Burzynski: A media scandal

By Josephine Jones

An increasingly unwieldy list of well known serious legal and ethical issues has done nothing to stop the British media reporting on Dr Stanislaw Burzynski in an irresponsibly biased way. Such articles usually appear in the local press, though have also featured on ITV Daybreak, in the Daily Mirror and The Observer. They are always emotive, always full of hope and are presented from the point of view of families wishing to raise funds for ‘life saving‘ or ‘miracle‘ treatment. In doing so  – though of course they don’t see it this way, the media are effectively promoting the Burzynski Clinic.

When concerns are pointed out, heads are stuck deeper into the sand. Editors insist they are simply supporting a desperate family at a difficult time. They may even convince themselves that in mentioning that the treatment is ‘experimental’ or unproven, they are adequately reporting criticism of the clinic.

Critics are often accused of being heartless and sanctimonious. I don’t just refer to unnamed Twitter users, but also to people like the deputy editor and readers’ editor of The Observer, whose exaggerated reporting on critical bloggers left me feeling angry and personally insulted.

The latest newspaper to adopt this cowardly approach is the Reading Post, who have run a series of articles in support of a local family’s fundraising campaign. When I suggested to them that this kind of reporting is irresponsible, biased and misleads readers, I was told:

@_JosephineJones Our readers, and the family, are well aware of the surrounding issues. Faced with awful situation what else can you do?

The family may well be aware of the surrounding issues. I hope they are and that they have come to a properly informed decision. However, the vast majority of Reading Post readers will be totally unaware of the depth of the problem – or indeed the sheer number of problems. I can say this confidently as I know full well that the Reading Post have not reported them. They told me:

@_JosephineJones We have done more than one story. See:http://bit.ly/Jd0JSn especially comments from dad, below.

I assume that was the most balanced article they could find. It is entitled “Amelia’s appeal for a miracle cure”. It describes the treatment as ‘experimental’ and states that antineoplaston therapy aims to “target the cancer without destroying normal cells”. I believe this misleadingly implies that the treatment is new and pioneering and that side-effects are minimal or non-existent. If I didn’t already know such a complaint would be a complete waste of time, I may even consider writing to the PCC. Although later comments (including one from Amelia’s father) address at least some of my concerns, I think it unlikely that the vast majority of the Reading Post’s readership will have seen them.

In challenging the Reading Post on Twitter, I was – predictably – shouted down immediately by @BurzynskiSaves, an anonymous and prolific tweeter and keen follower of the #Burzynski hashtag. Although this person claims not to be employed by the clinic, s/he discusses conversations with current patients:

@_JosephineJones I will share this w you 4 what its worth. I’ve been on the phone w pts who’ve sobbed over ur actions. U know not what u do

@_JosephineJones not according to the cancer patients & their families. I swear if u heard their voices over this u would delete everything.

In fact I have sobbed over my actions myself. Patients and their families have my full sympathy and I’m in no position to criticise their decision to go to the clinic. To be accused of attacking patients gets on my nerves and to upset them breaks my heart. But I’m not the villain here.

Patients and families who decide to use the media to raise money for their cause are putting themselves in the public eye. Newspapers may wish to support such causes, but they also have a duty not to mislead their readership.

Kind-hearted members of the public wishing to support these desperate families ought to know where their money is going. Cancer patients watching well meant but biased media coverage could be persuaded to look into having treatment at the clinic themselves. This is how the media are promoting Burzynski.

I hope that such patients are not under any illusions about what their realistic chances of recovery actually are and that they are made fully aware of the side effects associated with the treatment. I suspect that this is not the case.

Jennifer Keane discusses patient choice and informed consent here, where she concludes that

Patients deserve information, not infomercials.

If you’ve not read the whole post already, I recommend that you do so. It strikes me that those standing up for the clinic (whether they be patients, their families, anonymous Twitter users or journalists) are either not willing or not able to objectively assess dry facts or to recognise what is reliable evidence and what is not. As convincing as they may be, patient testimonials are emphatically not reliable evidence.

