The Burzynski Clinic

The Burzynski Clinic is a clinic dedicated to treating cancer patients. It is based in Houston, Texas. It pioneers a treatment called antineoplaston therapy.

Except, this treatment isn’t pioneering. It isn’t effective. It does not work. And yet, the Burzynski Clinic continue to profit off it. I am sickened and appalled that cancer patients are being exploited.

The theory behind antineoplaston therapy is that certain peptides were apparently less prevalent in the blood of cancer patients than in healthy control subjects. This was first identified by Stanislaw Burzynski. He then hypothesised that replacing these missing peptides, which he renamed antineoplastons, would be a cure for cancer.

The Burzynski Clinic, which opened in 1977, has been in the news a couple of times recently, first in the case of Laura, a 24-year-old mum, of the Hope For Laura campaign, then more recently in another campaign to get Sean Lyne, a 19-year-old featured in an article in thejournal.ie, to the treatment centre in Houston for the €120,000 antineoplaston therapy.

The Burzynski Clinic promote themselves as offering an “[i]nnovative and cutting-edge Personalized Gene Targeted Cancer Therapy [with] [c]ustomized treatment for over 50 types of malignancies”. However, their antineoplaston treatment has been in clinical trials since it’s inception. Straight away, this shows an intellectual dishonesty on Burzynski’s part – promoting an experimental treatment as if it were effective.

Burzynski’s published research has been criticised by oncologists and scientists alike. Dr Howard Ozer, director of the Allegheny Cancer Center in Philadelphia, called the research “scientific nonsense”. Independent studies failed to replicate Burzynski’s results, suggesting there may be a strong bias in Burzynski’s research. The FDA have not approved the treatment for any diseases. A 2004 analysis of evidence for a number of alternative treatments for cancer, including Burzynski’s own antineoplaston therapy, said that “The label “unproven” is inappropriate for such therapies; it is time to assert that many alternative cancer therapies have been “disproven.”” In short, it’s quackery – ineffective treatment promoted as effective and sold for a very high price.

I hate the idea of taking away someone’s last hope. Even though this is false hope, I still hate taking it away. But imagine if this was your family member, being misled and dragged halfway across the world, being taken away from the majority of their family to spend the last bit of their life being injected with an ineffective treatment every four hours. I would be fuming if this was anyone close to me. The false hope dilemma has been covered before by both Keir Liddle of The 21st Floor and Jennifer Keane, a.k.a ZenBuffy.

When the Burzynski Clinic is in the news, it’s always described as providing a treatment that is unavailable on the NHS. The main reason for this is that it’s in clinical trials. The 17 trials started by Burzynski began in the 1990s and have an estimated end date of 31st December 2011. The other, probably more important reason is that in small studies, it hasn’t proven to be effective. Burzynski’s own research and findings haven’t been replicated.

Burzynski took what was a hypothesis and ran with it. And ran with it. And ran with it some more. He has relentlessly promoted his “investigational” therapy to those who are most vulnerable – those with incurable diseases. This court document states

The district court granted summary judgment for the plaintiff/appellee, the Northwest Laundry and Dry Cleaners Health & Welfare Trust Fund, an ERISA health insurance fund, after finding that the defendant/appellant, Dr. Stanislaw R. Burzynski, had defrauded the plaintiff and violated the terms of the health plan. We agree that the defendant may not trick the plaintiff into paying for an unlawful, unapproved drug.

It is for all these reasons above that I take no issue with calling Stanislaw Burzynski a quack and a fraud.

66 Responses to “The Burzynski Clinic”

  1. Carolyn August 30, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

    To the person who wrote this below, I say, you should do more research. It has been replicated over and over again in Japan by the group at Kurume University Medical Hospital. One name I have seen on the articles on Pubmed, etc. is Dr. H. Tsuda. So, if you ask me, it looks like there is hope afterall.

    “The other, probably more important reason is that in small studies, it hasn’t proven to be effective. Burzynski’s own research and findings haven’t been replicated.”

    • Rhys Morgan August 30, 2011 at 11:42 pm #

      Would you mind linking to these studies please, Carolyn?

    • mippyd August 31, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

      http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/antineoplastons/healthprofessional/Page5

      As you can see Tsuda administered antineoplaston’s along with other chemotherapies.

      • Phoenix Woman November 29, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

        “…along with other chemotherapies.”

        That’s the key part of that sentence. Those “other chemotherapies” (which also included radiation therapy) were conventional ones known to work. (That was also the case with the group’s 2002 study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11748457)

        Ever hear the American expression “that and fifty cents will get you a cup of coffee”? It was started back when cups of coffee could be typically had for fifty cents. We’re looking at the medical version of this.

        Interestingly, both studies were published in “Oncology Reports”, which is part of the Spandidos Publications empire. From what I can gather, Spandidos requires authors to pay to be published (http://www.spandidos-publications.com/pages/static.jsp?content=info_for_authors), which is a system that not only avoids that pesky little thing called “peer review”, but is a system that doesn’t exactly encourage a rigorous editorial stance on the publisher’s part (http://blogs.nature.com/news/2009/06/pay_to_publish.html). It shouldn’t surprise anyone, then, that Spandidos has published at least one questionably-done paper backing homeopathy: http://xtaldave.wordpress.com/category/science/peer-review/
        http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/03/a_homeopathic_bit_of_breast_cancer_scien.php

        Meanwhile, a Mayo study done in 1999 found that no tumor regression occurred as a result of Burzynski’s treatment: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10069350

        • james November 30, 2011 at 6:15 am #

          You would think after 30 years that there would be more research on this. Science is such a failure.

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15312271

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12768372

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8667595

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16484713

          http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/antineoplastons/patient/page2

          http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/results?spons=%22Burzynski+Research+Institute%22&spons_ex=Y

          People need to learn how to get past one on the search results, and then everybody would be that much smarter.

