- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 10, 2001

Children with cancer need access to new treatments fast

My wife and I want to thank The Washington Times for very kindly running my piece about our hope to get our son John, 7, a promising experimental drug called FTI to combat his leukemia, a stem cell cancer known as chronic myelogenous leukemia or CML ("The end doesnt have to be this way," Commentary Forum, Feb. 25).

Since then, however, the terrible news continues. Molecular studies of John´s bone marrow, conducted by Dr. Brian J. Druker of Oregon Health Sciences University, a leader in the leukemia field, have revealed the presence of "blasts." These are the uncontrolled primitive cells which sent John rushing off to Yale-New Haven Hospital three years ago Palm Sunday for a horrible week of high-dose chemotherapy and suffering. The blasts are back in rising percentages, with new variations.

In Dr. Druker´s opinion, before long, John will go into "blast crisis." Lasting a few weeks or months, the blast cells will thicken his marrow, his liver, his lungs and his heart with billions of miniature tumors and probably kill him.

After The Times ran my piece, Schering-Plough offered our doctors the chance to try its experimental drug, FTI. Novartis has agreed that John will not be hindered in using FTI in combination with its own experimental drug, Glivec. For this, and for the use of these companies´ drugs at no cost, we are beyond grateful.

Saving John´s life consumes every waking hour of every day of my life and that of my wife. I will not be surprised if we have to fight for every experimental drug that shows any promise of beating John´s cancer. There are a few such drugs in the pipeline like Glivec that are dramatically superior in early tests to the toxic chemo and bone marrow transplants that have been used to treat CML for generations, and have been used to treat John.

Since 1998, we have come to know of children who might be saved by the use of new, experimental and less toxic drugs, in combination. Our hearts have been broken when we learned that these children could not even get one such drug, let alone two.

The most promising new cancer drugs are generally kept from children. Yet more than half the children we´ve seen who did get Glivec are thriving. We witnessed three older youngsters with life-threatening leukemia become cancer-free in less than a year, and with no side effects. Meanwhile, a surgeon whose son has CML begged for the drug, but was denied. His son is now being treated with far more toxic drugs than Glivec drugs that are proven failures in long-term treatment of CML. Leukemia kills more children than any form of cancer. Even those who beat the disease suffer indescribable pain from outdated treatments which should be phased out.

President Bush should sign an executive order to permit experimental drugs for terminally sick children. If these relatively non-toxic drugs were liberally permitted for use in children like John, tremendous strides would be made in keeping many of these children alive.

We, the parents of these mortally ill children, need your help now, Mr. President. If ever there was cause for "compassionate conservatism," sir, this is it. Please help us.


ROGER MCCAFFREY

Ridgefield, Conn.

Global population line won't stop U.S. immigration

Nicholas Eberstadts column on world population is "much ado about nothing" when applied to America ("The myth of overpopulation," Op-Ed, April 6). The population of the Earth could begin to moderately decline, yet Americas would still continue to rise. Why? Because roughly a quarter of humanity would relocate to America, given the chance. In light of that, the American people must begin to seriously debate immigration levels. Mr. Eberstadts theories on overpopulation, open borders, and globalization are not relevant at this point in time at least, not in America. With our population on pace to double in 55 years, does Mr. Eberstadt believe that his rhetoric can sway the majority of Americans who want massive immigration reform?


CHARLES M. COCO

Philadelphia

Support for U.N. Secretary-General not befitting 'America's Newspaper'

Your March 31 editorial, "Keep Annan on, for now," should have been dated April 1; I was sure it was April Fools joke. For a conservative newspaper to run such a flawed editorial is a supreme embarrassment. You claim that the positions of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan "have generally been supportive of many U.S. interests." The facts, however, show otherwise.

Mr. Annan made a deal with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein that led to the expulsion of weapons inspectors and Iraq´s re-emergence as an international security threat. He also made a deal with Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, giving him immunity from prosecution in the Pan Am 103 terrorism case. Mr. Annan supports the comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which was voted down by the U.S. Senate. He supports the global warming treaty, which would raise U.S. energy prices while benefiting Communist China and the Third World. He also supports an International Criminal Court, which could arrest and imprison Americans.

The secretary-general supports the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty, even though it was signed with the USSR, a country that no longer exists, and was violated by both the Soviet Union and Russia. He supports the Biological Weapons Convention as well, even though China and Russia have violated it. Mr. Annan opposes a national missile defense system for the United States. He collaborated with then-First Lady Hillary Clinton and Bella Abzug to promote abortion as an "international right" and smeared the United States as a greedy nation in a speech at the University of Notre Dame, claiming Americans don´t spend enough on foreign aid. He supports all "necessary revenues" for the United Nations, which amount to global taxes.

Mr. Annan lent his support to the international campaign to abolish the death penalty in the United States and other nations. He berated the United States for not paying its "dues" to the United Nations, when America had contributed billions of dollars to peacekeeping operations that had not been reimbursed or credited to the United States. He promotes "global debt relief," a cover for transfers of more U.S. wealth to deadbeat socialist Third World dictatorships. The secretary-general refused requests to authorize U.N. peacekeepers in Rwanda to seize weapons and prevent genocide. He proceeded with an independence vote in East timor that led to a bloodbath, and he covered up the fact that U.N. soldiers were spreading AIDS around the world.

Your claim that Mr. Annan "has championed some reforms that have helped make the United Nations a more cost effective and transparent" is also false. U.N. whistleblower Linda S. Shenwick, a former budget analyst at the U.S. mission to the U.N., says that no significant reforms have been carried out. No one has lost a job at the United Nations because of Annan´s reforms. On the other hand, the U.N. pension fund has grown to $25 billion.

The Washington Times is entitled to be pro-U.N. and pro-Annan, but this stance is inconsistent with being "America´s Newspaper."


CLIFF KINCAID

President

America´s Survival, Inc.

Owings, Md.


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