At Rauner we have several large manuscript collections which focus on New Hampshire politicians, one of which is the papers of Charles W. Tobey. Tobey, a former governor and senator from New Hampshire, spent more than twenty years in Washington. During that time he was a member of many important committees that influenced the direction of the country, including the Senate Crime Investigating Committee, the Banking and Currency Committee and the Interstate Commerce Committee. However, it was a subject close to home that became the focus of some of his political pursuits in the late 1940s. His daughter Louisa was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1942, and a few years after that, his son Charles, Jr. was diagnosed with cancer, two diseases for which there were few effective treatments.
In response, Tobey did two things. He introduced a bill designed to amend the Public Health Service Act to include research for "the prevention and treatment of Multiple Sclerosis and Related Neurological Diseases," in 1949, and he turned to several doctors who promised help through unconventional treatments: Dr. Elias R. Leikind and Dr. Robert Lincoln.
Dr. Leikind received his medical degree from Northwestern University Medical School and practiced medicine in New York City. His medical thesis was that "there is an inflammatory process in the pelvis, male and female, that gives evidence of its diseased state not in an abnormal condition in itself but with various symptoms distantly removed in other parts of the body." Reactions from the established medical community were less than favorable. However, Louisa (Tobey) Dean and her husband Sterling were strong supporters, recommending Leikind to the many people contacting Louisa on a daily basis needing help. When Leikind was finally allowed to present his thesis in a paper in front of the Monroe County Medical Society in 1949, the Society concluded that Leikind's treatment was "without scientific proof or merit." Leikind relied heavily on anecdotal evidence from his patients and he lobbied relentlessly, to no avail, be be heard and accepted by the broader medical community.
Dr. Robert Lincoln, on the other hand, fared better than Leikind initially, and even had the support of the Surgeon General. Lincoln's research focused on bacteriophages, viruses that "parasitically attack and destroy specific bacteria." The first patients he treated where people who suffered from sinusitis but Lincoln soon discovered that his treatments were also successful for more serious illnesses, including cancer. Charles Tobey, Jr. had been diagnosed with "the second most vicious form of cancer known to man," and his doctors had given him one or two years to live. After Lincoln's treatment his cancer went into remission and Charles, Jr. and his father Senator Tobey became fervent supporters of Lincoln, trying often, unsuccessfully, to get the traditional medical community, including the American Cancer Society and the National Research Council, to support Lincoln.
If you want to look deeper into the fight between traditional medicine and experimental treatments, including testimonials from patients, ask for ML-3.