          • Becca December 1, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

            All of these trials use patients that are also receiving chemo and or radio therapy. Isn’t there something inherently flawed in any study that combines treatments? There is no way of knowing which is the effective component, obviously apart from already proven success rates in standard cancer treatments inferring that it’s probably not the antineoplastons. True, study number 16484713 (fourth link down) does say that 6 out of 18 patients weren’t receiving chemo or radio therapies, but what help is that when the results are combined?

            [After treatment with a course of antineoplastons]
            “Complete response was achieved in 11%, partial response in 11%, stable disease in 39%, and progressive disease in 39% of patients.”

            So, 33% of the group didn’t have chemo or radio therapy, presumably only taking the antineoplastons(other treatments aren’t mentioned), and in the end for 39% of the group, the cancer progressed.

            I have no medical training but from reading all the information provided from this blog and all the links provided, from both sides of the argument, I think I can guess which members of the group ended up in that unlucky 39%.

            Big respect to Rhys for doing your research and trying to get the message out there, I very much hope that people listen and you don’t get any more bother for it.

          • Ellen Messer February 7, 2012 at 11:29 am #

            I agree completely. Research has people locked in a web of confusion. The clinic study treating the whole body is common sense research, not these double mind and confusing messes with variables that can’t be controlled.

            I believe research should be totally free of AMA and FDA Control if only natural and safe modalities are used. Doctors are hamstrung by all of the drug company controls on this nation. They don’t want to loose the drug sales.

            Cancer is not the mystery they make it out to be and I know a couple people in my area who cured themselves of incurable cancers with baking soda. God actually is the cure and all we have to do is clean up the environment and nourish the cells. I am 61 and do not trust one DOCTOR of the AMA drug pushing kind. I consider them nothing less than paid drug pushers and murderously so.

            Health should be a free market and the free market will weed out the quacks. The AMA will be the first to go for sure.

            The FDA is RIGHT NOW trying to shut down vitamin stores. The vitamin World in our mall said they came in and made impossible demands and they don’t know what they can do. The most recent FDA head appointee use to be the lobbyist for Monsanto Drug company. Talk about conflict of interest. I am hoping the FDA will act so irrationally that the people will stop being DUMB and wake up to the deception in our health care system and the evils of the FDA. I am a Ron Paul supporter and if Ron was in office, these agencies will either be eliminated or their powers will be reigned in. As it is Congress does nothing to protect us from the FDA or other out of control agencies.

          • Becca March 21, 2012 at 11:42 pm #

            Ellen- You have entirely missed my point so I very much doubt that you agree with me.
            In THESE trials, the research method is flawed. That is not to say that all research or the notion of research is flawed. I, for one, would much rather that drugs that may be released to the public were thoroughly tested beforehand and were continually checked, updated and, if necessary, removed from the market if it turns out that they aren’t as beneficial as originally thought. The only way of doing this safely and without bias is by having an independent (to the drug manufacturers) agency to regulate both the research into and the release of medical drugs. Unregulated research would leave it far more open to abuse as, metaphorically speaking, there would be no teacher watching the classroom and we all know what hijinx kids get up to without adult supervision. I have heard of various issues in the USA to do with bias towards certain drug companies from hospitals because of offers of funding, but as far as I can see this is down to hospitals and doctors rather than any bias on the part of the FDA, an agency charged with holding the health and safety of the population paramount. They are the metaphorical teacher holding the kids in check and, if necessary, sending the naughtiest ones to the principal’s office.

            As to research quality, most of the time, if you look at who is conducting it you can tell if it is likely to be reliable. For example, an anti aging cream that claims to reduce 10 signs of aging and is preferred by 86% of women, is quite likely to be biased and probably has not conducted double blind tests, in controlled conditions on a sufficient number of participants to be classed as a clinical trial. I am proud to belong to a country that still has a National Health Service; an institution that has no vested interest in any drug, treatment or therapy and can only have the patients’ best interests at heart as it is a free service and so, in a purely pragmatic sense, needs to keep in budget by curing people as quickly and efficiently as possible. The only way to do this is to rigorously test every drug/treatment and then to keep running clinical trials to make sure it works. Therefore research conducted by, or on behalf of, the NHS is reliable, necessary and indispensible.

            You say that “I know a couple people in my area who cured themselves of incurable cancers with baking soda”.
            I’m sorry to be so blunt but no you don’t because no they didn’t. Correlation does not equal causation. When I had a cold I drank more cups of tea than normal and I got better. Did the tea cure my cold? No, it didn’t. The two facts occurred at the same time but it does not mean that they are related. The human body is a strange and amazing thing, and still not entirely understood. There have been plenty of cases of people with cancer making sudden recoveries- my grandmother had breast cancer, a visible lump, for 10 years. Operating wasn’t an option due to other health issues and the tumour was controlled with medication. One day she went for a checkup and the tumour had disappeared, much to the confusion of every health professional involved in the case. But still, it is not unheard of so no one put her recovery down to her fondness for rich tea biscuits or the occasional tot of whisky in her evening cup of tea. Even my nana herself did not put this down to her faith (as a thought exercise, why would God have given her a tumour, which didn’t actually affect her life very much, only to take it away after a decade?). As trite as it sounds, these things happen! It is true in the reverse as well. Take, for example, a disease such as vitalago- for unknown reasons the skin loses pigment. Some theories suggest that the body itself attacks the colour pigments. Why would this possibly happen? A lot of research has been done into the subject but still a definite answer remains unclear even though thousands of people suffer from the condition and the studies have been numerous.
            People can and do recover from illnesses for unclear reasons; this is true for believers and non-believers alike so I don’t see how this can be put down to any divine interference. In fact, suggesting that God is the cause of recovery from cancer, or any other disease, suggests that God is also the direct cause of slow and painful deaths from the same diseases in other people, again believers and non-believers alike.

