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USA Today versus Stanislaw Burzynski

This is an SBM public service announcement—with blogging! Think of it as a bonus post, and don’t forget to read Mark Crislip’s regular biweekly offering, as it’s about an article in Skeptical Inquirer that particularly irritated him—and me, as well. Because, as we all know, the world needs more Mark Crislip.

I’ve made no secret of how much I despise Stanislaw Burzynski, the self-proclaimed cancer doctor and medical researcher who has been treating patients with an unproven, unapproved chemotherapeutic agent since 1977, seemingly slithering around, under, over, and past all attempts to investigate him and shut him down. Indeed, just type his name in the search box of this blog, and you will see copious evidence of my disdain for the man. Over 37 years, Burzynski has become a hero to the cancer quackery industry, touted as the man who can cure incurable cancers that science-based medicine can’t, even though his treatment, antineoplastons, allegedly peptides isolated from blood and urine that normally keep cancer in check in healthy people, are by any reasonable definition chemotherapy. Indeed, they are toxic, with a number of side effects reported, the most common and dangerous of which being life-threatening hypernatremia (elevated sodium levels in the blood). All you have to do is to type Burzynski’s name into the search box of this blog, and you’ll find copious documentation of the abuses of patients, science, and clinical trials perpetrated by Stanislaw Burzynski and the cult of personality that has evolved around him. He’s even acquired his very own film propagandist, a credulous fellow named Eric Merola, who has made two astoundingly bad documentaries that are nothing more than unabashed hagiographies of the brave maverick doctor curing cancer where no one else can. They’re chock full of misinformation, pseudoscience, spin, and obvious emotional manipulation, and the first one at least, was very popular.

For the longest time, I’ve been hoping that major mainstream news organizations would take this story on. It’s happened from time to time, but until 2013 it hadn’t happened in a long time. Earlier this year, the BBC featured Burzynski in an episode of its long-running series Panorama. It was a mixed bag that took the fairly easy path of making it all about the patients and never really delved into what I believe to be the central mystery of the four-decade-long Stanislaw Burzynski story, and that’s how he’s managed to keep his medical license and register clinical trials right up until 2012. That was a disappointment, although much of the rest of the Panorama episode was very good. He still has his medical license, but as I’ve pointed out several times, the FDA placed a partial clinical hold on Burzynski’s antineoplaston phase II clinical trials back in the summer of 2012. A partial clinical hold means that no new patients could be enrolled, but patients already on them could continue to receive treatment. In 2012, apparently a child died on antineoplastons, and so a partial clinical hold was placed on the trials involving children. That clinical hold was extended to adults in January 2012, with much wailing and gnashing of teeth among Burzynski apologists, as the FDA investigated between January and March. We now know the results of that investigation, but we never knew much about how that partial clinical hold came about.

Now, thanks to Liz Szabo at USA Toda, we know from her article “Doctor accused of selling false hope to families“:

On the last day of his life, Josia Cotto’s parents gave him a choice.

The 6-year-old boy had been fighting an inoperable brain tumor for 10 months. When his mother, Niasia Cotto, found him in his bed, unresponsive and unable to open his eyes, “we knew there was nothing else that we could do,” she said.

An ambulance took Josia to a hospice room at a local hospital. His parents covered him in a soft, blue-and-white blanket, hugged him and held his small hand for the last time.

“We told him the choice was his, whether to keep fighting or be in peace with God,” said his mother. “He chose.”

Josia’s parents would have paid any price to save him.

A Texas doctor, two months, earlier, had given them one: $25,000 upfront, by cash or check.

It turns out that Josia Cotto was the child who died of complications from Burzynski’s treatment:

The FDA’s patience with Burzynski apparently wore out after Josia died.

In a report sent to the FDA after the boy’s death, Burzynski’s staff acknowledged that his last blood sample, taken the day he passed away, showed a blood sodium level of 205 millimoles per liter, a level that is typically fatal. Burzynski’s staff blamed that reading on a “false laboratory report based on a contaminated sample.”

Yet hypernatremia is one of antineoplastons’ most common side effects, known to doctors for two decades.

One of Burzynski’s own informed consent documents — the form that patients sign before they begin treatment — put the risk at 21%.

On July 30, 2012 — six weeks after Josia’s death — the FDA forbade Burzynski from giving antineoplastons to any new children.

I was astounded to see that number. I’ve never, ever seen a sodium level that high. Typically, normal is between 135 and 145 mEq/L, with slight variations of that range depending on the lab. Burzynski’s excuse, which I’ve heard at various times as being due to an “improper blood draw” or as described above, contamination, is purest nonsense. A bad blood draw typically produces falsely elevated potassium levels, not sodium levels. Unless the technician spiked Josia’s sample with 3% saline or something like that, there’s no way to get the level that high. Josia almost certainly died because of hypernatremia from antineoplaston therapy.

To me, this is the biggest revelation: The story and identity of the child who was killed by Burzynski’s treatments. We also learn that—surprise surprise!—Stanislaw Burzynski is an enormous tool. Look at him dismiss his critics, particularly former patients, many of whom, let’s recall, have terminal cancer, many of whom are dead:

Burzynski dismisses criticism of his work, referring to his detractors as “hooligans” and “hired assassins.”

As for criticism from former patients, Burzynski says, “We see patients from various walks of life. We see great people. We see crooks. We have prostitutes. We have thieves. We have mafia bosses. We have Secret Service agents. Many people are coming to us, OK? Not all of them are the greatest people in the world. And many of them would like to get money from us. They pretend they got sick and they would like to extort money from us.”

History will vindicate him, Burzynski says, just as it has vindicated other persecuted medical “pioneers,” such as Louis Pasteur. In the future, Burzynski says, everyone will use his therapies, and the cancer treatments used today — such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation — will be regarded as barbaric. “There will be a time when people will see the light,” he says, “and our treatments will be used by everyone.”

You know, whenever I hear Burzynski fans like Eric Merola accuse skeptics of attacking cancer patients, accusing them of horrible things, I think I will throw this quote right back in their faces. Here’s Burzynski calling his patients prostitutes, thieves, and mafia bosses, and “not the greatest people in the world,” while accusing them of wanting to “extort money from us.” He also liberally uses the Galileo gambit, but that’s not surprising, as he’s repeatedly made the hilariously arrogant and scientifically ignorant claim that he is a pioneer in genomic and personalized cancer therapy and that M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and other world-class cancer centers are “following his lead.” Indeed, he claimed to have invented the field 20 years ago. Sadly, his publication record does not support such grandiose assertions.

There’s a lot more in this story, some of it contained in the sidebars “Experts dismiss doctor’s cancer claims” and “Families run out of hope, money after cancer treatments. Other than some of the revelations that I didn’t really know much about before, much of what is contained in the rest of this story will be familiar to regular readers here. For instance, experts are saying the same things I’ve been saying for a couple of years now about Burzynski’s anecdotes of “miracle cures,” such as Hannah Bradley and Laura Hymas. The reasons for these anecdotes include:

  • Burzynski often relies on anecdotes, which don’t tell the full story.
  • Burzynski’s therapies are unproven.
  • Burzynski’s patients may have been misdiagnosed.
  • Burzynski’s patients may have been cured by previous therapy.

There’s a reason why I’ve spent so much time deconstructing Burzynski anecdotes, and it’s for all of those reasons plus that anecdotes are often interpreted incorrectly by patients without medical training. Even doctors who are not oncologists sometimes interpret such anecdotes incorrectly to indicate that the cancer therapy chosen is the therapy that cured the patient. It’s not just Burzynski patient anecdotes, but it’s any cancer cure anecdote. That’s why clinical trials are necessary to differentiate all these confounding effects from actual effects due to the treatment. Indeed, the patients featured in Ms. Szabo’s article have nearly all been discussed by me before, including Mary Jo Siegel, who had a fairly indolent cancer for which the standard of care has changed from very aggressive treatment up to and including a bone marrow transplant to less aggressive therapy that acknowledges that these are slow-growing tumors. Worse, her story is lost in the mists of time, where what now exists are only highly selected medical records posted on various websites.

Indeed, Ms. Szabo even explains one aspect of the concept of pseudoprogression in a simpler way than a certain “friend” of mine did, lo, those many moons ago:

Many of Burzynski’s patients are terminally ill and have had one or more previous types of conventional cancer care — surgery, radiation or chemotherapy — before they see him.

