Dr. Arlene J. Lennox was a pioneer, and leader in the treatment of cancer as Director of Neutron Therapy at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab). She began this innovative medical approach alongside the actual construction of the world’s largest particle accelerator in the late 1960s.
“The beam in the linear accelerator is four feet below floor level, below street level…we have the right energy, we might be able to take those protons, hit a berilyum target and make neutrons, and treat cancer patients… And it turns out that there was a freight elevator kind of halfway down the linear accelerator…and we said okay, this freight elevator is going to become our treatment room.” Her groundbreaking work applying quantum physics to treat cancer patients that were previously considered incurable, was recognized the world over. “I made my career change in 1985 from quantum physics to medical…It’s my opportunity to take all this knowledge and all this hard science and apply it someplace to where it is really helping people.”
As well, she worked on reducing the side effects, the so-called ‘skin burns’ associated with radiation therapy, using low level electricity called microcurrents. “Once you stimulate circulation, nutrients start to get in; byproducts that should be disposed of get moved into the kidneys to get washed out and once that system starts to work, there’s nothing magic about it. Once an injured body part is getting the nutrients it needs, it can heal itself. So the research that I worked on was actually trying to get people who had side effects from cancer treatments and see if we could minimize or reduce the side effects, and we had very good results with that. And I actually published a paper.
The most exciting thing which I have not been able to follow through on but would dearly love to whenever I get the chance again, is if a patient is going through radiation and you give him this microcurrent treatment…like on alternate days, on the days he is going through radiation, concurrently, you can prevent the side effects. You can prevent them from ever happening!”
In our film interview, she spoke about dangers due to a lack of public understanding with science through the cautionary tale of the development of the nuclear bomb. On the upcoming DVD, we have also dedicated a section of the special features to Dr. Lennox’s work in Neutron Therapy at Fermilab.
A remarkable, true humanitarian and a force to be reckoned with, it was with much sadness to hear that on May 24, 2008 Dr. Arlene J. Lennox passed away. She is greatly missed.