    • Guy Chapman November 29, 2011 at 7:34 am #

      Of *course* antineoplastins work. The medical world hates the very idea of curing cancer, so works as hard as it can to ensure that patients suffer as much as possible rather than adopting new treatments which have not been published in pee-reviewed literature.

      It’s obviously the doctors, in the pay of their Big Pharma paymasters, who are engaging in a conspiracy against Burzynski.

      The only thing Burzynski has done wrong was firing the third shot from the grassy knoll, and aliens told him to do that so he could go on their spaceship and meet Elvis.

      • Wayne Robinson November 29, 2011 at 10:00 am #

        Good one Guy,

        You forgot to mention that the Chemtrails from passenger jets are the cause of 99.9% of all cancers though.

        I liked the reference to pee-reviewed journals. Does this only apply to urological malignancies?

    • Ross November 29, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

      Read the trials, all the positive results seem to be with the patients continuing chemo and other approved treatments, I might have missed it , but the straight Antineoplaston treatments seem to be far from positive.

      Could a person with a medical background check me on this?

      Thanks

      • Phoenix Woman November 29, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

        Ross: You are correct — the only non-Burzynski-controlled studies showing any good effect are those where the treatment was used in conjunction with conventional chemotherapy and radiation therapy — stuff known and proven to work, in other words.

        Furthermore, the Japanese studies were published in a pay-to-post journal, which has traditionally been seen as a favored way for quacks to avoid actual peer review. The same publishing house, Spandidos (publisher of Oncology Reports) that published the Japanese studies of 1998 and 2002, also published a homeopathy paper that was rightly eviscerated: http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/03/a_homeopathic_bit_of_breast_cancer_scien.php

        • james November 30, 2011 at 6:23 am #

          I bet you think Mao and Pol Pot were pretty cool too…

          • Rhys Morgan November 30, 2011 at 9:11 am #

            That was uncalled for.

          • Becca December 1, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

            Isn’t there a rule that anyone who brings dictators into the conversation (usually Hitler so a little kudos for branching out) is immediately dismissed from the argument?

        • Ellen Messer February 7, 2012 at 11:34 am #

          People don’t trust the AMA for good reason. You guys spend all your time attacking natural cures when you don’t even know why people get cancer, nor do you have cure. If you don’t have a cure, SHUT UP! Chemo is NOT a cure it is MUSTARD GAS, a weapon of mass destruction, outlawed in WWI because it is so inhumane. Your chemo and radiation treatments are inhumane, insane and insanely expensive. We need a free market in health care and you will see who chooses weapons of mass destruction. You have to kill competition and LIE to people that there is no other way to push your toxic potions.

          • Jon W February 7, 2012 at 11:46 am #

            What a pile of shit.

          • Simon Powell February 7, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

            Radio and chemo has saved the life of two of my friends and another two friends children, don’t be so stupid and get a clue. Peoples lives are at stake here and you go posting idiotic statements like that, how dare you.

          • Guy Chapman February 7, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

            The term for alternative medicine that can be proven to work is: medicine. Natural alternatives-to-medicine are either ineffective or incorporated into science-based medicine – the best known example may be aspirin but there are tens of thousands of other drugs that are versions of naturally occurring substances. And they don’t become drugs until they have been purified, the side effects tested and so on. Herbalists tend to be rather quiet about the cases of poisoning caused by impure preparations…

            You “natural health” types owe your existence to modern medicine.These days we are so healthy that disease is not at the forefront of public consciousness; vaccination has almost eliminated diseases such as polio and cholera that were massive killers only a generation or two back.

            Modern medicine has roughly doubled the human lifespan. That’s a provable fact. Modern medicine has allowed us to live long enough to begin to get cancers in meaningful numbers. This is not a failure of modern medicine, it’s a huge success.

          • Becca March 22, 2012 at 12:29 am #

            Ellen- You say, “If you don’t have a cure, SHUT UP!”
            This is a discussion forum…well actually it’s an invasion of Rhys’ blog space but that’s by the by; it has become a forum for discussion and that is what we are doing, some more sensibly than others, but all on equal footing. If you genuinely expect someone on here to come up with a cure for cancer then you have very high (and unrealistic) hopes. If you actually think about and believe in what you are saying then you should, going by your own statement, “shut up”. But where’s the fun in that?

            “You guys spend all your time attacking natural cures when you don’t even know why people get cancer”
            You don’t need to know the cause of cancer to be able to look at the evidence and see that homeopathy, for example, has no proven positve results beyond the placebo effect which works on a small number of people, an effect which can just as easily be induced with a sugar pill. Interestingly, it has been proven that three sugar pills a day are more effective than one and a salt water injection is even more effective than sugar pills. The power of the mind eh?
            Chemotherapy as a treatment for cancer was an eventual result of studying the effects of mustard gas, which by the way is a chemical weapon and NOT a “weapon of mass destruction”. On post war studies, it was discovered that one of the effects of the gas was the inhibition of division in certain cells so after a lot of research, testing and a lot, a lot, a lot of refinement the chemical components were formed into a treatment for the uncontrolled cell division that is cancer. Your statement suggests that cancer patients are being thrown in the trenches and bombarded with chemical weapons when this is a million miles from the facts.