But these therapies may have delayed benefits, taking weeks or months to shrink a tumor. So patients treated by Burzynski may credit him for their progress, just because he was the last doctor to treat them, says Peter Adamson, chair of the Children’s Oncology Group, an NCI-supported research network that conducts clinical trials in pediatric cancer.

Conventional cancer treatment can also cause tumors to swell temporarily, due to inflammation. A patient who isn’t familiar with this phenomenon may assume her tumor is growing. When that swelling subsides, patients may assume it’s because of Burzynski, Adamson says. In reality, the tumor was just returning to its previous size.

To avoid such confusions, researchers typically require patients to wait before starting a new treatment, Adamson says.

FDA inspections, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, show that Burzynski has repeatedly failed to follow that basic practice.

Pseudoprogression can be a real confounder in assessing the response of brain tumors to therapy, being observed up to 28% of the time. It’s most common after surgery and radiation therapy, although it can happen after chemotherapy too. Not coincidentally, Hannah Bradley had surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, and Laura Hymas had radiation and chemotherapy. These are the sorts of pitfalls that real cancer doctors doing real clinical trials already know about and work to minimize. Burzynski, in his arrogance, never thought he needed to bother with the sort of expertise that could validate his therapy. None of this stops Burzynski patients from being lured into spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on Burzynski’s treatments.

It’s very heartening to see a story like this in a major news outlet, and I must congratulate Ms. Szabo for her thorough deconstruction of the phenomenon that is Stanislaw Burzynski. True, a bit of false balance did sneak in here and there. For instance, the Siegels are featured, as are other Burzynski patients who believe he cured them when he almost certainly did not, in a video accompanying the story, and the title of the series is a rather clichéd “Science or Snake Oil.” However, the false balance that is so ingrained in the culture of journalism seems to be noticeably less apparent in this article than on many other stories about Burzynski that I’ve read. That’s good.

Before I close, I can’t help but mention that the most disappointing thing about this news story was that it still hasn’t revealed what I consider to be the two central mysteries of the Burzynski saga: First, how is it that Stanislaw Burzynski can still practice medicine? I know it’s Texas, but this has been going on for nearly 37 years. Second, why has he been allowed to continue to do clinical trials up until a little more than a year ago, and why is it that, even now, the FDA hasn’t shut him down permanently? Ms. Szabo sheds a little light on that, but nothing that regular readers of this blog don’t already know about the political machinations in the 1990s that led to Burzynski’s six dozen phase II clinical trials. Apparently, even Ms. Szabo and USA Today couldn’t crack that nut. Maybe public pressure can. The concluding section of the story tells us why we need to try:

No one told Josia’s parents about any of this.

Not Burzynski. Not the FDA.

Jose and Niasia Cotto had no idea that their son’s death prompted an investigation by the FDA, until they were contacted by USA TODAY.

The Cottos had long believed that Burzynski could have cured their son if only they had taken Josia to see him first, before giving him radiation and chemotherapy. They had even hoped to launch a non-profit, A Life for Josia Foundation, to help other children with cancer gain access to Burzynski’s treatment.

Now, they don’t know what to think.

Remember how I said that Bob Blaskiewicz will want your help? Now’s the time to contact him, if you haven’t already.

Posted in: Cancer, Clinical Trials, Science and the Media

Leave a Comment (78) ↓

78 thoughts on “USA Today versus Stanislaw Burzynski

  1. Cured says:

    usa today is a rag with rag writters.
    if he is so wrong – why did the us govt steal all his work? u guys suc

    1. CHotel says:

      Grammatical/spelling errors and lack of evidence notwithstanding, wouldn’t the contributors of a rag be hacks, and not rags themselves?

    2. madisonMD says:

      Q. If the government stole his work, then why doesn’t the government use it?

      A. Because it is worthless.

    3. windriven says:

      Apparently ‘the cure’ left you with some significant cognitive deficits. Sad.

  2. Dave Kartzman says:

    “After twenty-seven years of independently testing Antineoplastons—including randomized clinical trials, we found that Dr. Burzynski was right. It’s obviously not anecdotal anymore.”
    - Hideaki Tsuda, MD – 2013, Kurume Medical University, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan

    Your own bias blinds you to what other countries are doing with his anti-neoplaston therapies… You don’t like him? That’s fine… I don’t like the medical establishment, the FDA and the pharmaceuticals who will do anything they can to stifle alternative therapies that don’t make them their billions..

    Just my opinion, just like your blog is yours…

    1. Harriet Hall says:

      Unless you can provide some actual evidence, that statement by Tsuda is nothing but his opinion. Please enlighten us as to what other countries are doing with his anti-neoplaston therapies.

      A perusal of Tsuda’s research on PubMed shows that he is ADDING antineoplastons to conventional tumor therapy, without proper controls to see if it is really making a difference. Here’s an example of one of his studies: a single case report. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12768372 His PubMed listed studies do NOT show that Burzynski was right.

    2. David Gorski says:

      Just my opinion, just like your blog is yours…

      The difference being that my opinion is backed up by facts, reason, and science.

      As for Tsuda, try this:

      http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/stanislaw-burzynski-propaganda-versus-news/

    3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Why is it a bad thing when Big Pharma makes billions of dollars (and uses the resulting profits, at least in part, to research, develop and above all test novel drugs), but it’s a good thing when Burzynski makes millions that are shoved directly into his pocket, and none of it is invested in actually demonstrating it works? It just seems greedy; if antineoplastons really work, Burzynski’s failure to test whether they work means he’s at best curing a couple hundred people out of the thousands who could potentially benefit.

      Assuming antineoplastons work, Burzynski restricting their use is dooming many to an early death in order to line his own pocket.

      Assuming they don’t work (a much more likely assumption), he’s bilking people of hundreds of thousands of dollars (millions in aggregate), taking advantage of them by giving them false hope, and in some cases killing them early through hypernatremia.

      Would you accept this from Pfizer or Merck? If not, why the double-standard? Why is greed OK when it’s a single person, but unacceptable when it’s a company? Do you honestly think that individual people aren’t motivated by greed?

      1. lorimakesquilts says:

        Those are some of my questions too. Also:

        **How come every large pharmaceutical manufacturer in the country isn’t at his door trying to get a piece of the action?

        **If he’s got a freaking cure for cancer why does he only have that one clinic, why not one in every state? Oh wait, I know the answer to that one. Because he doesn’t have the medical board of every state in his back pocket.

        **If this stuff is so miraculous why does he still use conventional treatments?

  3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    If he’s got a freaking cure for cancer why does he only have that one clinic, why not one in every state? Oh wait, I know the answer to that one. Because he doesn’t have the medical board of every state in his back pocket.

    Heh, I would guess it’s more because if he ships any of his products across state lines, then the feds get involved and can charge him with violations of interstate commerce – which is probably an easier charge to prove than violations of research ethics.

    If this stuff is so miraculous why does he still use conventional treatments?

    Oh, oh, I’ve got this one! Because his piss extracts don’t work!

    Nailed it!

  4. Marktar says:

    So when will his clinical trials finish up?

    Have other patients with other terminal illnesses (not only various cancers) died whilst in the process of clinical trials? (It shouldn’t need to be said that clinical trials mean they are under close monitored care).

    The young patient that died: What was his prognosis under conventional treatments (gene targeted or otherwise)?

    For the young patient that died: What is the mortality rate of the cancer he had for is demographic?

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Marktar:

      His clinical trials will never finish up, because they aren’t clinical trials. They are how Stanislaw Burzynski is exploiting a loophole in the restrictions placed on him so he can continue to charge patients tens of thousands of dollars for kitchen-sink chemotherapy with some ultra-high-dose sodium in the process.

      Other patients have died during clinical trials. Patients involved in clinical trials are sick, the real measure is whether they die faster or slower than those untreated, or receiving conventional care. In fact, most clinical trials have predetermined stopping points, where if fatality rates breach a certain threshold, the trial is terminated. None of this excuses Burzynski’s exploitation of the clinical trials process to keep charging patients for megadose chemotherapy plus unproven piss extracts. And Burzynski doesn’t use “gene targeted” chemotherapy. He gets a blood test, then slops together an unproven vat of high-dose chemotherapeutics that is in no way tailored to patient or tumor.

