Tropic of Cancer

“Cancer doesn’t discriminate between red or blue, it doesn’t care if you’re a Republican or a Democrat,” proclaimed Joe Biden at the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston on Monday, the 60th anniversary of JFK’s famous “moonshot” speech. 

“Beating cancer,” Biden said, “is something we can do together and that’s why I’m here today.” People across the country may have been unaware that Biden was not the first resident of the White House to tackle cancer. 

“The time has come in America when the same kind of concentrated effort that split the atom and took man to the moon should be turned toward conquering this dread disease,” President Richard Nixon proclaimed in his 1971 State of the Union address. “Let us make a total national commitment to achieve this goal.” On December 23, 1971, Nixon signed the National Cancer Act, which gave the National Cancer Institute unique autonomy at the National Institutes of Health, with special budgetary authority. 

In effect, Biden was plagiarizing Nixon. But that isn’t the whole story. The man Biden jokes is the real president, outgoing medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, has already set back the quest to find a cure for cancer. 

Fauci earned a medical degree in 1966, but if he ever practiced medicine, it was only for a short time. In 1968, to avoid duty treating American soldiers in Vietnam, Fauci took a cushy “Yellow Beret” job with the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

Fauci’s bio showed no advanced degrees in biochemistry or molecular biology, but in 1984, the NIH made him head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Kary Mullis, who earned a doctorate in biochemistry at UC Berkeley and won a Nobel Prize for the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), believed Fauci did not understand electronic microscopy, did not understand medicine, and therefore, “should not be in a position like he’s in.” 

Peter Duesberg, by contrast, earned his doctorate in chemistry from the University of Frankfurt in 1963. As Jeanne Lenzer noted in Discover magazine, the next year, Duesberg arrived at UC Berkeley as a postdoctoral fellow “hoping to unlock the secrets of cancer.” At the age of 33, Duesberg was the first scientist to discover a cancer gene (oncogene), which he isolated from a virus. 

At 36, Duesberg earned tenure at Berkeley, where he served as professor of molecular and cell biology. In 1986, at age 49, Duesberg was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and given a National Institutes of Health Outstanding Investigator Award, as Lenzer noted, “one of the most prestigious and coveted grants.” In 1987, Duesberg was a Fogarty Scholar-in-Residence at the NIH laboratory in Bethesda, Maryland. 

Duesberg knew that retroviruses don’t kill the host cells they infect, so he was skeptical when Fauci proclaimed HIV to be the cause of AIDS, with no scientific study making the case. In March 1987, in the journal Cancer Research, Duesberg published “Retroviruses as Carcinogens and Pathogens: Expectations and Reality,” questioning the role of HIV as the cause of AIDS. As Lenzer noted, the man colleagues might once have regarded as the “Einstein of biology” was then smeared as an AIDS “denier,” and linked to people who deny the Holocaust. 

For the previous 23 years, Duesberg never had an application for public funding turned down. That funding began to disappear under NIAID boss Fauci, who controlled both AIDS policy and spending on medical research. Fauci also contrived to cancel Duesberg’s media appearances and tailored policy to please the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT-UP), whose activists also harassed Duesberg.

Fauci’s prediction that AIDS would ravage the general population was hopelessly wrong. But in the best bureaucratic style, he remained at the helm of NIAID. Duesberg kept his position at UC Berkeley, but his cancer research took a hit. 

His laboratory once boasted two secretaries and jostled with graduate students and postdocs, but by 2008 the only occupants were Duesberg and one graduate student. Had Fauci been shown the door and Duesberg received the funding his research deserved, a cure for cancer might be closer at hand. 

In 2015, Joe Biden’s son Beau died of brain cancer, and the vice president announced a $1 billion “moonshot” to find a cure for the disease. In 2016, the National Cancer Institute got a budgetary boost, and the NCI advisory board added a 28-member working group. Biden’s approach remains essentially bureaucratic.