            For your information we spend most of our time sleeping, working, eating and other such activities, then a relatively small amount of our time is spent in researching information from reputable sources and constructing coherent, informative and fact based arguments for various topics, both for and against. For the most part “we” (not sure who “we” is, but you get the gist) do not “attack” anything. We weigh up the facts and present them along with a conclusion drawn from those facts. In this case, Rhys has done considerable research into the Burzynski clinic and come to the logical and unbiased conclusion that it’s a load of hooey. It is difficult to remain unemotional when lives, literally, hang in the balance but still there is nothing of an “attack” in his writing.
            However, someone who doesn’t present any facts, only vague suggestions, unsubstantiated claims and emotional opinions; someone who twice accuses their opponent of “satanic” influences; or someone who actually tells other debaters to “shut up” could be described as an attacker.

      • james November 30, 2011 at 6:22 am #

        You’d basically have to watch the movie and then judge for yourself whether or not everyone in the movie, from the people working at the NCI, through to Burzynskis colleagues are medical professionals.

        It could be a conspiracy though. Money does that to people.

  2. Julian Glantz October 21, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    Rhys, your comments are no doubt heartfelt and appear justified. However, consider this…

    The many court cases, all the publicity about Burzynski, and much of the evidence, leads this impartial observer to question what is REALLY at stake here. I have no axe to grind. But some results at Burzynski’s clinic, in particular with aggressive brain tumours in minors, are impressive. It is why so many of his supporters are the parents of children (some now adults) who were given no hope by their ‘conventional’ oncologists.

    It is my considered view that the American FDA is not neutral in this matter; moreover there is strong evidence to suggest the FDA is, in its current form, essentially a tool of big Pharma. If you are sceptical of this, do some research about its funding structure (here’s one link, there are many more: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/02/15/60II/main674293.shtml).

    Cancer is, frankly, big business. There are billions at stake and the real issue, as unpalatable as it sounds, is whether big Pharma can afford for a cure for cancer to be found.

    • Ash Pryce November 28, 2011 at 10:50 am #

      The main problem with your idea that big Pharma doesn’t want a cure for cancer is that curing cancer does not mean people won’t get cancer. People will still get cancer, but with a cure there is potentially even more money to be made- surely a treatment that completely gets rid of cancer is better and more financially lucrative than one that simple extends life a couple of years. Big Pharma could charge twice what it does for chemo.

      I’ve never understood this idea that “Big Pharma” wouldn’t touch a treatment that works because they’ll lose money. The same argument is used in relation to Homeopathy- it’s so cheap that’s why Big Pharma won’t touch it.

      no, that’s exactly why Big Pharma WOULD touch it. If it worked. It costs almost zero to produce and yet it is sold for £5 a bottle, more than many over the counter treatments that already make Big Pharma money. It’s more expensive than lemsip, the market leader in cold and flu treatment. Saying Big Pharma wouldn’t want to find a cure is ridiculous. There is much more money in being able to cure cancer than simply treat it- again, they could charge massive amounts for a cure and many would pay it. And we ignore the amount of money the Burzynski clinic is taking from this- up to £200,000 per PERSON. Over 34 years. For just this one clinic. If that isn’t “Big Pharma” I don’t know what is.

      There are many problems with large pharmacutical companies and no skeptic would deny that. However, there is far more money in a cure for cancer, imagine being the company that sold it to the public! If Antineoplastons worked Big Pharma would be all over it.

      We have wiped out many diseases and illnesses, and yet Big Pharma aren’t trying to make sure we still get TB, or Polio. Vaccines for those diseases ahve been around so long the only cost is going to be manufacturing, so therefore it would be in Big Pharma’s interests if these diseases still existed so they could make more on treatment than immunising- by your logic.

      Think about it for just a minute. What would bring you better and bigger acclaim, and with it money? Being able to stave off an illness or being able to cure it? What would you as an individual rather do- spend money on a couple of months of chemo or 10 x that money on a cure? And guess what! Cancers can come back! So Big Pharma can sell you the cure again!

      There is no conspiracy to muscle out the little guy, and in many cases these Alt Med cures are just as expensive and have so much money vested in them as people claim Big Pharma has.

    • Phoenix Woman November 29, 2011 at 2:10 pm #

      “Some results” are impressive?

      Which ones? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary (and very well documented) proof. So far, he’s had nothing that meets even the standard of ordinary proof, despite over three decades of operating in the most woo-friendly and forgiving state in the US.

      Here is the man you are so eager to defend:

      1. He forces his victims to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars EACH for what he calls “clinical trials”. Ethical researchers, on the other hand, don’t charge patients for participating in actual clinical trials — in fact, they often pay patients for their time and trouble.

      2. His “clinical trials” have been conducted for over thirty years without his even attempting to publish a single paper documenting any of his findings for public review. He started operations in 1976; if he was legit, his first paper should have appeared round about 1980 — thirty-one years ago.

      3. He has been convicted of fraud: ftp://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/pub/93/93-02071.CV0.wpd.pdf

      Is this the guy you want to embrace as a hero? Really?

    • Caperton Gillett November 30, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

      If this treatment actually was effective, why wouldn’t “Big Pharma” jump right on it any make a bazillion dollars off of it? Imagine how much they could charge per treatment, dangling a proven cure over the heads of desperate cancer patients. And yet…

      It reminds me of that Tim Minchin quote: “By definition, ‘alternative medicine’ has either not been proved to work, or been proved not to work. Do you know what they call ‘alternative medicine’ that’s been proved to work? … ‘Medicine.’”

  3. Josephine Jones October 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

    Rhys – I think your comments are both heartfelt *and* justified. It’s awful that people are given false hope because of people like Burzynski. If people are even turned against conventional medicine because of people like him, it can of course be tragic. This, to my mind, is quackery at its worst and most dangerous.