      As for the young child’s original prognosis – who cares? He wasn’t getting conventional treatment, so you can’t compare. He (his parents, really) was paying thousands of dollars out of pocket, and died of hypernatremia – sodium levels so high they killed him. I mean really, whatever his survival under conventional care, even if it were low, would that excuse the hospital giving him fatal food poisoning? “Oh, sure, he died of dehydration because he caught Norwalk in the hospital, but his chances of surviving were really low anyway.” That is the equivalent level of sympathy and care that Burzynski’s treatments offer.

      Burzynski is an unethical, exploitative douchebag. Real clinical trials end. Real clinical trials don’t charge patients several hundred thousand dollars for the privilege of being a test subject. Real clinical trials keep careful track of patient records, they don’t lose and destroy them to cover their tracks. Real clinical trials end. Burzynski is a shitheel who will hopefully one day develop cancer and die of a sodium overload.

  5. Maria Bartholomew says:

    Thank you for exposing this fraud. I wrote the following in Nov 2011. I am a physician from the West Indies

    The Burzynski’s clinic’s pitch uses the same time honored formulae of all snake oil dealers. More importantly Burzynski’s publications are all in weak journals, in addition the science is weak. To follow is my critique of one of his articles on brain stem tumors entitled “Targeted therapy with Antineoplastons A10 and AS2-1 of High Grade, Recurrent and Progressive Brainstem Glioma”.

    1. The paper is published in the journal Integrative Cancer Therapies, the web site of which describes it as a “peer-reviewed quarterly journal focused on the scientific understanding of alternative medicine and traditional medicine therapies, and their responsible integration with conventional health care.”. The editorial board of this journal includes Ralph Moss, PhD who has written about Burzynski in his book The Cancer Industry.

    2. In the paper both adults and children are included in the same cohort. However it is well documented that the biology of brain stem tumors is very different between adults and children. As emphasized in a paper published last month in the respected journal Neuro-Oncology entitled “treatment of High Grade glioma in children and adolescents”, by Macdonald et al, 13 (10): 1049-1058, it is stated that “Efforts to develop effective therapies for HGGs in children may not be able to rely on progress made with adult high grade gliomas (HGGS). While the histology of HGGs between adults and children appear identical , the biology of the tumors may vary significantly.”

    3. Burzynski also includes different types of brain stem tumors in his paper, although the majority are DIPG, exophytic, cervico-medullary and multifocal tumors are also included. The paper “A Clinico-Pathological Reappraisal of Brain Stem Tumor Classification” by Fisher et al from Johns Hopkins (Cancer, Oct, 2000, Vol 89 (7) ) elegantly explains the difference in prognosis between the various brain stem tumors.

    4. If one teases out the children under 10 from Burzynski’s paper the overall survival from diagnosis is 11 months. No different from that obtained with radiation therapy.This is in opposition to the overall 5 year survival of 22% that is stated in the paper.

    5. The point is that parents of unfortunate children with diffuse pontine glioma could look at this paper and come away with the conclusion that their child could have a 22% chance of survival with antineoplaston treatment.

    6. This is intellectual fraud.

    In conclusion, I remain unconvinced about the validity of Burzynski’s work.

    Maria Bartholomew, MBBS, FRCP

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Thanks Maria, it’s always nice when a specialist drops by to offer some lovely and detailed specifics on why a quack is wrong.

  6. Kelly Clover says:

    I have a hard time believing that a huge number of testimonials could all be wrong. Almost everyone seems to make the assumption that Dr. Burzinski must either be a
    persecuted saint or a quack. Actually neither is true. Some patients unquestionably benefited from antineoplastons, regardless of what powerful special interests or supposed experts want to believe. Some patients were indeed harmed regardless of what Dr. Burzinski wants to believe. Some patients simply wasted their money for a treatment that may have worked for others but not them. Given the fact that so many different types of cancer exist, why is this so hard to accept?
    Whether we like it or not, money talks and the FDA and CDC and other government agencies can be and frequently are corrupted by powerful special interests with huge amounts of money. We should never trust these agencies to act as impartial umpires of the facts. No one has ever proven that no one has ever benefited from antineoplastons. Powerful special interests don’t want their gravy train from costly and risky surgeries, chemotherapy, or radiation to stop. They are much too greedy.

    1. Andrey Pavlov says:

      Kelly you are combing a little bit of the fallacy of trying to prove a negative with a lot of the fallacy of the golden mean. There is absolutely no data to support that antineoplastons have helped anyone, plenty of reason to believe they haven’t, and only a very small likelihood that they may have helped a small number of people with a known harm to at least some as well. Combine that with the obviously shysterish way in which Stan has been comporting myself, and it is far from reasonable to assume the position that “some have been helped and some haven’t.” It has been documented here quite extensively why that is an unreasonable position to take on the matter, including why it is perfectly reasonable why a “large number of testimonials” can, in fact, all be wrong (and why it really isn’t that large a number of testimonials in the first place).

    2. MadisonMD says:

      We should never trust these agencies to act as impartial umpires of the facts.

      Stan has never filed a New Drug Application to the FDA. So your statement that the FDA is not an impartial umpire is akin to blaming your son’s little league loss on the umpire of the Yankee-Redv Sox game.

    3. Harriet Hall says:

      “I have a hard time believing that a huge number of testimonials could all be wrong.”

      Of course you do; that’s the natural human response. And that’s exactly why we need science to keep us straight, to find out whether all those testimonials correspond to effective treatments. You would also have a hard time believing that an even larger number of testimonials for bloodletting could all be wrong for centuries, testimonials by doctors and patients alike. And yet they were wrong; bloodletting actually did more harm than good. We only figured that out by comparing the outcomes of patients who got bloodletting to patients who didn’t (a controlled scientific trial).

      1. MadisonMD says:

        Good point. To be consistent, Kelly should partake in bloodletting for pneumonia and use Perkins’ Tractors for pain.

        —————-
        Moreover, I’d point out that, of course, Kelly never quantified the “huge number of testimonials,” nor considered the denominator of the efficacy equation– the patients with bad outcomes. Do the testimonials add up to apparent 1% efficacy or 0.01%?

        Of course, I use the qualifier apparent because of the lack of a control group– spontaneous regressions and misdiagnoses occur rarely, and some of these patients have already received standard treatments as pointed out by Dr. Gorski on many occasions.

    4. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      I have a hard time believing that a huge number of testimonials could all be wrong.

      Why is this hard to believe? If he treats 100 people, and 5% survive, that’s five testimonials. Expand that to 1,000 people and you’ve got 50, and you have absolutely no evidence coming from him that 950 others are dead. I’m sure those 50 people are remarkably impressed by their survival, just as I’m sure you’ll have no inkling from Burzynski that there are 950 corpses and empty bank accounts and grieving families out there.

      No one has ever proven that no one has ever benefited from antineoplastons.

      Nobody has proven that anyone has benefited from them, which is the rather more important point. Despite that, you’re just supposed to trust Burzynski and hand over your wallet. What would you say if Pfizer tried to make this argument? “Oh, yeah, trust us – this new drug is just tops. Please give me $200,000 per patient, and I guarantee that some of you will be cured!” Why is it insincere and insulting coming from the Pfizer PR flak, but totally trustworthy coming from Burzynski, the man who directly benefits from the money that get poured into his bank accounts by desperate patients?

      Do you know who doesn’t want their gravy train to stop? Stanislaw Burzynski.

      Unethical assholes who sell you hope are unethical assholes, no matter whether they work for themselves or for a conglomerate.

    5. David Gorski says:

      I have a hard time believing that a huge number of testimonials could all be wrong.

      So did all the potential new marks who heard about Bernie Madoff’s seemingly amazing ability to make his clients money. That’s how Madoff convinced new “customers” to let him invest their money.

  7. Kelly Clover says:

    If I found out I actually had brain cancer and money were not an issue I would consider antineoplastons as a possible treatment. I’m sick and tired of the blatant hypocrisy of Dr. Burzinski’s closed-minded critics. The critics say that some of Dr. Burzinski’s patients were harmed. They are probably right. But they never mention the huge number of patients harmed with risky surgeries, toxic radiation burns, or toxic chemotherapy.
    These critics are so wedded to the way conventional medicine has treated cancer for decades, they won’t consider the possibility this might not be the best way to treat many patients. They are so closed-minded they won’t acknowledge the fact that no one has proven that antineoplastons are useless for all types of cancers.
    Many people have a strong opinion but no proof that such treatment is never effective.
    Why don’t the critics band together and fund a comprehensive study on animals? Let’s find out exactly what happens at different doses for different types of cancer as well as what the toxicity issues really are. The critics won’t do this because the findings might stop the special interest gravy train which includes big money for surgeons, big money for the makers of toxic chemotherapy drugs, big money for radiologists, etc.