Dr Burzynski has been using antineoplastons for over three decades and has still not published any real evidence the treatment is either effective or safe. He has not had a single paper published in a respectable peer reviewed journal. Patient testimonials are all that supporters of the clinic have got. And they continue to use them even after the patients have died.

But some testimonials are less welcome. Wayne and Lisa Merritt set up a blog to share their experience of the clinic and received threatening emails from the infamous pseudo-lawyer Marc Stephens as a result.

Others have gone to the press. Following the death of her husband, Edward,Michele Price spoke to the Houston Chronicle. She said that Dr Burzynski had given them false hope that the treatment was working. He insisted that MRI scans showed the medication was working, even after other doctors had broken the news that Edward’s condition was terminal. The fact that the couple first contacted the clinic after watching a glowing report on CBS television’s ’48 Hours’ is a clear example of how the media promote the clinic.

Others have gone to the courts. I mentioned this to @BurzynskiSaves as part of the Twitter exchange mentioned above. I was invited to

@_JosephineJones show me more than one patient suing Dr #Burzynski

In fact there have been several instances where patients or their bereaved families have taken Dr Burzynski and his companies to court.

The most obvious example is Lola Quinlan, whose case has been fairly well documented. She told a local news source

I’d like to see them shut down.  That’s my hope, that he can’t do this to anybody else

She said she was drawn to the clinic by a video advertisement on their website, and she was hoping the so-called ‘magic bullet’ touted by the clinic would improve her condition.

It was so perfect that I couldn’t even believe it because they weren’t going to do the chemo, they weren’t going to do the radiation, they weren’t going to take anything out

Lola Quinlan is not alone. There is another lady – Robin Reid, a stage IV breast cancer patient, named in court documents alongside Ms Quinlan. According to their First Amended Petition (a public document which may be viewed on the Harris County District Clerk website), Ms Reid was induced by Burzynski’s promises and assurances to undergo radical cancer treatment services in lieu of traditional treatment. She alleges that the treatments were not FDA approved (as Dr Burzynski and his clinic had claimed). She says that the treatments did not work (as they had promised). She did not receive all the treatments she had paid for, nor was she refunded. The phenylbutyrate treatment also caused a huge strain on her liver. An oncologist from outside the Burzynski Clinic later told her she should never have taken phenylbutyrate tablets because of the risk to the liver. Furthermore, representatives of the clinic failed to return numerous calls during a time when she was experiencing excruciating pain.

There are more. For example, Dr Burzynski made a $300,000 settlement with Stanley and Bernice Zabodyn – a couple whose daughter, Kay Wimberley, died of cancer following unsuccessful treatment at his clinic. They believe that the treatment increased her pain and hastened her death.

In addition to these, the current Texas Medical Board case also contains details of two further patients who were alleged to have been treated negligently (Patients A & B) . The case does not make pleasant reading and could even result in the revocation of Dr Burzynski’s licence to practise. Details include failing to discuss details and side effects of the cocktail of apparently randomly prescribed drugs, failing to encourage a patient to complete a course of radiotherapy, failing to discuss the lack of efficacy of treatment (as had been demonstrated by MRI scans) and failing to discuss alternative treatment.

To those accusing me of not caring about patients: I do this because I care. As I’m sure did Michele Price, who recounted the final months of her husbands life, frequently breaking down in tears. She told the Houston Chronicle

Maybe I’ll deter someone else from making a bad decision. And it was a bad decision.

These stories have not been reported by the British media. If their reason for regurgitating the dubious words of Dr Burzynski and his supporters is that they care about patients then where are the articles about Lola Quinlan? When will we read about Robin Reid? Why has there been no mention of Wayne Merritt, Edward Price or Kay Wimberley? What about Patients A and B?

Lazy and cowardly journalism do real harm. It’s time some heads were pulled out of the sand.