    I think a very important point needs to be made here – that drug companies actually fund a large amount of cancer research, as Cancer Research UK explain here: http://cancerhelp.cancerresearchuk.org/trials/more/paying-for-trials#drug

    Speaking of Cancer Research UK, they would perhaps be a suitable recipient if anyone is moved to make a monetary donation – but without lining the pockets of opportunist quacks.

    http://supportus.cancerresearchuk.org/

  4. Judith November 28, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

    Did you know that chemo and radiation is also not approved for the treatment of pediatric cancers? after over 50 years it is still in clinical trial! Why? because the side effects are so detrimental to the child that it is not worth it’s survival, there is no quality of life! I rather go for a treatment that is not invasive and has a better potential of a cure with no ill side effects first!

    • Lara Beaton November 28, 2011 at 9:52 pm #

      “I rather go for a treatment that is not invasive and has a better potential of a cure with no ill side effects first!”

      The main issue is the second part of your statement – “has a better potential for a cure”. This treatment has no data supporting that it has *any* potential for a cure. From the most cursory of internet searches (i.e. wikipedia) –

      “The American Cancer Society has found no evidence that antineoplastons have any beneficial effects in cancer, and it has recommended that people do not spend money on antineoplaston treatments”.

      “independent scientists have been unable to reproduce the positive results reported in Burzynski’s studies”

      “A 2004 medical review described this treatment as a “disproven therapy””

      We know chemo works, it’s just that the side effects of it are damaging that makes them dangerous to use in children. It’s not the efficacy of the treatment that’s in question there. Burzynski is charging hundreds of thousands of dollars that insurance companies will not reimburse on an unproven treatment.

    • Stephanie November 28, 2011 at 11:42 pm #

      I’m sorry, but your first statement is untrue. After I read it, the first thing I did was go to the FDA website and search for “pediatric leukemia approval” and one of the first items that came up was a statement about an approval for a drug therapy called Gleevec, in 2006. There were more as well. Although it is true that some chemotherapies are not yet approved for children, I don’t think it’s helpful to claim than none are, when it isn’t true. You cannot make a blanket statement such as this without some supporting information. Especially, since every cancer is different and treatment of those cancers is with a multitude of different drugs, depending on the type. “Chemo” refers to many, many different drugs and compounds. It’s not just one “thing.”

    • Wzrd1 November 28, 2011 at 11:54 pm #

      First, there ARE FDA approved chemotherapy agents for pediatric patients, ten seconds on Google can display that fact.
      Radiation has also long been approved and used on pediatric cancer patients. That took five seconds on Google to find references.
      As for that clinic, it’s quackery of criminal proportions.
      So, you’d prefer snake oil to a REAL treatment that has a chance of working?
      Do you get bled when you get the flu? That’s what George Washington did, he died of exsanguination.
      Frankly, I suspect strongly that you are associated with that quackery clinic, hence any opinion that you’re paid to present here is utterly worthless.

    • Carolyn November 29, 2011 at 7:52 am #

      Judith, you have no frigging idea what you are talking about. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are for one thing not a single entity. Many forms of chemotherapy are in fact approved for treatment of paediatric cancers as is radiotherapy. Many drugs an protocols will still be in trials and because of numbers, primarily, and because it is good scientific practice, most children are treated as part of trials. However, since the introduction of these therapies, many paediatric cancers, notably the most common leukaemias, now have more than 90% cure rate.
      There are no other therapies which come anywhere close to this. At least the side effects are defined, unlike this quackery. In most cases, the “side effect” of ignoring scientific therapies when you have a malignancy is death from the disease. We would all like side-effect free cancer treatment, but until then, I would appreciate some scientific basis in these things. I have seen one child die while under a naturopath’s care. At least she would have had some chance at life with chemotherapy. But the oncologists gave the family the best information available about her chances of cure, which did not give them false hope. They made their choice (in my opinion between a 10-20% chance and none).

    • Rob November 29, 2011 at 11:10 pm #

      It’s simply untrue that chemotherapy is not approved for pediatric use. A simple search of either the NHS or cancer.gov sites indicates it is widely approved. My son was on a clinical trial that resulted in reducing the amount of chemotherapy given to acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients. That study was based on the already existing standard CCG protocol for treating pediatric ALL with chemotherapy.

    • Caperton Gillett November 30, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

      This is… basically entirely inaccurate. The reason many (but certainly not all) cancer treatments aren’t yet approved for pediatric patients is that testing for pediatric patients takes longer and is more complicated. Dosage is harder to determine in a patient who is smaller than the average adult and who may metabolize drugs differently. And clinical trials require patients willing to consent to experimental treatments–while adults are often willing to take that chance for themselves, parents are frequently more reluctant to make that decision for their children. Finding trial subjects generally takes longer.

      And frequently, chemotherapy can improve a patient’s quality of life. When a kid’s quality of life is already diminished by cancer symptoms, a treatment that produces some side effects but also relieves those symptoms is a net win. And researchers are constantly developing new drugs that have fewer side effects and are easier and less time-consuming to administer. To say that it’s better to let a kid die than put him through the discomfort of cancer treatment is just ridiculous.

    • Simon Powell December 2, 2011 at 10:29 am #

      Judith,
      I have a friend who’s 3yr old son has a brain tumor that has caused him to go blind, the only reason he is still alive today is through chemo and radio therapy. Luckily his parents are intelligent people who chose the proven scientific method and not some make belive quack selling an unproven product. Personally I think the whole thing is a bit sick and charging such rediculous amounts to desperate parents who will do anything to save their children is really wrong.
      I also have two adult friends that have suffered brain tumors both of which have been helped by modern conventional medicine.

    • Bob S. December 12, 2011 at 1:38 am #

      All things being equal, I’d rather not give children cancer to begin with. But we don’t always get to choose these things, and you are quite misinformed if you genuinely believe that chemotherapy is not used often (& successfully) to treat cancer in pediatric patients.

  5. fwentish November 29, 2011 at 8:31 pm #

    nice article, Rhys. and never let anyone intimidate you. especially quacks.

