’s death was not a failure of science. It was, rather, a failure in the notion that science and what it knows are all that matters. It was a failure…of viewpoint.
Conventional medicine knows about—knows a lot about—how disease works…and about how parts of the body work. Internal organs. Skin. Systems within the body. Science is doing a superb job of getting down to the details. Medical science knows an awful lot about sickness…and an impressive bit about how to fix sickness once it’s begun. Science doesn’t know enough, yet—doesn’t know near enough…about how health works.
Medical science isn’t looking at what constitutes health, as distinct from illness…science is focused too much, too often, only on the detail, not enough on the big picture…too much on fixing what’s broken as distinct from preserving what’s sound and working well…on cure as distinct from prevention…on the parts, at the expense of looking at the whole.
On the other hand, we in the raw foods community don’t have the science we need, either. We’re still so small in number that we simply don’t have the long-term clinical studies of raw foods practices which will be required to legitimate our claims with verifiable certainty. We rely on secondary sources and on anecdotal evidence. Until this situation changes, self-education is a must. Since we must be our own researchers, learn from everyone who has been practicing this rare raw food lifestyle and benefit from their precious experience.