How Professor Ben Williams beat his brain cancer

How Professor Ben Williams beat his brain cancer

Professor Ben Williams beat GBM, brain cancer using orthodox therapies supported by his own concoction of 'repurposed' old drugs and compounds he added based on his own extensive research. 20 years after his diagnosis, and having celebrated his 70th birthday, he tells how he used cheap, common medicines to build his complementary and integrative programme.

The Professor who cured his own ’terminal’ brain cancer with a cocktail of non-cancer drugs and supplements

31st March 1995 and Ben Williams, a psychology professor from University of California, San Diego, is undergoing emergency surgery, diagnosed with a terminal glioblastoma, a grade 4 brain tumour. The entire right side of his brain was ‘infested’ with cancer, according to his narrative.

He was told he’d be dead inside a year

But in 2015 he visited London, and has been clear of cancer since 1998.

At the time of his diagnosis, Ben was 50.

Even today with new treatments, the average survival time is just 15 months. Only 8 per cent of older people last 5 years. 

Ben had the surgery. There was still 2 cms of tumour invasion. He considered many options spending hours in the University library, on the Internet and talking with medical friends.

He opted to have BCNU - carmustine - but alternated it with PCV, a three drug combination that has been shown to have positive effects in 75% of people, and negative side-effects in 91%.

But his research had shown him other options. He was interested by how, given one attacking drug, the cancer would mutate and become resistant, so he decided to use several simultaneously. But not the drugs you might expect!

Ben built his own Complementary and Integrative treatment package. He added Tamoxifen (the anti-oestrogenic breast cancer drug - many brain tumours are held in the stem cell state by oestrogen) and verapamil, a calcium channel blocker used for blood pressure treatment, which research showed would enhance chemotherapy action. He also added accutane, a retinoid - of vitamin A origin - used to treat acne but with anti-cancer stem cell properties - and melatonin - the 'sleeping' drug, but known to have antioxidant, anti-growth hormone and anti-oestrogenic properties and 5 actions against cancer cells. Finally, he used cimetidine (tagamet) which is an antacid and an antihistamine, known to stop cancer cells sticking together and forming new tumours.

Throughout his treatment he added supplements like the anti-oestrogenic genestein, PSK (a mushroom extract with strong anti-cancer benefits), flax seed oil (for the fatty acids, helpful to brain tissue, borage seed oil (for gamma-linoleic acid) selenium, milk thistle and green tea extract. He also consumed large quantities of broccoli sprouts, garlic, raspberries and blueberries, onions and soy products. He has been clear according to MRI scans for 20 years now.

In Ben’s case, he was looking for drugs that could support the proposed chemotherapy. He was, in fact, an early pioneer of building your own Complementary and Integrative treatment programme! Four rounds of chemo later, plus his package of complementary (or is it ‘alternative’?) therapies and it is 2006. Since when the tumour has disappeared and he has now celebrated his 70th birthday.

At CANCERactive, we have told you since 2007 about the researched benefits of a number of OTC and more specific medicines used off-label in the fight against cancer; our first was LDN, followed by metformin and atorvastatin and an article on anti-histamines. We have an article on how to build an off-label drugs protocol which began life in 2007.

We have covered a wide variety of drugs repurposed to help fight cancer - for example, aspirin which increases survival times and can restrict metastases; Tagamet or Cimetidine, an antihistamine that can prevent surgery causing/leading to cancer spread; blood-glucose-lowering metformin (the diabetes drug); or chlomipramine, which seems to make Temozolomide work better. Phenergen might be another option, as it’s action is similar to chlomipramine’s. And more. Then there are supplements with clear benefits like melatonin, or vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin), curcumin and fish oils.

Go to: Alternative brain tumour treatments that worked

Many oncologists would not be adverse to patients in terminal situations trying other approaches. This is what the Saatchi Bill was all about in the House of Lords. But still charities like Cancer Research UK drone on about Phase III clinical trials – ridiculous really when you consider Dr. Henry Friedman used Dendritic cell therapy on Amy, a brain tumour patient who was diagnosed in 2001, and that has no such trial to support it, and treatments like brachytherapy are now widely used for breast cancer and the USA with no such trials behind them. Then there’s virotherapy, or photodynamic therapy, the Cyberknife and the Nanoknife. Oncologists seem content to use these without Phase III Clinical Trials. Some observers have pointed out that the common drugs like antacids, antihistamines, aspirin and so on, are all beyond patent and therefore make no money for Big Pharma.  Maybe that’s what the fuss is all about?

Does Ben Williams care? No. Indeed his story has now been made into a film by Dominic Hill who makes the very same point about Phase III clinical trials. The situation is actually a mess, with little or no rigour. Who is trying to fool whom?


The Film Surviving Terminal CancerClick here for the trailer.

NB. This article was first posted in 2008, and updated in 2015 and 2017.


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