  6. Rob November 29, 2011 at 11:10 pm #

    Bravo for an interesting and informative article. Keep up the good work.

  7. james November 30, 2011 at 6:05 am #

    This is the material they are suing you for?

    Dude, I bet if you changed the word fraud, to failure everything would be okay.

    He’s a successful medical practitioner that’s gone through the supreme court and is still practicing. That’s not fraud.

    You could call him a failure though. I bet that would fly

    • Justin Zimmer November 30, 2011 at 6:16 pm #

      Respectively, charging up to 200k pounds for a clinical trial with no solid evidence, and failing to release results is the very definition of fraud in my book. Usually, the big bad pharmaceutical companies that quacks like this like to base their conspiracy theories on will actually PAY YOU for clinical trials.

      Though, maybe you’re right, replace fraud with FAIL! and you cover both angles.

  8. Mike November 30, 2011 at 4:01 pm #

    Rhys, my nephew went to this clinic several months ago. Before he went, his father asked me to look up information on Burzynski, which I did. I gave him all the information: lack of clinical trials, pending lawsuits, lack of peer replication of results, everything. My nephew (with his father’s support) went anyway. One month later, the good doctor told him he could not help him, after he had already helped himself to over $20,000 of their money. For my efforts, my brother-in-law refused to speak to me or my wife or even return our emails for several months. Just three days ago, an oncologist in Memphis, Tennessee, told my nephew he would probably not live to see Christmas. He has tried every quack remedy in the book, from Susanne Somers’ holistic diatribe to fruit juices to a Mexican “cancer clinic.” For all that, he will soon be gone.

    Thank you for having the courage and intelligence to put the word out on hucksters like Burzynski. Standing up to lawyers can be daunting, but you give the world an example to follow: fighting ignorance with intelligence. Burzynski is proof that ignorance kills. You are proof that enlightened minds will continue to fight to keep that from happening. Way to go, young man.

    • scottie tofu January 12, 2012 at 7:58 pm #

      radiation and chemo work? I hope you look into that as much as you have with Burzynski

    • Ellen Messer February 7, 2012 at 11:18 am #

      http://www.cancerisafungus.com P.S. Vaccines cause brain tumors and most all child hood diseases. Incredulous? How can putting mercury, aluminum and other toxic potions in vaccines not cause health issues? Common sense, poisons are not safe.

      • Simon Powell February 7, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

        Don’t be an idiot, you’ve been listening to Jenny McCarthy for too long and she should be jailed for the damage she’s done. Measles on its way back eh, really caring and clever.

      • Becca March 21, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

        Warfarin used to be used as a rat poison, it is now used as an essential anti coagulant for the treatment of heart disease.

        A group of medicines called digitalin, used in cases of heart failure, is extracted from foxgloves- a very poisonous plant.

        Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine which, as most people know, is dangerous for dogs, but if you had the capacity to eat enough of it, it can be very harmful to humans as well.

        Do you see what I’m getting at? Throw away statements like those you are making just don’t work. Ingesting a very small amount of a particular chemical compound is very different to, say, cracking open a thermometer and drinking the mercury inside. You also have to take into account the positive effects of a drug outweighing the negative. If you have a headache or a pulled muscle do you take painkillers? Look on the leaflet inside any pack of paracetamol, aspirin or ibuprofen and read the list of possible side effects. If you saw only that list of nausea, vomiting, headaches, rashes, diarrhea, palpitations and dizziness, wouldn’t you think you were taking some kind of poison?

        To explain one of your own vague claims there, mercury in the form of thimerosal (used as a preservative in vaccines) has been used since the 1930′s and yet rates of infant mortalities have certainly dropped since that era, making your general “health issues” problem unlikely. For details on the hyped up claim that this chemical caused autism, see this article-

        http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/mercury-in-vaccines-and-autism-a-failed-hypothesis/

        As a little taster and to highlight the point here, a quote from said article-
        “…autism prevalence in Denmark increased from 1991 to 1996 despite the removal of thimerosal from vaccines”

        As for aluminium, the Alzheimer’s Scotland website (http://www.alzscot.org/pages/info/aluminium.htm#Sources) states that “An average person has a daily intake of 7mg of aluminium” which suggests that the kind of levels found in any vaccine would be so minimal that they couldn’t cause any kind of health problems. Especially since aluminium is very difficult for the body to absorb.

        Your statement that “Vaccines cause brain tumors” is a bold one to say the least. If that were true then surely most people in most of the world should have had brain tumours? I am honestly baffled as to where you are getting this information from and how you can make this kind of statement without questioning the logic, or lack thereof. “Incredulous?” Of course I am. I am incredulous of various things until I go and conduct some research, weigh up the arguments and draw my own logical conclusion from the available facts. As, I believe, should everyone. Even the most cursory of internet searches can provide you with enough information, from reputable sources, to quash most extreme sounding claims, such as the ones you put forward.

        • Guy Chapman March 21, 2012 at 11:29 pm #

          I suspect I know exactly where the (dis)information comes from: whale.to, the reality exclusion zone that is home of every form of bullshit known to humanity.

          Do not visit that site with your angry head on.

          • Becca March 22, 2012 at 12:43 am #

            Guy- I am gobsmacked!! Read the first couple sentences of the “cancer conspiracy” and almost vomited on my laptop. Not a site to be viewed with an angry head or even my current calm and ‘content having done some interesting research’ head. In fact, I’d rather remove my head than look at that site again.
            Why don’t people notice that conspiracy theories take far more effort, circuitous reasoning and force of belief than the simple fact-driven truth?! You’ve almost got to admire anyone that headstrong. Almost. But not quite.

