MD Anderson: No, we did not co-sponsor this cancer conference

Bharat Aggarwal

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, of Houston, is asking a conference on cancer in Chennai, India to stop claiming it is a co-sponsor.

The meeting was the subject of a story in The New Indian Express, which reported that Baba Ramdev, a prominent yogi “who had claimed that cancer is divine justice for sins committed,” would be the chief guest at the meeting. Ramdev is scheduled to address the conference for 45 minutes this Thursday, its opening day.

As the story noted, one of the organizers of the meeting is Bharat Aggarwal, a former MD Anderson faculty member who has had to retract 18 papers, mostly for image manipulation.

I raised concerns about the conference yesterday (Sunday) on Twitter. MD Anderson responded within hours to say first that they were looking into the matter, and then to say that while it had sponsored the conference in the past, it was not sponsoring it this year:

As of this posting, the conference’s site still listed MD Anderson as a sponsor:

According to The New Indian Express:

Previously, Ramdev had courted controversy over his claims that he had cured over 1,000 cancer and HIV patients through of the practice of yoga and concoctions marketed by his pharmacy Patanjali.

Neither Varsha Gandhi, nor Sen Pathak, two MD Anderson faculty members listed as organizers of the conference, immediately responded to requests for comment.

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7 thoughts on “MD Anderson: No, we did not co-sponsor this cancer conference”

  1. Policing use of a prominent name like this is one of the hardest things for institutions to do. Something like this came up almost every day when I was at Columbia. Often, it was a faculty member innocently but mistakenly using their affiliation. Sometimes it was something worse. This instance seems to say a lot about the people involved.

  2. In the past, MD Anderson has sponsored this conference through its Global Academic Program.

    Why? It was just as much of a noxious scam in previous years.

  3. From the conference website:

    To design a drug that is safe, multi-targeted and yet affordable, the focus has turned to traditional medicine such as Ayurveda. Ayurveda is a traditional healing system originated in India approximately 6,000 years ago.

    Ayurveda is a holistic healing system, which is designed to promote good health and longevity rather than only curing a disease (therapy). Therefore, in most of the cases, a combination of herbs and plants (which are even part of staple food) are recommended for treatment. It is quite possible that a so-called crude herbal formulation has a combination of compounds, where one compound either potentiates the effect of other, or increases the bioavailability, or reduces the toxicity. The current conference will highlight the role and principles of traditional medicine in light of modern medicine for cancer treatment.

    Sounds legit!

    1. Therefore, in most of the cases, a combination of herbs and plants (which are even part of staple food) are recommended for treatment.

      I’ve wasted part of the day musing on the WTP diet:

      “Formula No. 1 was a precooked mixture of 12 component materials from whole grains and TCM food plants that are rich in dietary fiber, including adlay (Coix lachrymal-jobi L.), oat, buckwheat, white bean, yellow corn, red bean, soybean, yam, big jujube, peanut, lotus seed, and wolfberry, which was prepared in the form of canned gruel (370 g wet weight per can) by a contract food manufacturer (Shanghai Meilin Meida Food Co., Ltd., Shanghai, China). Each can contained 100 g of ingredients (59 g carbohydrate, 15 g protein, 5 g fat, and 6 g fiber) and 336 kcal (70% carbohydrate, 17% protein, 13% fat).

      “Three (for female) or four (for male) cans of gruel as staple food per day were recommended…. The diet contained 1000–1600 kcal….”

      Yah, it’s the TCM. At least they acknowledged that there are basically no inferences to be drawn.

  4. the conference starts tomorrow and the logo is still there. It is too late to return! I missed it otherwise, I would have attended to experience this important meeting!

  5. 2019 correction to
    Cancer Res. 2010 Mar 1;70(5):1951-9. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-3201. Epub 2010 Feb 16.
    Celastrol suppresses angiogenesis-mediated tumor growth through inhibition of AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin pathway.
    Pang X1, Yi Z, Zhang J, Lu B, Sung B, Qu W, Aggarwal BB, Liu M.
    Author information
    Institute of Biomedical Sciences and School of Life Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China.

    In the original version of this article (1), images of experimental controls in Figs. 2B, 2C, and 3A are the same as those in Figs. 4B, 4C, and 3A, respectively, in a previously published article (2). The authors explained that the experiments were intentionally designed so that the same controls could be used to test different experimental conditions, and the best representative images were selected to generate these figures. In addition, two different images representing p70S6K1/S6K Western blot bands were presented in Figs. 5B and 6C, respectively. In both figures, the lower bands are redundant. The errors have been corrected in the latest online HTML and PDF versions of the article. Finally, the same β-actin Western blot image was duplicated in Fig. 6B. The lower image is incorrect, but the authors are unable to provide the original data. However, the editors have determined that this error does not change the major findings of the article. The authors regret these errors.

    1.↵Pang X, Yi Z, Zhang J, Lu B, Sung B, Qu W, et al. Celastrol suppresses angiogenesis-mediated tumor growth through inhibition of AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin pathway. Cancer Res 2010;70:1951–9.

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