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      The key of your comment is “if money were not an issue”. Money is an issue for most people – in fact, a huge source of complaint here is that people fundraise to pay for their child’s transport, lodgings and treatment at the Burzynski clinic.

      Then there’s the fact that it can waste a limited amount of time left in a child’s life.

      Then there’s the fact that Burzynski has killed children through massive doses of sodium, thus ending what little time they had left prematurely. Any defence of Burzynski’s use of lethal doses of sodium?

      Then there’s the fact that Burzynski doesn’t give his customers (not patients, since he’s sellling hope, not medicine) just antineoplastons – he gives them a hefty dose of “everything but the kitchen sink” chemotherapy as well.

      And finally there’s your claim that skeptics are mean because Burzynski’s approach hasn’t been proven ineffective. Wrong. You don’t prove it’s effective – if you’re claiming a medical treatment is effective, you better damned well have proof it actually works. How would you feel about Pfizer selling a new drug for $200,000 per month per patient, and when people ask about how effective it is, the reply of their public relations office is “Well, it’s never been proven ineffective…” If that would irk you, why doesn’t Burzynski’s approach bother you?

      Also note that the very process that might prove antineoplastons effective or ineffective, clinical trials, are what Burzynski is abusing to make money off of his customers. If he’d bothered to publish the data he has been accumulating for decades, we wouldn’t be relying on anecdotes to debate the effectiveness of his approach. Why do you think he’s been collecting data since the 1990s, but hasn’t bothered to publish any of it yet? Why are there 61 trials registered, dating back 13 years, but nothing but more anecdotes on pubmed?

      How do you feel about Burzynski charging patients tens, or hundreds of thousands of dollars, under the guise of being “clinical trials”, for compounds that haven’t been proven to work? How would you feel about paying for the privilege of your child being a test subject? And not just paying for the cost of the materials – paying a lot of money, far in excess of the cost of the materials, in case management fees?

      Us closed-minded, nasty skeptics like to point out that even drug companies, the awful, unethical, shitty drug companies, rarely charge people to be enrolled in clinical trials. Normally patient care and medications are free, the company takes a loss during the process. Burzynski manages to turn a hefty profit. Does that make you feel good? I hope it closes your mind just a little bit.

    2. David Gorski says:

      They are so closed-minded they won’t acknowledge the fact that no one has proven that antineoplastons are useless for all types of cancers.

      Imagine a shill for Sanofi-Aventis or Merck saying something like this:

      Our critics are so close-minded that they won’t acknowledge the fact that no one has proven that our new drug, CancerBeGone, is useless for all types of cancers. I know we’ve been testing it and using it for 36 years and haven’t published a completed phase II clinical trial, but you haven’t proven that it is useless for every type of cancer. So we claim the right to keep testing it and keep using it on patients.

      That’s what you are saying about Burzynski, in essence. You would be quite correctly angry and critical if a drug company did what I describe above, but when Burzynski does it you defend him.

  8. Kelly Clover says:

    The critics again have ignored the facts. The National Cancer Institute and the FDA have been unwilling to provide funding for a comprehensive medical trial involving the use of antineoplastons. Simply stated the reason is because powerful special interests with deep pockets control the whole process of which medical trials are funded by the government. It’s exactly that simple.
    The NCA could start by funding a trial on animals to establish what the truth really is. They won’t do this because they are corrupted by powerful special interests who want to preserve their high profits in cancer-related surgeries, radiation treatments, and standard chemotherapy. These powerful interests are waving huge amounts of money around. This is how government agencies are corrupted.
    Some of the problems involving harm to Dr. Burzinski’s patients might have been prevented had the government funded medical studies long ago to prove what the
    facts really are including the risk associated with such treatments.
    If the government would fund such a clinical trial, there is little doubt in my mind what the truth would turn out to be. We would learn that antineoplastons are only
    effective against certain types of cancer and they are by no means without risk of
    harm. We would have more information on exactly what the risks are and what we
    could reasonably expect under a given set of circumstances.
    We would also learn that Dr. Burzinski is not a quack as his critics falsely allege. He has a legitimate treatment that has both risks and limitations on what it can do. But it’s far from being a bogus or fraudulent treatment.

    1. Sawyer says:

      The critics of Dorito-powered rockets have again have ignored the facts. NASA and the DoE have been unwilling to provide funding for a comprehensive test trial involving the use of Dorito propellants. Simply stated the reason is because powerful special interests with deep pockets control the whole process of which aeronautical experiments are funded by the government. It’s exactly that simple.
      The DoE could start by funding a combustion studies on potatoes to establish what the truth really is. They won’t do this because they are corrupted by powerful special interests who want to preserve their high profits in liquid hydrogen, ammonium percholate, and metal hydrides. These powerful interests are waving huge amounts of money around. This is how government agencies are corrupted.

      Some of the problems involving risks to astronauts might have been prevented ….

    2. MadisonMD says:

      @Kelly:

      The National Cancer Institute and the FDA have been unwilling to provide funding for a comprehensive medical trial involving the use of antineoplastons. Simply stated the reason is because powerful special interests with deep pockets control the whole process of which medical trials are funded by the government. It’s exactly that simple.
      The NCA could start by funding a trial on animals to establish what the truth really is

      Kelly, you are just making sh|t up and flaunting your ignorance. Where oh where to begin?
      (1) What in the hell is “NCA?”
      (2) The FDA doesn’t fund research. It never did.
      (3) The NCI did fund a trial of antineoplastons! It was done in 1992 as reported 15 years ago by The Cancer Letter. Burzynski pulled the rug out of the study part way so no definitive lack of efficacy could be established. Yet, it showed no efficacy in any of the 6 evaluable patients before Burzynski’s antics ended the study.
      (4) NCI funding, opportunity, part 2.
      Quote from Rich Schilsky, head of CALGB in 1998:

      “Had Dr. Burzynski presented his data to CALGB, and had it evaluated by a peer group of investigators, and was able to persuade us that these are exciting data that should be tested fully, CALGB would have been more than willing to do a well-designed clinical trial evaluating these compounds, and that would have been a relatively low-cost effort for Dr. Burzynski to be able to utilize the existing national clinical trials program to evaluate these new agents,” Schilsky said.

      (5) Finally, Burzynski has charged thousands of patients, $tens to hundreds of thousands each. Instead of investing mostly in his mansion, he could have invested a modest sum in actually keeping records of the outcomes of these patients and publishing his findings. If he did this, we would know much about efficacy and safety. Why do you think he is hiding these results that, even now, could be simply abstracted from charts?

      Two things are obvious to any observer with knowledge of cancer drug development:
      (1) Burzynski is arrogant and incapable of working productively with other researchers and physicians.
      (2) Burzynski would rather keep results under wraps so he can manipulate and abuse the public confidence with testimonials, and pity for dying children.

      Hell, if I wanted to run an NCI-funded trial, I’d have to spend months putting together a grant proposal, getting buy-in from colleagues, and would need my proposal to score in the top 8% in peer review among all submitted proposals to get funded. The NCI and CALGB came directly to Burzynski and offered to fund and run trials. He didn’t even have to write a grant proposal! Damn…

      Why do you think he turned them down? And now you have the gumption to straight out lie (deliberate? through ignorance?) that the NCI won’t fund a trial.

      Kelly, please cover up your shameful display of ignorance and packs of lies.

    3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Kelly, did you hear that line direct from Burzynski himself, in his million-dollar mansion, paid for by patients who were charged tens of thousands of dollars a month for the privilege of being subjects in the fake clinical trial of an unproven cancer remedy?

      Simply stated the reason is because powerful special interests with deep pockets control the whole process of which medical trials are funded by the government. It’s exactly that simple.

      Simply put, we know what Burzynski’s piss extracts are, and there is very little likelihood that they are effective. Certainly not via Burzynski’s proposed mechanism of interfering with DNA – the molecule itself is too large to fit into the spaces between the base pairs.