  9. Jen November 30, 2011 at 10:54 pm #

    Remember the “hope for Laura fund”? Well, her tumor has now shrunk by a third and she’s only on antineoplastons Obviously none of you idiots do your research properly. Open your eyes and stop ruining it for those of us who are on the treatment which clearly WORKS. You people could ultimately cause the deaths of many that didn’t have to die by contributing to all of the false statements you are making. Could you live with yourself knowing that?

    • Mike December 1, 2011 at 12:01 am #

      I’m delighted that she’s improving. But while you say she is “only on antineoplaston,” that isn’t true. She did chemotherapy. Her case does nothing to promote the use of antineoplastons. The web site set up to solicit donations for her states clearly that “Laura received 6 weeks of Radiotherapy and some Chemotherapy at the Royal Marsden Hospital to slow down the cancer growth…” I have no doubt radiotherapy and chemotherapy work, and I’m glad they worked for her, but claiming her improvement is due to the antineoplaston treatments is tantamout to giving a heart attack patient fruit juice before open heart surgery and then claiming the juice made the difference. Your charge that those of us who oppose Burzynski’s unproven methods could “cause the deaths of many that didn’t have to die” is equally applied to you. Can you live with yourself knowing that you are helping to promote a treatment that has no scientific credibility and a clinic that is draining money from desperate families who are easy victims for someone like Burzynski? Not only does his clinic prey on those who are easily convinced to grasp at his unproven straws in the hope of saving their dying loved ones, it drains their bank accounts of the money that could be used for legitimate treatments in medically sound facilities. Burzynski is a charlatan and the worst kind of flim-flam artist, and he is killing people and stealing money and hope from their families. I don’t know how he sleeps at night, but I’m sure he’s sleeping on the satin sheets he bought with bucks he drained from sad and desperate people.

      • Mike January 12, 2012 at 12:10 am #

        I just came back from Houston and several months at the clinic. June through October. I went to MD Anderson after I found out what a crook he was cause they refused to treat me any longer unless I cancelled the $60,000 dispute with my credit card that they charged me unauthorized, and unaware I might add.

        Yes my insurance covered treatment for an not in network provider for the chemo and such but not one of the drugs so it was the drugs that was charged to my credit card only. That is their scam they run. They pretented to not receive insurance money but the did receive it. I have the proof. They are con artists. Theu pull in over 3 million a month ever since the movie came out. They are supposedly broke and working in the red all the time. His big thing now is anti aging. He will never go on to phase III trials. Investors wont touch him after seeing the books. Most of you probably dont know that he bought himself and his wife the title of count and countess. He is is love with “Celebrity” even though with all the pictures of famous people on the clinics w alls he has only treated one and they sued him for over billing. He knowingly accepted patients he could not help. He billed patients long after they were dead and burried. He kept people on the antineoplastons even thought their disease was progressing. Nice guy huh? The people he tells you are doctors dont even have a license. In this huge 4 story clinic there maybe 3-4 real Doctors along with him and his son.

        MD told me that one of the drugs he had given me tore up so much tissue in my body that they could not be sure what I had or how to treat me. They immediately took me off everything Burzynski had been giving me. They thinkzero of him and his treatment. Of course that doesnt mean anything. I am not surprised by that. I got to know someone who worked at Burzynski’s a long time and they confided many things to me about the clinic and patients as well as the Burzynski’s. None of it inspiring. When I asked them if it were them would they let him treat them you know the answer. Not in a million years. Not even for a toenail fungus.

        He put me on the antineoplastons immediately or so they told me. Then some nasty ass drugs Afinator at $30,000 for 60 pills. Then chemo : Avastin (the one that tore up all my tissue) and carboplaxil I think its spelled which is pretty standard. Everyone was on chemo that I saw there. They didnt even have a Dr in the infustion room. Two people almost died cause of no Dr there one week. Several nurses complained and Burzunski told them if they didnt like it to leave and they did. The turnover there was ridiculous.

        Low dose chemo – 3 weeks on and one week off . Andersom said that was not good. Maybe just a way to milk more money I think.

        I still cant say 100% that some of what he does will not work but then again I have first hand knowledge that a lot of what he is doing is just totally wrong. Hell I never even got an examination in the whole time I was there. I saw a real Dr for a total of about 18 minutes. I had blood and urine tested all the time. Heh maybe he was using it for his treatment to save money on synthesizing it.

        He is a crook in my opinion.I make no bones about that. Myopion is that he is a little cheap star struck jerk from poland with a persecution complex. Litlle – Napeleon Complex Cheap= You should see the clinc and equipment they use. Pics plastered on all walls of celebrities he never treated (just makes it look like he didi) jerk from Poland = He bought himself and wife a polish title of Count and Countess and Persecution Complex= big pharma and government is out to get me, look how hard I have had to struggle to get my cure to the people (at a price of course.)

        I went there because I didnt want to go the drug/chemo route t all. I could have just as well stayed here at home cause that is where I Anderson told me to go cause the chemo was standard and could be done anywhere. Did he hurt or help me. I will never know. I do know one thing and that is that my life is in God’s hand alone.

        Got any questions I can answer that I didnt address here . Feel free to email me anytime and I will tell you my experience or opinion cause that is the most I can do.

      • Ellen Messer February 7, 2012 at 11:14 am #

        Your deception is DEEP! You drug pushers have an ability to doubt God Himself. You don’t go to the clinic, yet you think you know something about Dr. Burzynski. Who do you work for, drug companies? I am praying daily that drug companies will go out of business as they are exposed for the MURDER they do daily from vaccines to toxic potions of nonsense. You cannot say anything truthful as you refuse truth. Spend a week at Burzyski’s clinic. Truthfully I KNOW MD Anderson is the biggest quack racket and murderous as well. Using weapons of mass destruction (mustard gas), radiation and biological warfare (vaccines) as a form of healing is Satanic at best. Besides you have to admit science is limited to the satanic lie of evolution. A mind separated from God is in darkness and look how stupid the medicine is. It is dangerous! Dr. Burzynski is not dangerous and people get well!

