Doctor linked to controversial cancer clinic withdraws


An Irish-registered doctor involved in a controversial centre in the midwest providing alternative light therapy treatment for cancer patients has undertaken to withdraw from the enterprise.

Dr Thomas Cleary, who was acting as the "attending physician" when the €20,000 cytoluminescent therapy or CLT was administered to patients by Dr William Porter at a clinic on the Clare/Tipperary border, made the undertaking in recent days after the Medical Council expressed grave concern about his involvement in the provision of the treatment.

The Irish Times has learned that Dr Cleary has also given an undertaking not to engage in the practice of CLT and to withdraw from Dr Porter's clinic.

Dr Porter is an American doctor who was struck off for gross negligence in California. The Medical Council reported Dr Porter to gardaí following the publication of a report in a US medical journal on the outcomes for patients treated with his CLT therapy. It found that 17 of 48 patients treated by Dr Porter with CLT in Killaloe, Co Clare, in late 2002 and early 2003 were dead within six months of the treatment and many suffered after-effects.

Dr Cleary, of 28/29 Marine Village, Ballina, Co Tipperary, effectively replaced the Killaloe GP, Dr Paschal Carmody, as the attending physician when CLT was being administered to patients after Dr Carmody was suspended from the medical register. Dr Carmody can no longer practise as a doctor. However, he can continue to practise alternative therapy.

Half of the group of patients were also treated by Dr Carmody, and they fared worst.

While the study pointed out that it was not possible "to categorically attribute any deaths to CLT", it said CLT in this group was "a qualified failure with a high incidence of after-effects".

The undertakings given by Dr Cleary mean he will remain on the medical register, allowing him to practise as a doctor.

Dr Cleary's name was posted on a nameplate outside Dr Porter's clinic when The Irish Times went to interview Dr Porter earlier this month.

During the interview, it was explained that CLT involved giving patients a substance called PhotoFlora which is derived from chlorophyll-containing plants, and then subjecting the patients to light therapy. The light therapy, it is claimed, can destroy cancer cells even in patients with advanced cancer.

PhotoFlora has never even been tested on animals but Dr Cleary said this did not stop it being given to humans. An EU directive facilitated it, he said.

The next of kin of a number of people who were treated by Dr Carmody and Dr Porter met the Minister for Health, Mr Martin, on Thursday night to air their concerns. They are angry that they paid large sums for a treatment they were wrongly assured would cure their relatives and that there are no controls over unregistered doctors or alternative therapists in the State.

A spokeswoman for Mr Martin said the Minister believed they were treated in a totally unacceptable and "callous" way. He promised to look at what could be done and report back to them within the next month.