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13 Responses to Burzynski: A media scandal

  1. Frank says:

    So I guess that means Laura Hymas, Hannah, and other patients going better – they don’t count as human beings?

    http://www.hopeforlaurafund.co.uk/blog

    http://teamhannah.com/blog/

    Why does everyone create the “magic bullet” nonsense excuse or the “miracle” excuse. It doesn’t say “magic bullet” or “miracle” anywhere on the doctor’s website.

    Why does this writer insist on pointing out all the failures while pretending the successes never exist?

    Cancer is a hard disease to treat – and reporting on people wanting to go to the clinic isn’t a “scandal” it is just “news” which is why the “newspapers” are reporting on it. Where are we, Iraq? 1940’s Germany? Why on earth do you give a rat’s sphincter what a cancer patient chooses to do?

    This blog is the infomercial.

    Antineoplastons are not a “magic bullet” or a “miracle” – like all therapies, it works for some and not for others.

    • There is absolutely no reliable peer reviewed message to suggest it works.

      It is tragic to note that the list of people presented as anecdotes for those getting better gets shorter every time this argument is raised.

      If ANP has any efficacy than Burzynski has perpetuated a medical scandal and kept his treatment from thousands of patients by virtue of not researching it with proper scientific rigour and his absolute failure to report results.

      If you think we are wrong to question whether it works on the grounds of patient choice than perhaps you should get angry at the good Doctor B for preventing thousands of patients with cancer his treatment.

  2. Marc Stephens Is Insane says:

    Another Burzynski patient who was used as a poster child by his defenders (although she was a grown woman) has died. She was discussed in one of the very first Burzynski threads on RI last November.

    I bet she’s still on the BPG website. And her obituary is asking for donations to send more money to Burzynski.

    http://theworldlink.com/news/local/obituaries/laura-jo-hofsess/article_96e96409-c46c-5337-97a2-d77dea6a0604.html

  3. It seems that Frank has not properly read my post.

    As I wrote above – as convincing as they may be, patient testimonials are not reliable evidence of efficacy.

    As I also wrote, critics are often accused of being heartless and sanctimonious. Frank’s comment is a good example of this. Where have I ever suggested that Laura and Hannah don’t count as human beings? Of course, I wish them both well and hope that their treatment is successful. In fact, I find it distasteful that the Burzynski clinic are effectively using patients to promote the clinic and to combat criticism, while also charging them hundreds of thousands of pounds.

    I have been shouted down in the past for ‘attacking patients’ and for blogging about Laura. In fact I have never done so (though I did link to a Daily Mirror article in support of her campaign). I have always tried to be sensitive and respectful towards patients.

    As I’m sure Frank is aware, it is not possible for critics to comment much on patients’ MRI scans without upsetting people. Although they have put them into the public domain, it seems morally wrong for them to be discussed in any detail. For that reason, it is rare that you will find critics of the clinic questioning the scans. By this, I don’t mean to imply that I don’t believe the tumours have shrunk, but I do think it’s reassuring that these patients are also being seen by other doctors.

    If Frank has read my post properly, he will realise that I used the word ‘miracle’ because that word was used by a British newspaper. If he were to click on that word in my opening paragraph, he would be taken to the article in question. Perhaps Frank would agree that this article is misleading?

    The phrase ‘magic bullet’ was used by Lola Quinlan, as I would hope is clear in my post. I don’t know what gave her this impression. I’m not sure which video advertisement she is referring to so I can’t double check whether the phrase was actually used or by whom, or whether it was just an overall impression. However, I have given several examples of patients being given unrealistically optimistic advice which has sometimes contradicted what they had been told by other doctors.

    Without wishing to reiterate too much of the post above, it is my view that the UK media have been reporting on the clinic in an irresponsibly biased way. I believe that this misleads readers. They may argue that they are supporting patients and their families. I believe that if the media really care about patients then they need to research this properly. As I implied in the post, I believe several of these articles are in breach of the PCC Editors’ Code and that it is scandalous that editors continue to stick their heads in the sand every time anyone complains.

