Lord Saatchi’s Cancer Initiative/Updated 21.05.13

‘Cancer doctors need freedom to innovate’

Lord Maurice Saatchi, whose wife Josephine Hart died from peritoneal cancer in 2011, is calling for the law relating to cancer treatment to be changed.

He describes the current law as a ‘barrier to progress in curing cancer’ and says doctors are deterred from trying new forms of treatment in case they are sued – they often know that standard procedures are not always in their patients’ interests, but they are so afraid of being sued they end up practising defensive medicine.

Lord Saatchi has now set up and is sponsoring an Initiative on Cancer – an informal collaboration of clinicians, academics, researchers, patients and charities – whose vision is innovation in research and clinical practice that will allow people with rare and less common cancers more choices and better quality of life.

Lord Saatchi’s Private Members’ Medical Innovation Bill would encourage ‘responsible innovation’. By removing the fear of litigation, it is hoped many doctors will not simply opt for ‘safe’ standard procedures, but will be encouraged to push the boundaries of medical knowledge.

Jeremy Paxman interviews Lord Saatchi on his new Initiative on Cancer

Jeremy Paxman interviews Lord Saatchi on his new Initiative on Cancer

To see Lord Saatchi discuss this with Newsnight’s Jeremy Paxman in December 2012, click here





AMMF joins Discussion Group

As a first step, informal round table discussion groups between leading members of Cancer52 and Douglas Slater of Lord Saatchi’s Initiative on Cancer have been set up.

AMMF, as a member of Cancer52, was invited to attend one of the first of these discussion groups on Monday 11th March. The meeting was hosted by Douglas Slater* together with Jane Lyons of Cancer52 and Dominic Nutt**, Press and Communications Associate for the Initiative, and there were eight other representatives of the rarer cancer charities present.  Douglas Slater introduced the initiative and its aims, and explained that Lord Saatchi is determined to use his resources and contacts to help the rarer cancers community.  We were then asked for our initial reponses.

The discussions that followed were wide ranging. However, it was strongly felt by all that there is far too little awareness of the rarer cancers, resulting so often in late diagnosis, and that this is a subject that needs to be addressed, not only at GP level, but in the medical schools.  The meeting concluded with all being invited to put forward their thoughts for consideration on how to move the initiative forward, what the next steps should be.

AMMF’s initial thoughts – with Lord Saatchi’s backing and contacts this could provide a huge step forward for all aspects of the much neglected rarer cancers – long overdue and badly needed, especially considering rarers cancers represent at least 52% of all the cancers.  However, like all things, there is another side.  Innovation in treatments is, of course, badly needed, and no doubt there are many times a medic, when faced with a dire situation, would like to be free to try a treatment showing promise, perhaps in another country, but not yet proven here in the UK – but how would we protect the patient from ‘reckless experimentation’,  or indeed from the maverick …   Much to think about!

Let us have your opinion.

Dominic Nutt's article published in The Telegraph, 13 January 2013

Dominic Nutt’s article published in The Telegraph, 13 January 2013

Dominic Nutt believes that innovation saved his life when a doctor caring for him was prepared to take a risk, even though, as the law currently stands, had there been complications, he, or his widow, could have sued.  Dominic states, “Maurice Saatchi’s health bill is on the right track”.

To read Dominic’s article, published in The Telegraph, 13 January 2013, describing what happened to him and why he is backing Lord Saatchi, click here




*Douglas Slater is a former Clerk of the House of Lords and Cabinet Office civil servant and special adviser. He’s also a writer, critic and political strategist. In 1988 he co-founded the gay rights’ group Stonewall, along with the actors Michael Cashman and Ian McKellen. (Following Clause 28, he was an adviser to Prime Minister John Major).  He is now working closely with Lord Saatchi on the new Initiative for Cancer.

**Dominic Nutt is now Director of Communications – The Saatchi Cancer Initiative at M&C Saatchi – Creating awareness of Lord (Maurice) Saatchi’s campaign to create a culture of innovation within the NHS in order to find new ways to treat rare cancers. Building political and media support for Lord Saatchi’s Private Members’ Medical Innovation Bill. He reports directly to Lord Saatchi.

