Skip to Main Content

Case for Interferon

How a 1980s Cancer Drug Might Be the Wonder Therapy for the Twenty-First Century

Foreword by Judy Mikovits

Touted as a potential breakthrough cancer therapy in the 1980s by the scientific community and publications such as TIME and Newsweek magazine, the reputation of interferon has not lived up to its early promise. Interferons are small proteins with anti-viral and anti-cancer effects, which have the power to modulate the functioning of the immune system.
 
But Dr. Joseph Cummins, an early interferon pioneer, holder of sixteen US medical patents, author of more than sixty scientific publications, as well as having taught veterinary medicine at the University of Missouri, University of Illinois, and Texas A & M University, argues that the current thinking on interferon is fundamentally flawed.
 
Interferon is created in small quantities in the body in response to infection, and seems to work best at these low dosages. However, the public health cowboys, working under the assumption that anything good in tiny amounts must be better in massive amounts, pursued exactly the wrong strategy. High-dose interferon does not work in the body and may even cause problems.
 
The first remarkable results for interferon and the flu were reported by the Soviets in the 1970s, but Western medicine discounted these findings because they believed the dosages were so low they couldn’t possibly be effective. In the 1980s, when interferon was expensive to produce and only small quantities could be manufactured, the results were remarkable.
 
Dr. Cummins was an early pioneer of low-dose interferon, and his remarkable findings among animals led to collaborations with medical doctors for human trials, even going so far as Africa at the height of the HIV-AIDS epidemic. Cummins reviews the evidence for this inexpensive, safe treatment and makes an eloquent argument for medical science to take another look at interferon to tackle today’s most challenging health conditions, including COVID-19.

"A scientist advocates the revival of an antiviral cancer treatment popular in the 1980s. Cummins, a microbiologist and veterinarian, has produced an astute, thought-provoking, and convincing testament to the revitalization of low-dose interferon administration. The goal of his book—written with former attorney Heckenlively—is to renew clinical and public interest in the drug, which came into prominence in the early ’80s. Despite proven antiviral and anti-cancer properties in animals, the treatment failed to surpass the scientific community’s lofty expectations for it in human trials. Cummins, whose narrative perspective predominantly anchors the work, first charts his own interest and history in veterinary medicine and how his distinguished career in immunological research science prepared him to become a leading voice in interferon application advocacy for animals as well as humans. The volume describes interferon as a naturally occurring protein found in the human body during a viral infection that has been resoundingly beneficial for animals in veterinary arenas as well as helpful in providing broad protection to humans by shortening the duration of viral shedding. Although early Japanese and Russian studies bolstered low-dose interferon as an influenza prophylaxis, its widespread usage never materialized. Cummins embarked on a career researching oral human interferon and authoring many articles on its efficacy in trials. This study-heavy work shares the wealth of more than five decades of research backing interferon’s use, including controversial success stories, like a veterinarian who treated himself with the drug after contracting HIV; case studies with compromised patients; and media coverage. Parts of the narrative utilize scientific jargon that may confuse some lay readers, though others will find themselves persuaded by the sensible and science-supported arguments. Concluding chapters offer an update on the current state of more recent clinical trials and an enlightening lesson on viral behavior and how the immune system’s reaction to classic coronaviruses could prepare the human body’s defense mechanisms against SARS-CoV-2. Cummins gets personal in the closing pages, admitting to suffering from Parkinson’s disease and planning to relinquish his participation in the effort to reawaken interest in interferon usage. He asserts that interferon has its share of detractors who believe the drug “threatens to upend the pharmaceutical bottom line.” Sound research and expert experience create an illuminating work on the potential benefits of interferon." —Kirkus Reviews 

"The Case For Interferon by Dr. Joseph Cummins and Kent Heckenlively, JD, was filled with more surprises than there are ways for a farmer to go to town. Those surprises start with a stunning foreword by Dr. Judy Mikovits, which adds perspective to many of the questions Dr. Cummins raises in this page-burning read. Interferon, a naturally occurring protein, long utilized very successfully in veterinary medicine, has been ignored for the most part by researchers and medical doctors for human use. Cummins believes that disinterest was based on faulty original research where huge amounts of interferon produced poor effects, when only very small amounts of the substance occurs in nature. This book builds an inescapably strong case for low-dose interferon to be re-visited for its potential value to human immune systems and overall health." —Max Swafford, author, editor, educator

More books from this author: Kent Heckenlively