    Frank asks why on earth I give a rat’s sphincter what a cancer patient chooses to do? Because I am a human being. Although it’s no business of mine what complete strangers choose to do, it’s important that patients have the information they need before they make such decisions. Reputable doctors will be open and honest with patients about their likelihood of recovery and about the potential risks and side effects associated with their treatment. It is my concern that the Burzynski clinic are not being open and honest with patients.

    To say that a treatment works for some and not for others is to flail around in the dark. The clinic need to publish reliable evidence of efficacy before anyone can draw conclusions about whether or not it works (or for whom or for what types of cancer). They have not done so in over 35 years of ‘research’.

  4. Frank says:

    “To say that a treatment works for some and not for others is to flail around in the dark. The clinic need to publish reliable evidence of efficacy before anyone can draw conclusions about whether or not it works (or for whom or for what types of cancer). They have not done so in over 35 years of ‘research’.””

    There is zero reliable evidence that standard care works at all for brain tumors in conventional care. Therefore any publication showing evidence of efficacy against brain tumors would be an advance. I think this question has been asked a million times, but why is it you refuse to accept that he has published his data in all sort os journals? How many times can everyone say “he doesn’t publish his data” – and then when you are shown that data, you say “but that data isn’t acceptable show us more!”

    “Reputable doctors will be open and honest with patients about their likelihood of recovery and about the potential risks and side effects associated with their treatment. It is my concern that the Burzynski clinic are not being open and honest with patients.”

    Really? When Burzynski says “we might be able to help you, there is no guarantee at all”, which is what all patients have said about their time there – without exception. Each patient is read this alound and in writing and the patient has to sign something that they understand “this therapy has no gaurantee of helping you”.

    What part of this is misleading a patient? I realize you think you are doing good with this blog, but all you are doing is hurting people around you. You are not providing anything to the public but a giant load of disinformation. If you weren’t doing that – you would actually care about those who are getting better on the treatment. Again, you ignore all the successes, and you hail the failures. Why not stand out front of the Mayo Clinic or Kings Cross and start hecking cancer patients as they leave each day?

  5. It is a bold and sweeping statement to say there is zero reliable evidence that standard care works at all for brain tumours. It is also untrue.

    Likewise, it is untrue to say that Burzynski has published his data in all sorts of journals. He has not published data in any respectable peer reviewed journal.

    It does indeed seem that patients are made to sign something to say that they understand there is no guarantee that the treatment will work. However, it also seems that verbally, patients are given unrealistically optimistic advice. Additionally, newspapers continue to describe treatment using words like ‘lifesaving’ and ‘miracle’ and supporters of the clinic like yourself continue to shout publicly about a small number of individuals who appear to be getting better while on the treatment as if this is unequivocal proof of amazing efficacy. All this is misleading.

    You are accusing me of ‘disinformation’ and again implying that I am attacking patients. I am doing nothing of the sort. I have been very careful to stick to the facts and have been very transparent about my sources.

    I’m not the one providing a ‘giant load of disinformation’ here.

  6. Had I been aware of this article when I wrote the above post, I would have included Andy Cayon’s story:

    http://articles.courant.com/1997-01-12/news/9701120070_1_brain-tumor-stanislaw-burzynski-mainstream-medicine

    “Every month for six months, Burzynski showed Andy pictures of his brain and told him the tumor was shrinking. In October, Burzynski shook his hand and pronounced that the tumor had decreased by 84 percent. Andy was elated.

    A month later, with a Hartford television news program documenting his story, Andy returned to Houston, where Burzynski noted more progress.

    Andy was suspicious. In the waiting room, he had seen a report from the independent lab that interpreted his brain scans. All it said was the tumor was stable, no recurrence. But Andy still wanted to believe.”

    The Burzynski clinic were misreading the scans.

    “They were not measuring the tumor, they were measuring the hole where a portion of the tumor had been removed. What they saw as a shrinking mass was actually the healing from the surgery. The remaining tumor cells were just where Lantner had left them.