      The NCA is obligated to fund the most promising trials. Burzynski, assuming he even applied, is upset that he’s not getting money thrown at him. Many researchers are also upset. The difference is, he’s making millions by selling it direct to desperate consumers. Why does Burzynski deserve to bypass the conventional competitive process for research funding? It’s certainly not because of the convincing nature of his anecdotes – peer review committees would quickly realize just how unconvincingly weak they were. If Burzynski really wanted to establish that his piss extracts works, he could apply for real clinical trials, rather than the fake ones he’s running now, in order to make money off of desperate patients. He could take a portion of his millions of dollars in revenue and use it to self-fund the animal studies that are among the early steps in working towards testing in human subjects. Why doesn’t he? My guess is because he’s making far, far more money now than he could as a conventional researcher, and far, far too deluded to ever admit that he’s wrong. Greed and arrogance.

      Rather than saying it’s up to the government to test Burzynski’s piss extracts, why not see things the way they really are – that it’s up to Burzynski to ethically test his products before selling them directly to consumers for tens of thousands of dollars per month (part of which goes towards paying for a bucket load of conventional chemotherapy, thus polluting any results he may get).

      And it’d sure be nice if he didn’t charge patients thousands of dollars in case management fees, several times higher than what most physicians would charge.

      But whatever, continue being part of an astroturfing campaign designed to enrich Stanislaw Burzynski. Don’t bother thinking independently about what your real role in this tragedy is.

  9. Kelly Clover says:

    To: Dr. Madison MD
    Dr. Burzinski’s side of the story is that the dosages they wanted to use in the NCI trial were much lower than what he believed was effective. Dr. Burzinski and his assistants believed that the NCI was just out to discredit him with a purposely rigged clinical trial rather than finding out what the facts really are.
    This is one reason why we need clinical trials on animals. If an animal dies because a treatment has harmful side effects ,that doesn’t have the same effect as a
    human patient dying but it gives us clues as to what is likely to happen to a human patient under similar circumstances.

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Kelly, perhaps Stanislaw Burzynski is using a rationalization after the fact to justify the failure of clinical trials, and also to justify continuing to charge customers tens of thousands of dollars a month.

      How would you feel if Pfizer came up with a similar rational and used it to justify selling their drugs to customers despite a complete lack of efficacy?

      Also consider that it is the lethally high doses of sodium required to buffer his piss extracts that is killing children. So perhaps higher doses of ANP isn’t a great idea, unless you like killing children.

      1. Sawyer says:

        But for the NCI to purposely choose levels they knew would fail, doesn’t that mean that they already had a strong understanding of ANP cancer treatments before Burzynski’s trials? How is this even possible? The little conspiracy theory that Burzynski dreamed up grows out of control as soon as you think about the prerequisites it entails. There would have to be hundreds of scientists that did earlier research on ANPs, who handed all their data over to drug companies and the federal government, and then decided to shut up about it. Or perhaps Burzynski himself had access to all this data too but won’t share it with anyone, because it would diminish his status as a “rebel-genius” doctor. Either way there are tomes of evidence for ANPs floating around somewhere, yet somehow there’s no paper trail whatsoever on where the research was performed, who did it, and who paid for it.

        The only alternative explanation is that government institutions are psychic and magically know what the results of trials will be before they start, so they can nix anything that they know would come out positive. I would expect them to run a little more efficiently if they possessed these clairvoyant powers.

    2. MadisonMD says:

      Kelly:
      It is clear that Burzynski and the collaborating researchers disagreed about how to dose the drug and run the study. Subsequent events make it clear that Burzynski doesn’t want results to be known publicly.

      Now, you need a dose of reality regarding your proposed NCI-funded animal experiments.

      (1) Most drugs developed cancer are abandoned after 10-100 patients are treated. They are abandoned when they shrink tumors <10% of the time. According to The Cancer Letter, Burzynski treated 963 people with ANP in 1997 alone. In ONE year, Kelly. That means, he is sitting on results on somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 patients.

      (2) Animal studies are used prior to clinical trials. These are used to determine if the drug is worth even testing on 10-100 patients. The problem is that they don’t work that well to predict what will happen in humans. Thus, it doesn’t make sense to test ANP on 100 guinea pigs, when you’ve already subjected 10,000-20,000 human guinea pigs to it. You and I can agree that it was unethical to do the human studies before the animals, but then Burzynski does not appear to be a paragon in the ethics category.

      (3) If Burzynski wants funding from the NCI, he needs to submit a grant proposal, and score among top 6-8% in peer review, just like everyone else. Has he submitted a proposal?

      —-
      Kelly: The clear path forward is for Burzynski to publish the findings on the first 10,000-20,000 human guinea pigs. It would not require much money to do so. If it shows considerable promise (>10% objective responses in one or more specific diseases), then he could submit grant application for NCI/Cooperative group funding for a phase III trial.

  10. Michael says:

    I’m not going to pretend that I’ve done a ton of research on this, but there’s something that I don’t understand. How can a “quack” build a 46,000 square foot facility in Houston, Texas and still operate if his medicine doesn’t work? How can the Houston Medical Board try repeatedly to shut him down, only to fail every time? How can there be dozens of patients testifying on his behalf in court that his methods work? I don’t care if he charges his patients a million dollars if his medicine works. “Traditional” chemo (poison) can cost $30,000/mo and rarely does nothing more than make life miserable for the patient.

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Hi Michael.

      How can a quack build a 46,000 square foot facility if his medicine doesn’t work? By charging his customers (not patients) hundreds of thousands of dollars to be enrolled in his “clinical trials”. See, normally Burzynski would be sent to prison for delivering untested treatments. However, he claims he’s actually testing his treatments. The problem is, most patients are paid to be in clinical trials, or at least are not charged for their treatment and follow-up. Burzynski is relatively unique in demanding cash for the privilege of being in his clinical trials. The indignity that is added to this demand is the fact that his clinical trials never report out, and are conducted in such a slipshod, messy manner that even if they did report out, the results would be meaningless. Plus there’s the fact that Burzynski’s lawyer is on record in a book he authored as saying that Burzynski only set up this sham of a system of clinical trials so he could skirt the ruling against him delivering antineoplastons (and a hefty dose of chemotherapy, that you appear to hate so much, for which he charges his patients considerable amounts of markup plus $10,000+/month in clinical management fees).

      How does the HMB consistently fail to shut him down? He is a dishonest player who games the system.

      How can there be dozens of patients testifying on his behalf? Because the human mind is a self-justifying engine; someone who spends tens of thousands of dollars in an effort to save their child’s life has to rationalize it somehow. It’s a well-recognized phenomena known as cognitive dissonance. Plus, the dead aren’t exactly in a position to testify on their own behalf.

      Also note that Burzynski’s piss extracts and the high-dose chemotherapy cocktails he gives his customers, not to mention massive doses of sodium to buffer the solutions, all make his customers quite miserable.

      You don’t have to do a ton of reserach by the way, simply read Dr. Gorski’s posts on Stanislaw Burzynski, and you’ll get a very different assessment of his character than the one presented by his PR team.

  11. windriven says:

    @Michael-

    Ah, I thought you were a thoughtful reader with legitimate questions right up to the point that I got here:

    ” “Traditional” chemo (poison) ”

    Your quack built whatever size his facility is off the backs of frightened, vulnerable cancer patients and their families.

    Quackery doesn’t need to work. Quackery thrives on selling hope to the hopeless. In the land of quackery evidence doesn’t matter, only belief.

    Medical Boards, sadly enough, are toothless tigers. But behold your prophet in chains in the picture above. If I were a praying man I’d do thirty-seven novenas that he be locked up till the sun goes cold.

    Testimonials are the lifeblood of quackery. There are testimonials claiming all manner of miracle cures for John of God, laetrile, coffee enemas, homeopathy, reiki, psychic surgery, and Benny Hinn.

    I would still care if he charged his patients millions of dollars if his treatments worked. But they don’t. So what does that make him?

  12. Kelly Clover says:

    I’m glad we aren’t just hearing one side. Michael has the right idea. The critics have yet to produce convincing evidence that no one benefited from antineoplastons. Why don’t these closed-minded critics simply admit that some of Dr. Burzinski’s did benefit? Why don’t they admit that government agencies like the FDA can be corrupted by powerful special interests with boatloads of money in a manner similar to the way our politicians are corrupted by huge campaign donations? You can bet your bottom dollar that many members of the FDA have financial investments including stock holdings with Big Pharma and other medical industry special interests.

    1. MadisonMD says:

      The critics have yet to produce convincing evidence that no one benefited from antineoplastons. Why don’t these closed-minded critics simply admit that some of Dr. Burzinski’s did benefit?

