Cancer Stories

Each Success Story represents the personal experience of the individual discussed.

Like all material provided on the Cancer Cover-Up Web site the “Success Story” below is provided for informational or educational purposes only. It is not intended for the diagnosis, treatment or evaluation of any specific disease or condition. The symptoms, appropriate treatment and prognosis for specific diseases often vary among individuals. You should always consult a physician regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your symptoms or medical condition.




The news Helene Hendrixson got on January 14, 1997 couldn’t have been worse. Helene’s doctor told her that she had Stage IV non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, or NHL. NHL has become the fastest growing type of cancer, with an estimated 50,000 new cases each year. When caught early non-Hodgkins Lymphoma will often respond to conventional techniques such as chemotherapy and radiation. The prognosis for more advanced cases such as Helene’s, however, was far less hopeful, with at best 30% to 40% of patients responding to traditional methods. For those who do not respond, the diagnosis is a death sentence.

In other words, even with conventional treatment, the outlook for Helene was not encouraging.


For most people, the news that they have cancer is an emotional body blow, conjuring up visions of unbearable pain and ultimate death. But when Don Wells doctor told him he had prostate cancer, he took the news in stride.

In March of 1999, Don went to his doctor for an annual physical. As is customary with men his age, the physical included a PSA test and prostate exam. The test results were not good. Don had an elevated PSA (5.6) and his doctor had felt an abnormality when she examined his prostate. To be sure, she referred him to a urologist who took five biopsy cores.

The biopsy confirmed the worst: Don had cancer.



Twenty hours after being injected with a modified adenovirus, the same one that causes the common cold, eighteen year-old Jesse Gelsinger developed jaundice, and sank into a coma. As his organs began to fail at an accelerating rate, he was placed on life support. Three days later, the vibrant young man was brain dead. As members of his family watched, he was removed from life support and died.

His death never should have occurred. That it did stands as silent testimony to the way the influence of money and lust for power has corrupted the conduct of medical research in America. It also is a warning of what the future may hold if this corruption is allowed to continue unabated.


An altruistic young man, Jesse had agreed to participate in a gene experiment that promised to lead to a cure for a rare disorder he had called ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency, or (OTC). About one infant in 40, 000 is diagnosed with the genetic disorder, which prevents the liver from metabolizing ammonia. It is fatal for infants born with the most severe form of the condition.

Jesse knew that the clinical trial he was enrolled in would not cure him, but he was anxious to participate in the hope that it might help others. What he did not know was that finding a cure for OTC was merely an excuse to run experiments with other, far-reaching financial implications. It is not too much to say that Jesse was sacrificed on an altar of greed. It also illustrates the amorality that permeates many of our nation’s most respected academic institutions and the failure of either the government or the media to call them to task for that amorality -- even where it costs human lives.

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