14 March 2013

Update on 21 May 2013

As Lord Maurice Saatchi continues to promote his Medical Innovation Bill, he asks: “How many deaths have been recorded as having been caused by cancer treatment, rather than the cancer itself?”  (He believes it could be 15,000 …)

Lord Saatchi with his wife Josephine Hart who died from cancer 2011

Lord Saatchi with his wife Josephine Hart who died from cancer 2011

Yesterday, 20th May, Lord Saatchi directed a question to Lord Howe, Health Minister, in the House of Lords, asking,  “As this is supposed to be the era of big data, will you review the limitations of cancer mortality statistics in order to assist scientists and doctors to have the information to move forward innovation towards a cure for cancer?”

Lord Howe replied that statistics were collected for when cancer was the cause of death but not when treatment of cancer was the cause of death.  He agreed it was “important to have more information about the effect of cancer treatments on mortality” but added that “new data collections” were under way to provide more detail.

Lord Howe, Health Minister

Lord Howe, Health Minister


Lord Howe added that new figures would provide better information about deaths following the delivery of chemotherapy while others statistics would give information about death after surgical treatment,  saying new figures would provide better information about deaths following the delivery of chemotherapy while others statistics would give information about death after surgical treatment, but warned: “It can be very hard to identify the precise cause or sequence of progression of factors resulting in death, particularly for those with end-stage cancer or who are particularly frail and are experiencing physical deterioration.  So this can never I think be a precise science.”


Screen shot 2013-05-21 at 16.37.04To read the article appearing in today’s Telegraph, click here


Screen shot 2013-05-21 at 16.20.30


To hear the discussion with John Humphrys, Professor Peter Johnson,  CRUK’s Chief Clinician, and Lord Saatchi on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, click here

The interview is 2:52:15 in



21 May 2013

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6 Responses to Lord Saatchi’s Cancer Initiative/Updated 21.05.13

  1. Maria Gardner says:

    To whom it may concern,

    I wholeheartedly support Lord Saatchi’s Initiative on Cancer. I lost my mother in February 2011 to primary peritoneal cancer. She was diagnosed on the Monday and died on the Friday of the same week. As was mentioned in the article, these cancers are being diagnosed too late. She had spent 6 months or so in and out of the hospital being passed back and forth between consultants. Education and awareness are key as a starting point. Doctors need to be able to feel confident to try new methods. The mortality rate is devastating. I have tried to find out if this cancer is being researched ( I am sure and hope that it is) but I haven’t had much luck. I would love to support a charity that raises funds to help research this terrible cancer. I would just like to feel I am helping in some way. My mother would have also loved to help other people who have been diagnosed.
    I would be very grateful if you could help me in any way understand more about what research is currently being performed for PPC. I will follow with interest any progress that is made with Lord Saachi’s Cancer Initiative. Yours faithfully, Maria Gardner, Sydney Australia

    Dear Maria

    Thank you for responding to the article on Lord Saatchi’s Cancer Initiative.

    I was very sorry to learn that you have lost your mother to PPC, another of those less common cancers we know so little about. You are so right, lack of awareness is such a major factor in these diseases being diagnosed so late …

    Here at AMMF we are exclusively concerned with cholangiocarcinoma so, I’m afraid, have little knowledge of PPC apart from it being almost exclusively occurring in women and that it has many similarities to ovarian cancer.

    There is some research and a clinical trial being carried out I believe, see Cancer Research UK’s website for further info – this link will take you to the appropriate page: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-help/about-cancer/cancer-questions/primary-peritoneal-carcinoma

    I’m sorry we can’t be of more help, but if you think there is anything else we can help with, please don’t hesitate to come back.


  2. Sally Hodgson says:

    It is good to see a high profile person is taking a step towards shaking loose the ‘stalemate’ that seems to have entrenched itself in allopathic medicine. Whereas no one has yet professed to have a guaranteed treatment for any cancer, the alternative medicine community have been plugging away at the same problems, with some measures of success. I see no attempt by the allopathic community to work together with the alternative medicine measures to improve outcomes. They after all are supposed to be interested in curing peoples illnesses first and foremost. There are several notable measures used by alternative practitioners (in many countries)that are working on lowering the risk factors for cancers and other modern diseases that are not only logical, but not new, having been researched already in the 1930’s and since simply ignored.