      How anyone but Burzynski produce evidence when Burzynski himself is sitting on the charts of 10,000-20,000 individuals subjected to experimental medicine? How can evidence be obtained when Burzynski refuses to collaborate with an NCI-sponsored study (Yes old news– 20 years ago). Burzynski HAS the evidence. But he’s not sharing it, except to allow how many 5? 8? of the survivors among the 10,000-20,000 to speak in his defense. He knows the dead won’t talk– and he sure as hell won’t enumerate them. I bet when he moves his clinic to Tijuana next year, those charts go through the shredder…. if he hasn’t shredded them already.

      Why don’t they admit that government agencies like the FDA can be corrupted by powerful special interests with boatloads of money

      How can you castigate the FDA for not approving ANP, when Burzynski has not even filed a New Drug Application?

      Seriously, Kelly, you have issues with reality.

    2. Andrey Pavlov says:

      Kelly, MadisonMD said it well, but additionally how can one prove a negative? And why should it matter anyways? We cannot prove that nobody, ever, has been or could possibly be helped by ANPs. What we can prove – and have – is that ANPs are extremely unlikely to help, there is no rationale behind their use as SB is using them, and that they can and have harmed. It has nothing to do with being closed-minded and everything to do with knowing, in great detail, how these things do and don’t work.

    3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Kelly, you have apparently only heard one side in that you think Burzynski is some kind of saint. How do you justify his failure to report on the results of his clinical trials after 14+ years? How do you justify the high case management fees he charges to desperate customers for the privilege of being in a clinical trial? How do you justify sodium levels so high that it kills children?

      I have no doubt that some of Burzynski’s customers have benefited, after all, along with his piss extracts he also gives them high doses of multi-ingredient chemotherapy, thus polluting any research that could take place as you never know whether the chemo or the piss extracts are responsible for any outcome.

      Why do you claim the FDA and Big Pharma has a special interest, but Burzynski doesn’t? He’s making an enormous personal fortune not for selling piss extracts, but for ostensibly conducting clinical trials. Why is it “greed” when Pfizer makes a profit, but Burzynski is to be lauded when he pockets millions? How is making a substantial pesonal fortune not a personal conflict of interest merely because it’s not in stock options?

      And as I’ve said before – how would you feel if Pfizer sold a drug on the basis that “it wasn’t proven ineffective“? Don’t you think it’s reasonable to ask Burzynski to prove that his piss extracts do anything before he sells them? If someone tried to sell you a car with the description of “it doesn’t not work”, would you buy it?

      Why does Burzynski get a free pass on the having to prove that his customers aren’t wasting their money?

  13. Sawyer says:

    The critics have yet to produce convincing evidence that no one benefited from antineoplastons.

    Kelly please try to do some basic reading on either medical ethics or statistics. Or just learn more about cancer quacks on this site. Any one of these routes should show you why this statement is completely backwards.

  14. Kelly Clover says:

    There is a very good reason why past attempts to shut Burzinski down have run into so many problems. To begin this fight is really all about money. The critics say Burzinski is charging greatly inflated prices. It should never be forgotten that conventionally treated patients don’t see the real price of treatment. Medicare or private insurance pays most of it. Surgeons, radiologists, and the makers of chemotherapy drugs want the public to believe that Dr. Burzinski is a quack.
    The courts and others asked to shut Burzinski down don’t want to be put in the position of denying life-saving treatment. It’s true that are risks with antineoplastons and some patients don’t benefit at all. But who wants to cut off this treatment for those that do benefit?

    1. weing says:

      “It’s true that are risks with antineoplastons and some patients don’t benefit at all.”

      After so many years, we should have ample evidence to see how true this is and for how many patients. Not the say-so of the snake-oil salesman.

      “But who wants to cut off this treatment for those that do benefit?”

      I don’t want to cut off any treatment if there is a real benefit. I also don’t want to waste any money on treatment that isn’t. Show me that it works. He’s had plenty of time. I first heard about this in 1978. Still no scientific proof. If it really worked and he knew that, proof would be easy and he would be raking in the dough from the profits. If it didn’t work, he has 2 choices: Be honest and say it’s a dead end and not make money, or be dishonest and avoid scientific testing like the plague and live in a mansion.

    2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      To begin this fight is really all about money.

      Absolutely. The ability of Stanislaw Burzynski to make millions of dollars without any interference from the state. That’s why he primes and pushes his customers to appeal directly to elected representatives – they do all the work, and he never has to test whether his piss extracts do a damned thing.

      Surgeons, radiologists, and the makers of chemotherapy drugs want the public to believe that Dr. Burzinski is a quack.

      How does this square with Burzynski giving large doses of mixed chemotherapy to his customers? This act ensures that there is no possible way to ever know what is responsible for any recoveries of his customers – the chemotherapy or the natural recovery of patients.

      Oh, and of course the piss extracts.

      The courts and others asked to shut Burzinski down don’t want to be put in the position of denying life-saving treatment. It’s true that are risks with antineoplastons and some patients don’t benefit at all. But who wants to cut off this treatment for those that do benefit?

      Since Burzynski has never, ever tested his piss extracts, and since he hopelessly pollutes his “clinical trials” with poorly-chosen, high-dose chemotherapy, we’ll never, ever know if anyone ever benefited or not. Burzynski never bothered, he just sells them directly to the public, at a personal profit of millions of dollars.

      Tell me again why you think he’s a great man? Merely because he’s willing to use personal appeals of dying people to try to subvert the systems in place to guarantee patient safety and efficacy of the drugs used?

    3. MadisonMD says:

      But who wants to cut off this treatment for those that do benefit?

      All Burzynski has to do is open up the charts of the 10,000-20,000 people treated, find out who benefited, and let the world know. Of course he has to be careful (i.e. make sure they really did have cancer, that tumors really did shrink from ANP and not steroids, account for standard treatments patients received etc.). But really Kelly it’s that simple. I just can’t get over that he’s not doing this. I look at it like this:

      Burzynski benefits most:
      by NOT SHOWING DATA if ANP doesn’t work or works in very small percentage of cases then ANP. In this case he makes more $ duping the credulous.
      AND
      by SHOWING ALL DATA if ANP does work for a large fraction of an identifiable patient group. In this case he makes more money by selling his drug world wide.

      Tens of thousands of results locked away and hidden in Burzynski institute. Why? His actions speak louder than any words.

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        Madison, ’cause I’m ornery, I’m going to dissent. I’m going to guess that Burzynski’s files, and even worse, his treatment protocols, are such a mess, that you could never extract a meaningful amount of detail from them. Different tumor types, different pre-treatments, different chemotherapy cocktails, different ages, different genders, all mashed together in an unholy mess.

        And I would guess that this is another part of the reason Burzynski doesn’t open up his files. He would probably go to prison for medical mismanagement and thousands of cases of poor record keeping.*

        The lovely thing would be, were this the case, it would be like shutting down the Mob over mail fraud instead of racketeering, murder and corruption. Less satisfying, but just as effective.

        *If such charges exist.

        1. MadisonMD says:

          I’m going to guess that Burzynski’s files, and even worse, his treatment protocols, are such a mess, that you could never extract a meaningful amount of detail from them.

          Indeed it’s a mess, judging by FDA Audit results. Yet, give me 2 medical students and a summer, and I can extract data from any existing charts, organize, tabulate, and get some meaningful results. 6 students and one year, we could even review radiology images and assess response by standardized criteria. Sure, some of the record keeping would be so bad, we’d throw out charts–maybe more than half. Sure, some diseases would have too few cases. But after 30+ years and >10,000 patients treated, we could get something. Recall a standard phase II would have only 10-40 patients in it. If we could get start date, stop date, pathology, and radiology films for even 1000 patients– a mere 1/20th of those treated– we would have enough to reject ANP as a treatment, or perhaps (though I doubt it) even to support further drug development for a specific disease.

          It’s a travesty that even after starting phase II trials B. still doesn’t gather data properly. I wish the NCI did fund his phase II’s just a little. Then he would be audited by OHRP and his IRB would be closely watched. As it is, there is just very limited FDA oversight.

          And I would guess that this is another part of the reason Burzynski doesn’t open up his files. He would probably go to prison for medical mismanagement and thousands of cases of poor record keeping.*

          In the U.S., the most vigorous pursuit of fraud is through CMS billing (Medicare/Medicaid). Since Burzynski is fee-for-service, he is not under such purview. Therefore, the only review of his medical practice comes from the Texas Medical Board– and we know how he just blames his hired MDs for non-standard care– or malpractice lawsuits from patients.

