It is a murky area, and one of the most fascinating examples has been that of a Pennsylvania chemist, Jim Sheridan, who invented a formula named Entelev that later went under labels such as Cancell and most especially Protocel -- and has long been claimed as either miraculous or wishful thinking.
Born in 1912 and educated under scholarship at Carnegie Tech
in Pittsburgh, Sheridan
was described as a "devoutly spiritual" man who -- in his early teens -- "would pray to God that he be able to use his intellect to help mankind," in the words of Tanya Harter Pierce in Outsmart Your Cancer: Alternative Non-Toxic Treatments That Work.
had prayed that he'd be able to help find a cure for cancer.
Late in high school, it is said, Sheridan
began experiencing a series of recurring dreams.
In them he
saw a strange chemical formula.
It meant nothing to Jim
, but the formula kept repeating.
No one young Sheridan knew could make sense of it.
"However," writes Pierce, "after Sheridan
started college, he came face to face with the chemical formula of his recurring dreams.
The article was printed in a huge source book, and Sheridan
just happened to have opened the book to that page.
"It was an article related to cancer and known carcinogens."
If that wasn't curious enough, in April of 1931, while demonstrating some concepts of chemistry at a Carnegie-Tech open-house meeting, Sheridan
was asked by a student if the color of a yellow liquid in one beaker could be changed to a different color, and the young chemist had answered that it indeed could, with use of an acid.
then randomly plucked an acid from a shelf, added it to the beaker -- and to his
shock the liquid "turned all the colors of the rainbow in perfectly defined layers"!
Shortly after that, Sheridan
was given a project related to what was known as the "Debye-Hückel Theory."
Suffice it to say that this involves the thermodynamics of solutions.
started studying the Debye-Hückel Theory," writes Pierce, "he also realized that the chemical formula he had dreamed about in high school, and then had found by accident after starting college, was in fact associated with the Debye-Hückel Theory!
Looking back, it certainly seemed that events were leading Sheridan
in a very specific direction."
The final event took place, it seems, on September 6, 1936, when Sheridan
had another unusual dream while taking a nap.
In the dream, he
saw that the layers of the rainbow symbolized respiratory enzymes.
Each color represented one at a different level of cellular energy.
Somehow, to Sheridan
, this suggested that understanding a cell's use of energy (the flow its electrical potential) could help explain the cause of a cancer -- and perhaps, more importantly, a cure for the proliferation of such cells.
Amazingly, Sheridan (who also earned a law degree, and was employed as a chemist for Dow Chemical) worked on the formula (often mostly in his spare time) from the 1930s until the 1990s (part of the time under a grant from the Detroit Cancer Institute).
The theory: that by slightly lowering the voltage of cells, cancer cells, which are low men on the energy "totem pole" (relying on fermentation instead of oxidation) would succumb to the minor electrical shift while other cells would not. (Protocel, which he
soon invented, does this by interfering with what they call adenosine triphosphate.)
When outside experts evaluated what Sheridan
was doing and decided it was worthy of human clinical tests, the American Cancer Society
stepped in, claiming Sheridan could not prove he
owned the idea and halted the program.
Shortly after, Sheridan
was fired from the Detroit Institute of Cancer Research
was also blocked from having his
treatment analyzed in an official way when the NCI
refused to execute testing on it over the course of the regular 28-day period and instead wanted it evaluated in the same five-day period that was used for toxic treatments like chemotherapy (which act quicker, but in Sheridan's mind, are not a long-term cure).
It wasn't until 1978 and 1980 that the chemist was able to get the institute to run animal tests, but again the institute would not run the test over the twenty eight days specified and rejected his
formula as ineffective.
The testing was completed in eight days instead of the twenty-eight he
said it required.
Was this a deliberate attempt at quashing a potentially revolutionary cure, or just an institutional blind spot and knee-jerk evaluation?
"The important thing to remember is that, although Jim Sheridan's
formula was officially suppressed and successfully kept out of mainstream medicine, it did not die," says Pierce -- clearly a proponent.