    Andy and Allison were devastated. It was a day before Thanksgiving. “It was like we were back in May, it was like six months wasted,” Andy said.

    First, they felt betrayed. Burzynski had offered hope. Now, they realized it had all been an illusion.

    He started calling the clinic demanding answers and a refund. Burzynski and other clinic doctors told him to get a second opinion. They have since stopped taking his phone calls.

    Dean Mouscher, director of clinical trials for the clinic, said Saturday that Burzynski still contends that Andy was doing well on the treatment and should have continued it.

    But even if it turns out that the treatment failed, Mouscher said, Andy went into it knowing there were no guarantees.”

  7. Ric Schiff says:

    Wow….you are truly amazing individuals. Do you think that the patients on the Burzynskipatientsgroup.com website haven’t authorized their presence there? Doesn’t it strike you as a little odd that Burzynski has never been convicted of any misconduct even though the Government (not lazy back wood lawyers) tried fiercely?

    Dr. Burzynski has treated patients in the same (basic) location for 30 years now. With as much hatred as there seems to be out there, does it not strike you odd that he is still able to operate, has never had his license revoked, and that the vast majority of his well educated patients still support him?

    Does it not strike you odd that Dr. Burzynski has been investigated literally by every major news agency in the free world? 60 minutes, nightline, 48 hours, almost every major newspaper agency and yet he still practices? Do you really believe that he could still be in practice after six Texas Board of Medical Examiners investigations, if any of what you collectively seem to think were true? Your author here can’t even get his/her facts right, and yet you jump on this articles idiotic conclusions? You need a license to practice medicine, but any idiot can write a blog. That gives them credence how?

    Have any of you ever met Dr. Burzynski? Have any of you ever met any of his patients? Does it not bother you that the NIH actively attempted to steal Dr. Burzynski’s patents?

    OK then, what is the cure rate for brain tumors at large in the United States using conventional treatments (chemotherapy and or radiation)? Of the Peer reviewed articles. whose clinical trails met with any level of success other than a slight response followed by death?

    Who determines if your Peer Reviewed article is published? Why do Oncologist use toxic treatments that they know are not curative (hint….its all that we have). What do you think those Oncologist tell their patients…..yeah, we know this treatment will fail but what the heck, let’s do it anyway….or do you think that they provide false hope to their patients?

    What is an Oncologist? Do you know? Generally they are Hematologist who graduated at the bottom of their medical classes and could not get into a favorable aspect of medicine. You all knew that right?

    You see, we do. We know what its like to be lied to, fooled, given false hope and then left to die. And we know exactly who and what Dr. Burzynski is. You know that he did research at Baylor University right? Actual scientific research….as opposed to those of you who criticize him. You know that he graduated number one in his class with an MD and PhD? You know that every submission to Peer Journals that he has made has been shunned by doctors with a fraction of his genius, ethics or compassion? Why would they do that? Could it be that they are bought and paid for by the pharmaceuticals that support their ever lasting and horribly unsuccessful clinical trials?

    Maybe before any of you take a stand, you should stand up and stop being such dumb asses.

    Its hard to have gone through what we all have, but imagine how bitter the taste is when we see people jumping up and down cheering for evil.

    Please feel free to contact me anytime that you like…..I’ll be right here waiting for you and trying to get Dr. Burzynski’s medicine approved for use in the face of overwhelming odds. Maybe you are on the wrong side and don’t know it, but you should.

    Ric Schiff
    Rschiff@pacbell.net

  8. incredulous says:

    As a lurker, I just have to say, Josephine, kudos to you for showing tact and informing your readers of the facts. That ‘Frank’ and ‘Ric’ can’t come up with anything beyond ad hominem attacks goes to show how deluded they are (I won’t say misinformed, as it is clear they refuse to get educated and fancy arguing on several like-minded blogs).

    Carry on the good work!

  9. incredulous – Thanks, appreciated.