        • Paul Morgan February 7, 2012 at 11:47 am #

          Nothing can be as deep as the delusions you currently display in this post. Do you actually have a scrap of evidence – real, verifiable, published data – to lend any credence whatsoever to any of your ridiculous claims. Please be aware that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

        • Vince February 7, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

          You are a dimwit on all accounts.

        • Guy Chapman February 7, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

          I think you’ll find that a majority of people here not only doubts “God Himself” but are active atheists. Your failure to realise this is symptomatic of the depth of your ignorance on this debate generally.

        • Fleur March 14, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

          Ellen, where is your proof?

        • Becca March 21, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

          Ellen- “science is limited to the satanic lie of evolution”
          Really? I mean, really? I’m not saying anything against your belief in God, anyone can believe in anything they like, but evolution is a scientific fact, there’s no two ways about it. The fossils prove it, the carbon dating proves it, the DNA links across species prove it and the consensus view of every credible scientist in the world proves it. It would seem that it would take far more effort of strained logic to come to the conclusion that every evolutionary theorist is either possessed by or in league with Satan than to look at the simple facts and see that evolution happened and is indeed still happening.

          Science is, by its very nature, NOT limited. It is a growing, living, expanding thing that relies on consensus view to reach a logical conclusion. A new idea is put forward, a multitude of people study it, try and find any possible faults in it; if faults are found, the idea is taken back to the drawing board and re-evaluated. If. after relentless study, the idea is seen to be logical and consistent with all available facts then it is seen to be true. That is the way science works; it is not reliant on faith or guesswork and it HAS to hold up to scrutiny in order to be held as truth. Charles Darwin himself, when writing On the Origin of Species, tried to find fault with his own discoveries because, as a Christian, the evidence before him could conflict with his faith and the Christian view of the universe. However, once the facts were seen to be irrefutable, there was no way around it, even for a man of faith.

          Faith and science are not mutually exclusive, although it is probably a difficult balance to hold. Who knows, maybe some higher being instigated the process of evolution, but no matter how it came about, it did. Please do some research, into scientific areas and also into syntax and grammatical structure; that way you can be aware of the facts and no matter what you end up choosing to believe, you will be able to put forward a coherent argument as well.

    • Fleur March 14, 2012 at 12:11 pm #

      An anecdote does not constitute evidence. Tumours can go into remission ALL BY THEMSELVES.

  10. Becca December 2, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    I didn’t realise there was a movie but I looked it up- http://www.burzynskimovie.com/

    There are several details in the description, namely the bits about the publication of data in “peer-reviewed medical literature” and the suggestion that “Burzynski’s ability to successfully treat incurable cancer with such consistency has baffled the industry”, that conflict somewhat with everything else I have read on the subject (not just Rhys’ stuff by the way).
    The small print stating that “This documentary film is not directly affiliated with Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski MD, PhD, The Burzynski Clinic, or the Burzynski Research Institute, Inc.” also worries me. Not only because I am very dubious of the truth of this statement, but because if it is true then the creator will have had full poetic license with both the overall story and, more importantly, the facts. It is very easy to gloss over less favourable parts and exaggerate the positve side when you are calling something a documentary but don’t have the worrying responsibility of legal culpability. What I mean is that if Burzynski himself made or funded the making of the film then any factual instability would fall directly on him and I suppose he could lose his medical license or some other serious consequence if action was taken against him. If an independent film maker alters the details, he can say it was for the flow of the story, since a lot of person-based documentaries have an angle there is legitimacy to the twisting of the truth. Now I’ve written that, I’m even more worried that the disclaimer is true and Burzynski really isn’t connected to the film! People who believe in alien abductions can make all the biased, angled and cautionary films they like but making a film about an unproven cancer treatment, advertising it as a heroic and indisputable cure is morally repugnant to me. Believe what you like, that’s fine, but sadly a lot of people aren’t overly smart and will believe what any “documentary” tells them, a harmless fact when the film is about a rock band or a writer, subjects that allow for a touch of bias, but misrepresenting scientific data (and THAT’S just in the film blurb) in something called a documentary is dangerous and wrong.

    Another problem with that ‘not connected to the doctor’ disclaimer- there is a link to make donations to setting up Phase III trials (they say it costs $300million?!) and another direct link to the Burzynski clinic website at the bottom of the page. That’s dedication to a cause you’re not affiliated with..
    I just had a quick look at The Opposition section on the movie website. They actually compare scientists’ incredulity at the Burzynski method to the reaction to an 1840′s doctor deciding to wash his hands before an operation! Everyone thought he was crazy for changing standard practice but look how it turned out…it is not the same, not the same at all.
    I’m getting too annoyed now so I’ll stop invading your blog comment space…for now.

  11. Paul Morgan February 7, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    Ellen Messer,
    The deluded bullshit contained in your post makes life so entertaining and so easy for the skeptics. Keep up the good work! The more people posting comments like this, the more you expose the fallacies and the easier it gets to convince anyone with half a brain that you are just talking nonsense. Have you considered a career in stand-up comedy?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    [...] posting his original criticism (http://rhysmorgan.co/2011/08/the-burzynski-clinic/) Rhys found himself under attack from this morally degenerate individual, claiming legal action for [...]

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    [...] Como si hacer daño al engañar a los pacientes no fuese suficiente, un “doctor” llamado Stanislaw Burzynski ha amenazado con demandar legalmente a un bloguero de 17 años por hacer crítica escéptica. La entrada de un chico, llamado Rhys, del Reino Unido, la pueden leer aquí. [...]

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