    Being a cancer survivor myself (to date) and having felt the benefit that the simple alternative medicine risk lowering measures, it seems to me cruel not to give everyone the same opportunity.

  3. Pauline Law Yui Wan says:

    Dear Sirs,
    I live in Mauritius and a couple of days ago caught one of Lord Saatchi’s interviews on Sky News about the Medical Innovation Bill he is working towards. I sadly lost my sister to a rare form of stomach cancer 6 years ago at the age of 57. (when it was discovered, she was already at Stage 4). She again was put through the most gruelling of treatments, and I am sure in his heart of hearts, the surgeon (at a top London Clinic) knew what the outcome would be. It is painful to witness. From that time onwards I have strived to find something that can help the body heal itself and 3 years ago I was somehow introduced to Cellfood products (giving liquid oxygen at cellular level)…….they are truly amazing products and I have witnessed firsthand, relatives and friends recovering from various cancers and other diseases by using these incredible products. They are easily available in chemists in Mauritius and South Africa, but I think in Europe not so easy to buy. I believe the Pharmaceutical Companies would be up in arms if Cellfood was freely available. I plod on trying to introduce these products to friends and family and when they release how wonderful they are, they too pass on the word. No, I have no financial interest in Cellfood…….I just reckonize what a wonderful product it is. I would therefore be most grateful if you could pass this message on to Lord Saatchi and the various people concerned. I wish them all the luck in the world to set up the New Bill.


  4. Dear people,
    I am currently undergoing chemotherapy for Mantle Cell Lymphoma, which I know isn’t your speciality, but it is one of the rare group of cancers that Maurice Saatchi is alluding to in his Medical Innovation Bill. Like many others, I am both frustrated and very concerned that I am having to undergo extremely aggressive chemotherapy because other options are not given the funding and research they so desperately need to progress. I am having to do my own research to find alternative ways of helping my body cope with the ravages of chemo as there is no cohesive organisation that unites the efforts of those outside conventional medicine – and I can’t give up the chemo because my cancer is extremely aggressive at a molecular level. I feel so passionately about this that I am writing a blog of my experiences at http://www.margaretcahill.wordpress.com and including as much information as I can so that other people can get access to the information they need. It is good to hear that Lord Saatchi is working so hard to change the face of cancer treatment, although I am so sorry for his loss. I feel that we finally have a high profile figure who is both articulate in his attack on current treatments and well placed enough to do something about it. Please can you pass on my thanks and support. If there is a public petition I can be part of and promote I would be delighted to do so. Please let me know.
    Kind regards
    Margaret Cahill

    Dear Margaret

    Thank you for your comment, and I can well understand your concern at having to go through such extremely aggressive treatment with seemingly no options. Currently, it is very much up to the individual to seek out what alternative treatments there might be to go alongside conventional therapies – and the medical profession seem reluctant or unable to advise even on nutrition when we know how crucial this can be in maintaining a strong immune system.

    Thank you for the link to your blog – I will certainly have a look at that.

    Have you been in touch with the Penny Brohn Cancer Care organisation? They are the leaders in holistic care in the UK (the ‘Bristol approach’), offering a wealth of advice on nutrition, supplements, coping with side effects of treatment, and much more: http://www.pennybrohncancercare.org

    Helen / AMMF

  5. How can we help support this initiative???

    Dear Katherine

    You can support the initiative in two ways: contact your MP and ask for their support at the second reading (18 October) and follow the Saatchi Bill on Twitter.

    To contact your MP, go to: http://www.writetothem.com/

    To follow the Saatchi Bill on Twitter, go to: http://twitter.com/SaatchiBill

    We will post new details on AMMF’s Facebook page as soon as we hear them …

  6. Louis Woolfson says:

    Have you included in your thinking of cancer treatment work by the following, all of whom believe and have evidence that a plant based diet can cure cancer?

    Dr Gerson
    Dr Dean Ornish
    Dr McDougall
    T.Colin Campbell.

    Best wishes for the bill.

    Louis Woolfson

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