HEIGH HO. The GcMaf saga continues. In response to Mr Noakes (Open Lines, Guernsey Press, 31 July): Yes, there are lots of papers and medical opinions that have been put forward suggesting a link between the MMR and autism. However, all of this data has been reviewed and it has been established that there is no statistically significant evidence to make such a link.
Whatever an Italian court may have decided, there is no evidence that children ‘contract’ autism from the MMR or anything else. It is a developmental disorder for which there appears to be a strong genetic predisposition.
I am intrigued by the claim that 60% of children treated with GcMaf and ultrasonography recover sufficiently to go to ‘normal’ school. I don’t know the exact proportion but I would hazard that 60% of children with autism in Guernsey are already in mainstream education, including the Grammar School and colleges, so what exactly is meant by ‘recovery’? Who determines whether they have recovered? Are they assessed by independent paediatricians or clinical psychologists or only by the doctors prescribing the GcMaf?
GcMaf may well be a naturally occurring part of the immune system. However, there isn’t anything natural in extracting it from the blood of one body and injecting it into another. That, as one would expect the CEO of a biotechnology company and his medical advisors to be aware, makes it a medicinal product and subject to strict regulations.
It also seems reasonable to expect that the clinical director would be fully aware that no amount of peer-reviewed published papers on lab experiments and small scale open label studies provides adequate proof to meet the requirements of those regulations.
I am curious to know why 10 of those papers include Mr Noakes as an author. I was under the impression he had no scientific or medical training.
I have no idea why Immuno Biotec chose to market a treatment without complying with any of the regulations unless, as appears to be the case, the CEO simply does not understand what actually constitutes scientifically valid evidence. But there is nothing sinister about the fact that they have now been prevented from doing so. Would the conspiracy theorists please note, bona fide licensed clinical trials on GcMaf are continuing unmolested. (Interesting article in The Times, 31 July, Opinion – by Ben Goldacre, author of ‘Bad Pharma’ – ‘Britain will be the loser if we dumb down clinical trials.’)
In response to Matt Waterman’s question as to why all the various companies marketing GcMaf have been targeted now, I believe it is the result of an international campaign orchestrated by an autism rights group (not Big Pharma), who alerted the various regulatory bodies that these companies were marketing an untested, unlicensed experimental product directly to vulnerable individuals and their families; often without any medical supervision.
Once aware of this, the regulatory bodies acted appropriately and suspended the activities of these companies and the various clinics involved, pending further investigation.
National Autistic Society Guernsey Branch.