          So part of the reason Burzynski gets away with so much is he doesn’t get even $1 from CMS or NIH, nor is he associated with any university that does. If he did, there would be significantly more oversight of his malicious practices.

          1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            Dearly would I love all of your wishes to come true.

  15. Kelly Clover says:

    Here is something many readers of this blog don’t know. Dr. Burzinski has friends in both the medical profession and the religious community. Dr. Frank Seltzer in Tyler, Texas has recommended him for cancer tumor treatment on God’s Learning Channel. God’s Learning Channel is a religious TV network based in the Midland-Odessa area with several stations in New Mexico and western Texas.
    If you look around in the right places you will find that not all doctors are enemies of Dr. Burzinski. Conventionally-trained doctors nearly always hate him. The owners of God’s Learning Channel like both Dr. Frank Seltzer and Dr. Charles Scott of Odessa. In the past both have appeared on God’s Learning Channel to attack mercury-tainted and usually ineffective flu vaccines, the corruption of the government by monied special interests, and the suppression of medical treatments that are not based on synthetically produced drugs by Big Pharma.

    1. Chris says:

      Do you understand the difference between religion and science? Which one relies on data?

      If you want us to believe that his treatment works, then produce some data.. Show us the unbiased verifiable statistics that substantially more people have been cured than have died. What happened to the Phase II clinical trials? Why was the Phase III clinical trial canceled without any recruitment?

    2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Here is something many readers of this blog don’t know. Dr. Burzinski has friends in both the medical profession and the religious community

      So what? If religion cured cancer, we wouldn’t have had to invent medicine. Religion at best offers hope, in its best guise, it is a source of comfort when you have no other option. In its worst, it is genocidal, it tortures, it fills children and adults with guilt and shame, and it’s brutally exploitative in its pursuit of wealth and power. Think little old ladies sending in their entire pension cheques to pastors in glass cathedrals.

      Conventionally-trained doctors nearly always hate him.

      Yeah, and we’ve explained why – he charges customers tens of thousands of dollars for conventional, poorly-thought-out chemotherapy plus some unproven piss extracts under the false claim of running “clinical trials”, a process he is on record as saying he is only doing to subvert the restrictions placed on his practice by the FDA.

      In the past both have appeared on God’s Learning Channel to attack mercury-tainted and usually ineffective flu vaccines, the corruption of the government by monied special interests, and the suppression of medical treatments that are not based on synthetically produced drugs by Big Pharma.

      1) Most vaccines don’t have mercury in them
      2) Flu vaccines are effective, given appropriate circumstances
      3) You don’t see Burzynski as a “monied special interest” with his mansion and millions of dollars in yearly earnings? Or religion as a “monied special interest”?
      4) If “naturally produced drugs” were effective, we wouldn’t need to tweak them. We wouldn’t need to adjust willow bark extract to cause fewer stomach bleeds. Natural things can kill you just as dead as unnatural things, and there are a lot of natural toxins (poisonous mushrooms, cyanide-filled bitter almonds, coral snake venom) that are far worse than artificial ones.

      Seriously, our criticisms of Burzynski are of his shoddy and unethical “science”, and your response is “but religious people like him”? Who cares? Burzynski is an asshole, a selfish, money-grubbing asshole, and you are enabling him to kill more children with high-dose sodium.

  16. MadisonMD says:

    Here is something many readers of this blog don’t know. Dr. Burzinski has friends in both the medical profession and the religious community.

    Kelly: If you know so much about Dr. Burzynski, then why can’t you even spell his name correctly?

  17. Kelly Clover says:

    WLU you conveniently ignore the fact that Dr. Burzynski has never been free to perform medicine as he believes is best for a given patient. He has often been ordered by the FDA to give patients conventional treatment before he could even consider antineoplastons.
    I researched some of the past litigation involving the FDA and I saw that a judge named McDonald came up several times. Judge McDonald believed that the FDA had a personal vendetta against Dr. Burzynski and wasn’t treating him fairly. The FDA kept running roughshod over the judge’s rulings and trying to shut him down no matter how extreme the action needed to put him out of business.
    The government could very well be trying to steal his patents or to manufacture trumped up charges against him by seizing huge numbers of medical records in various raids. Judge McDonald was suspicious of the FDA’s true motives.
    You seem very ill-informed about flu vaccines. Last year’s flu vaccine was determined in government studies to be only 9% effective in the elderly population. The government has purposely covered up the truth about thimerosal knowing this would lead to many lawsuits. Believe it or not we even have a law on the books that makes it illegal to publicly report bad reactions from flu vaccines. A government study linking flu vaccines to increased Alzheimer’s risk has been hushed up. Some people have even been permanently paralyzed after getting a flu shot.

    1. Chris says:

      “WLU you conveniently ignore the fact that Dr. Burzynski has never been free to perform medicine as he believes is best for a given patient”

      So how do you know it works? Do you have some actual data?

      “You seem very ill-informed about flu vaccines. Last year’s flu vaccine was determined in government studies to be only 9% effective in the elderly population.”

      All the more reason to get the flu vaccine to protect the elderly. It worked for everyone else.

      “The government has purposely covered up the truth about thimerosal knowing this would lead to many lawsuits.”

      Citation needed.

      “Believe it or not we even have a law on the books that makes it illegal to publicly report bad reactions from flu vaccines.”

      Citation needed.

      But there is this:
      http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/statisticsreports.html

      OOh, look, it includes reports for influenza. It says “Since influenza vaccines (vaccines administered to large numbers of adults each year) were added to the VICP in 2005, many adult claims related to that vaccine have been filed.”

      Why should we believe you?

    2. Sawyer says:

      … was determined in government studies to be only 9% effective in the elderly population. The government has purposely covered up the truth …

      Wow, at least when I have internal contradictions in my posts I manage to separate them by a few sentences.

      I get such a kick out of imagining this bizarre character of “government” that you folks keep talking about. Somehow they manage to prevent, distort, or conceal hundreds of studies on vaccines, yet they still can’t manage to keep the lid on the very data they collected.

    3. MadisonMD says:

      The government could very well be trying to steal his patents

      Gee Kelly. I thought patents would expire after 30 years or so. Burzynski filed in 1984.

      Now. You are a veritable font of misinformation, inaccuracy and lies–as repeatedly documented in this thread. What nerve you have. I value nothing but truth, honesty, and helping people with cancer. Why art thou against truth and honesty? What is thy purpose?

      1. Sawyer says:

        I wasn’t going to continue kicking Kelly while she’s down, but now I can’t help it. Anyone with the slightest experience dealing with the USPTO is laughing at the idea that the federal government would be capable of “stealing” Burzy’s patents. Yes, clearly a stubborn government employee in the USPTO will risk their career participating in a massive conspiracy to steal the antineoplaston therapy, setup a dummy corporation to file a new patent, orchestrate a merger with a big drug company, and then somehow silence all of Burzynski’s fans. All while making half of what people in industry get paid.

        It’s the perfect plan.

        1. David Gorski says:

          But…but…but…it’s the government! The NIH and NCI are part of the government, and the USPTO is part of the government! :-)

        2. MadisonMD says:

          Yes, and once the expired patent is stolen, I suppose the government will make big profits and cut taxes. No company would dare infringe– the legal penalty for infringing on an expired patent is heavy… in Kelly’s alternate universe.

    4. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      WLU you conveniently ignore the fact that Dr. Burzynski has never been free to perform medicine as he believes is best for a given patient. He has often been ordered by the FDA to give patients conventional treatment before he could even consider antineoplastons.

      Really? Do you have any source to substantiate this claim, or should I simply trust you? And if Burzynski were “ordered” to give chemotherapy, wouldn’t he use the lowest dose possible, rather than the high-dose, high-volume, multi-compound chemo he prefers?

      The government could very well be trying to steal his patents or to manufacture trumped up charges against him by seizing huge numbers of medical records in various raids. Judge McDonald was suspicious of the FDA’s true motives.

      Why would the government try to “steal” his patents? The government doesn’t manufacture chemotherapy, and as far as I know, antineoplastons aren’t even patent-protected. Nobody else wants them. Hell, if they were proven effective, Burzynski could patent them and make hundreds of millions – but as Madison notes – he can make simple millions by never testing it adequately and just charging his patients exorbitant case management fees.

      Sounds like Judge McDonald is a moron who doesn’t know a damned thing about medical care – what with him being a judge and all.

      Last year’s flu vaccine was determined in government studies to be only 9% effective in the elderly population…A government study linking flu vaccines to increased Alzheimer’s risk has been hushed up.