In March, Biden established the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H). He named as director Dr. Renee Wegrzyn, who earned a doctorate in applied biology from the Georgia Institute of Technology, but whose bio shows nothing specific about actual cancer research. 

As the Biden White House explains, Wegrzyn worked for two of the institutions that inspired the creation of ARPA-H—the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity(IARPA) that “will deliver the strategy for the agency’s nascent research portfolio and inaugural budget.” 

Under Wegrzyn’s leadership, the administration says, “ARPA-H will support programs and projects that undertake challenges ranging from the molecular to the societal, with the potential to transform entire areas of medicine and health in order to prevent, detect, and treat some of the most complex diseases such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cancer, providing benefits for all Americans.” Embattled Americans can be forgiven for harboring more than a reasonable doubt. 

The Biden “fact sheet” touts America’s “extraordinary biomedical system that has delivered stunning advances previously seen as inconceivable—from COVID-19 vaccines to drugs that can eliminate certain cancers.” As Americans might recall, repeated application of those same vaccines, plus boosters, failed to prevent the acquisition or transmission of COVID-19. Biden and Fauci should know.

On the other hand, the vaccines proved useful for restricting Americans’ freedom of movement and association. As Biden charged, COVID-19 was a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” The “extraordinary biomedical system” also sets up a conflict of interest. Government health officials have an incentive to promote treatments from which they profit and oppose those from which they get no money, whatever their efficacy against disease. 

From 2010 to 2020, an estimated $350 million in undisclosed royalties was paid to NIH investigators, including NIH director Francis Collins, and Fauci. Trouble is, the NIH heavily redacted the information.

Fauci and his NIH “investigators” get a piece of the vaccines they develop. By all indications, this same dynamic will apply to cancer treatments developed by Biden’s new Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health under Renee Wegrzyn, already part of the system.

Biden is trying to make America great again by exploiting the administration of President John F. Kennedy. As the late Sen. Lloyd Bentsen might have put it, Joe Biden is “no Jack Kennedy,” and not even Ted “Chappaquiddick” Kennedy, or Joe Kennedy. Since Biden regards Fauci as the real president, Americans might check out Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s The Real Anthony Fauci

In government for more than 50 years, Fauci wields executive-level power without ever facing the voters and now claims to represent science itself. Had this white-coat supremacist not wrecked the career of Peter Duesberg, the nation might already have overcome cancer as we knew it. 

In 1996, Duesberg authored Inventing the AIDS Virus, a virtual post-grad course on virology, and a thorough investigation of AIDS controversy. Nobel laureate Luc Montagnier, who discovered HIV, agrees with Duesberg that no scientific study shows HIV to be the sole cause of AIDS. Before he passed away in February, Montagnier endorsed The Real Anthony Fauci

“Tragically for humanity, there are many, many untruths emanating from Dr. Fauci and his minions,” Montagnier wrote. “RFK Jr. exposes the decades of lies.” 

Joe Biden, who never had an original idea about anything, claims he wants Americans to beat cancer “together.” Cancer may not care if you are a Republican or Democrat, but Joe Biden sure does. Check out his September 1, “Battle for the Soul of the Nation” speech. For all but the willfully blind, that’s the “real Joe Biden.” 

As Biden touts the government’s “extraordinary biomedical system,” embattled Americans might pay heed to what Peter Duesberg said about that same system in 1996. 

“The modern biomedical research establishment differs radically from any previous scientific program in history,” Duesberg wrote. “Driven by vast infusions of federal and commercial money, it has grown into an enormous and powerful bureaucracy that greatly amplifies its successes and mistakes all the while stifling dissent. Such a process can no longer be called science, which by definition depends on self-correction by internal challenge and debate.”

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About Lloyd Billingsley

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Hollywood Party and other books including Bill of Writes and Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation. His journalism has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Spectator (London) and many other publications. Billingsley serves as a policy fellow with the Independent Institute.

Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images