My period in Berlin (1993 - 2000)

Period in Berlin (1993 through 2000)

Robert quit his job as Vice Dean (Pro-Dekan) and left the University Witten/Herdecke and the Herdecke Community Hospital and Medical Center in the early summer of 1993. Rather than going back full time to the University of California San Francisco Medical School in the USA, Robert had accepted an offer by the Free University (Freie Universität) in West Berlin to establish an independent Institute for Clinical Research in the field of Anthroposophic Medicine and lecture at the same university. Robert would be linked to the Chair of the Department of Natural Medicine (‘Naturheilkunde’) Professor Dr. Malte Bühring and move into Krankenhaus Moabit in Berlin-Mitte.

Robert Gorter settled for almost three years in this teaching hospital in the Turmstrasse in Wedding, West Berlin. In this hospital, there was the department of ‘Naturheilkunde’ (Complementary and Alternative Medicine, or CAM) of the Freie Universität Berlin with about 40 beds and a full-time ambulatory clinic. Besides Professor Malte Bühring, there were several staff doctors like Dr. Gudrun Kühn, Dr. Sprangers, and others.

After three years, the Institute had grown so much that there was the need to move to a larger space. Also, another reason for considering moving was the fact that it became clear that the Krankenhaus Moabit in the Turmstrasse would be closed sooner or later as part of an extensive reform of health care facilities in Berlin. The second location after the Turmstrasse became the Hardenbergstrasse. Here, in a nice building on just opposite the Berliner Bank and a few hundred meters away from the “Bahnhof Zoo” (a main railway station in Berlin) and the “Gedächtniskirche, Robert established his Institute.

Robert Gorter wished the Institute to be carried by a non-profit, tax-exempt organization. Thus, Robert Gorter established the European Society for Oncologic and Immunologic Research Inc. with mainly individuals of the Verein für Krebsforschung (Society for Cancer Research) in Arlesheim, Switzerland (Dr Johannes Hoffmann, Michael Werner, and others).

This Society would then establish the European Institute for Oncologic and Immunologic Research in Berlin, and be able to receive donations for clinical research and teaching.

Robert felt there could be a potential conflict of interest if he would be the Chair of the Society and the Director of the Institute. Therefore, it was decided that Robert Gorter would not be in the Board but a regular member only.

He accepted a salary cut of almost 60% compared what he earned at the University of California San Francisco Medical School (UCSF). One of the arguments of Dr. Johannes Hoffmann, the Chair of the Society, expressed was that Robert Gorter (simultaneously Professor at 4 universities at that time) could not earn more than the Chair of the Board of the Society which carried his Institute.

Robert Gorter started with a part-time secretary and a biostatistician, who soon thereafter became pregnant and went on “mother leave” for two years.

Four years later, the Institute had 22 employees and conducted several clinical studies at 28 universities and academic institutions in 13 countries in three continents. Most studies were with an USA license (Food & Drugs Administration Investigator’s IND Number) and thus, Robert Gorter had to go to Bethesda, USA, quite often (with Professor Maria Linder from Los Angeles) to attend various committee meetings regarding the clinical trials which were conducted by Robert Gorter as the principal investigator, which would eventually lead to the licensing of the various (anthroposophic) medicines like Iscador

Robert Gorter and his right hand Dr. Matthias Stoss have worked 7 days a week, 14 to 16 hours a day to build up the Institute in Berlin from scratch to what it became by the end of 1999. Often, when they left the Institute, it was 10.00 PM or later. The only restaurant where they could eat (they were both vegetarians) at that hour of the day (night) in Berlin was an Indonesian restaurant not too far away from the Institute (which was then situated at the Hardenbergstrasse across the Berliner Bank and the Academy of Fine Arts).

 

Robert Gorter believes that one of the conditions sine qua non to have authority; one must be an example, a role model. Therefore, then (and still nowadays) he is always the very first to arrive at work; he makes sure that all is well prepared and set up before the employees arrive. Also, he is always well-dressed and tends to be over-dressed rather then to be under-dressed. He is always out-going and friendly (nobody has ever seen him angry or felt he was unreasonable) and he is extremely disciplined.

The role of the WELEDA

After about one year of collaboration, it became slowly but surely obvious that with the consent of the WELEDA and the Medical Section at the Goetheanum in Dornach, in the Lukas Klinik Arlesheim, under the directorship of Dr. Johannes Hoffmann, illegal activities in regard to clinical studies, patient care and patient documentation were taking place. This lead to an open conflict with the WELEDA and Dr. Hoffmann of the Verein für Krebsforschung in Arlesheim on one side and Robert Gorter and Matthias Stoss on the other side. Robert Gorter and Matthias Stoss could no longer support the submission of purposely falsified documents to the FDA in the USA and to other authorities. One day, without notice, Robert Gorter was fired at the spot. Also, Robert Gorter and Matthias Stoss were summoned to hand over the keys of the Institute in Berlin and not to ever enter the office again.

The role of the WELEDA was questionable: data of the clinical trials conducted under the USA FDA IND in Berlin, Johannesburg in South Africa and at the University of Witten/Herdecke showed clearly, that the optimal rhythm of applying Iscador was every third day (and not every second day, as recommended by the WELEDA). There was strong data that applying Iscador every second day could over-stimulate the immune system and signs of immune “burn-out” could be documented, which would lead to unwanted effects of immune suppression in these patients. Against all this hard data, the WELEDA decided not to change their recommendations to apply Iscador twice a week: this change in their recommendations would have caused a decline of about 33% of their income from Iscador.

Robert Gorter and Matthias Stoss (and also Professor Maria Linder from California) felt strongly that it was unethical to maintain a dose regimen which could potential harm cancer patients, and submit documents about Iscador which could not be “replicated”………..

 

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