      Yet you managed to find out about these amazing facts! From where, Alex Jones? Mike Adams, the health ranger? Joe Mercola? Sounds like the government is incompetent at keeping its own secrets.

      The government has purposely covered up the truth about thimerosal knowing this would lead to many lawsuits.

      You do know that there are other countries in the world than the United States, who have done their own research on thiomersal, and have found nothing pointing to it being a significant concern, right? Oh, of course you don’t know that.

      Believe it or not we even have a law on the books that makes it illegal to publicly report bad reactions from flu vaccines.

      Wow, you’re just making shit up, aren’t you? Do you know what VAERS is? You should report it for being “illegal”.

      Moron.

  18. MadisonMD says:

    Good job spelling ‘Burzynski’ correctly–finally, Kelly! It’s a great start!

    Now all we need to work on is everything else.

  19. David Smith says:

    Don’t have a dog in this fight, but it’s rather strange, that documents show that the government has made attempts to patent what is already a patented process authored by Dr. Burzynski. It’s also strange that after several trials, this man is still standing. Lastly, even more strange that he has been allowed to go forward with these Phase Trials through the FDA. He’s in Phase 3 of trials. Now ask yourself, if he was a quack or a scam, how come the man has made it this far (more specifically with trials)? Something is fishy here… Dead giveaway! Dead giveaway! I saw this story and it appears that somebody wants this man and his program dead.

    If I were Dr. Burzynski, I would take my research and set up operations in a more receptive country. Let’s say China, where the FDA don’t have the advantage of pressure, perfect his science and establish tourism for those who can travel to receive the treatment. May God bless Mr. Burzynski. Also, I might add, that Mr. Burzynski never claimed that he could cure everyone with cancer. Anyone who says that is a flat out lie. Before you draw any other conclusions, from dis tractors, please watch both documentaries entitled, “Burzynski: Cancer is Serious Business Part 1 and Part 2.

    1. Woo Fighter says:

      There’s another lie from David Smith, the shill, concerning the Phase III trial.

      David: inform yourself before coming here with your nonsense. The Phase III trial was open for over four years without ever having recruited one single patient. In recent months Burzynski himself pulled the plug on that trial.

      It never happened, and it never will.

      And yes, let’s all hope Burzynski gets the hell out of Houston and is forced to set up shop in Tijauna or Costa Rica or Brazil in 2014.

  20. MadisonMD says:

    Don’t have a dog in this fight…

    May God bless Mr. Burzynski.

    Ergo you, sir, are a liar.

  21. Woo Fighter says:

    While I realize “David Smith” is a very common name, and it might even be fake, but Burzynski’s boyfriend Dr. Julian “Scientology” Whitaker wrote about a Burzynski patient named David Smith here:

    http://whitakerhealthfreedom.com/2012/03/a-familys-fight-for-medical-freedom/

    And has anyone checked out Eric Merola’s new “disclaimer” on his movie website? It’s priceless, and hypocritical:

    Disclaimer: This documentary film series is not affiliated with Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski MD, PhD, The Burzynski Clinic, or the Burzynski Research Institute, Inc. It is an independent film series produced by Eric Merola, and should not be misunderstood as an advertisement for the Burzynski Clinic. This film series and this web site is not intended to replace professional medical advice.

  22. Woo Fighter says:

    I posted another comment that got scrubbed for some reason, about another lie in David Smith’s comment.

    David: that mythical Phase III trial was open for over four years without ever having recruited one single patient. That trial was recently cancelled by Burzynski himself.

    It never happened, and it never will.

    (Apologies if both my comments are eventually posed here.)

  23. Kelly Clover says:

    Sawyer, I’m a he, not a she. I recently got the San Angelo Standard Times to print one of my letters to the editor. It was about Dr. Burzynski and it appeared in the “Viewpoints” section of the Thursday February 6th issue. I stated that the USA
    Today investigation merely cited the claims of Burzynski’s critics without proving that his treatments were never effective.
    I also stated that I was suspicious of the FDA’s true motives which I believed were driven by hidden corruption involving moneyed special interests. I stated that I believed that multiple Federal agencies were so corrupted, not just the FDA. I also stated what I personally believed was most likely true about antineoplastons: They were effective on some patients but not others and they sometimes harmed patients because of their side effects. I also stated that I opposed the FDA’s move to make antineoplastons unavailable as a possible treatment.

    1. weing says:

      “I also stated what I personally believed was most likely true about antineoplastons: They were effective on some patients but not others and they sometimes harmed patients because of their side effects.”
      All this without a shred of reliable evidence? Boy are you gullible. And a conspiracy theorist to boot. I wonder if anyone in the SA times readership will take the trouble to point out the holes in your views.

    2. MadisonMD says:

      …without proving that his treatments were never effective.

      So if I pronounced to the world that chewing fern fronds cured cancer, would you defend me against critics who have not proved that treatment never effective?

      …what I personally believed was most likely true… They were effective on some patients but not others and they sometimes harmed patients because of their side effects.

      Maybe true, maybe not. To know, we would have to see the evidence, which Burzynski has not shared. If you personally believe it, great on you. Standard cancer treatments are based on evidence, not someone’s belief. Most cancer patients can and should demand something more substantial than the belief of “Kelly Clover” or anyone else.

    3. Andrey Pavlov says:

      So you’ve thrown in some conspiracy theory that is amazingly unfounded (the FDA has left Burzynski alone a LOT more than they should have), you are arguing basically the one thing that is as anti-science as possible (you cannot prove a negative – unless you’d like to prove to me that the starlight from alpha centauri won’t cure a specific type of cancer in a specific subpopulation I haven’t yet defined), and you go for the fallacy of the golden mean regarding ANP’s even though you have literally zero basis on which to “believe” that to be the case (and plenty of evidence you don’t understand how science works).

      Congratulations! You are not a critical thinker and a bit of a conspiratorialist to boot.

  24. Kelly Clover says:

    Dr. Burzynski’s critics ignore the fact that some of the people testifying in his behalf were told by conventional doctors that their cancer could not be treated successfully
    with surgery, radiation, or other conventional treatments. Then they went to Dr. Burzynski and thought they were cured or at least greatly benefited from his antineoplastons treatment.
    David Smith says there is something fishy about a quack with a completely bogus treatment staying in business this long and winning every past attempt to have him put out of business. These closed-minded critics resort to all kinds of rationalizations to explain away the successes of Dr. Burzynski. Very often they will claim that the delayed effects of some past conventional treatment produced the results. Really?
    Or they will say the cancer diagnosis must have been wrong. Really? Or they will say that misleading symptoms caused the patient to think he was getting worse when in fact he was really recovering from cancer when he went to Dr. Burzynski. Really?
    Many of these people who work for the FDA or other Federal agencies are offered highly lucrative jobs with powerful special interests. There are many ways that those with deep pockets can corrupt these agencies. The almighty dollar corrupts government agencies just like it corrupts our elected political leaders.

    1. Chris says:

      “Then they went to Dr. Burzynski and thought they were cured or at least greatly benefited from his antineoplastons treatment.”

      When they testified did they release all of their medical records, including those from Burzynski’s clinic? Are these records now public?

      And where are the published results of all of those clinical trials?

    2. MadisonMD says:

      You are repeating yourself, Kelly. See above. Basically, to adequately determine the efficacy of a cancer therapy, we need to enumerate both successes and failures. 5 people who survived Burzynski therapy out of 10,000-20,000 just isn’t convincing. In fact, if that’s all, it’s a rather terrible success rate. Moreover, the weird things that you pose as “Really?” can really happen in a few cases out of 10,000.

      It’s nice that you finally learned out how to spell Burzynski. Are you capable of learning anything else?

    3. weing says:

      “David Smith says there is something fishy about a quack with a completely bogus treatment staying in business this long and winning every past attempt to have him put out of business.”
      Well then, why didn’t you say so in the first place that you have it on such great authority? Your whole theory has to be true if David Smith says this. Why, you couldn’t have had better confirmation if the pope had said it. BTW. Who the f*ck is David Smith?

    4. weing says:

      “David Smith says there is something fishy about a quack with a completely bogus treatment staying in business this long and winning every past attempt to have him put out of business.”

      Was he talking about Bernie Madoff? Yes, there was something fishy about a many with a completely bogus operation staying in business that long and winning every past attempt to have him put out of business. But it wasn’t fishy in the way you want.

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