    Ric – If you are Crystin’s father, who appears on the Burzynski Patient Group here http://www.burzynskipatientgroup.org/crystin-schiff (and I have no reason to believe otherwise), then I realise that it is very unlikely that anything I can say will change your mind. I would fully understand if you decide to just ignore everything I am about to write. However I will try to address the points you have raised.

    I’m not claiming that patients and families on the Burzynski Patient Group have not authorised their presence there. But the fact remains that not all those patients are success stories. I understand that in some cases (such as Crystin’s) that the families still support the clinic and believe that had things been different, Burzynski would have been able to cure their loved one. However, there are at least five other patients who appear on the Burzynski Patient Group site without any mention of the fact that these people have passed away. Four of these were mentioned in the Burzynski’s Ghosts article (http://www.thetwentyfirstfloor.com/?p=3553): Eric Zielinski, Jane Kammet, Joshua Thompson and Timothy Lally. Since that post was published, it has come to light that Shaun Bancroft has also passed away. Although this happened over six years ago, his personal story has not been updated.

    Does it strike me as odd that Burzynski has never been convicted of any misconduct? I assume you are familiar with the various legal cases and don’t think his being found guilty of fraud in 1994 counts. I have read lots of legal documents relating to various cases against Burzynski and his ability to slither away from justice is truly remarkable. His lawyer is good at finding loopholes. This doesn’t mean that the clinic is squeaky clean and beyond reproach. As I mention in the post above, such legal documents also give a shocking insight into some of the practices at the clinic, for example failing to acknowledge when treatment isn’t working, failing to discuss side effects and failing encourage patients to complete a course of other, conventional treatment.

    Yes, he has treated patients in the same location for 30 years. This is because he hasn’t been able to treat them anywhere else, for legal reasons. As I’m sure you know, the ANP treatment is not FDA approved and may only be given in the context of ‘clinical trials’ in Texas. He is essentially operating within a legal loophole.

    You say that the vast majority of his well educated patients still support him? I’m not sure what you mean by ‘well educated’ but if patients didn’t have any faith in Burzynski then they wouldn’t be his patients would they? Given that Burzynski specialises in treating terminal cancer patients expensively, former patients unhappy with their treatment are likely to be either penniless or dead and therefore in no position to make any legal challenge against him. However, as I have discussed in the post above, there are still a handful of cases where patients or their families have taken Burzynski to court.

    By the ‘free world’, do you just refer to the United States? I live in the UK and I can assure you that the Burzynski clinic have not been investigated by any news agency over here. I acknowledge that some US news outlets have indeed reported on the clinic and I have read their accounts with interest. On the other hand, much of the US coverage has been favourable to the clinic. For example, Edward and Michele Price first looked into the clinic after watching a ‘glowing report’ on ’48 Hours’.

    You say I can’t get my facts right. If you find any factual error in anything I have written, please let me know and I will correct it. Because as you say, any idiot can write a blog, I am always careful that I explain my conclusions and link to my sources. I don’t simply spout unevidenced opinions. I would hope that this is pretty obvious to anyone who reads my posts.

    I have never met Burzynski or any of his patients. How is that relevant? Do you assume that if I had, then I would be won over? Terminal cancer patients’ decisions about their treatment should be based on good information, not on cherry-picked personal stories. This personal approach is unethical and misleading.

    You say the NIH tried to steal his patents? I think ‘stealing the patents’ is a bit of a strong way to put it. To be honest, I find it strange that Burzynski was able to patent his treatment, which to me seems to be more of a rebranding rather than a genuinely novel discovery. And it certainly isn’t novel any more. I realise he has all kinds of variations of patents for unproven treatments. This looks to me like an attempt to protect his own profits, rather than a way of advancing knowledge. As I’ve said countless times, he has yet to publish in any respectable peer reviewed journal and he has yet to properly share data publicly from the various ‘clinical trials’. These are not advancing knowledge – they are part of his loophole.

    You have asked some quite detailed questions about brain tumours that are hard to answer succinctly. Different types of brain tumours respond differently to treatment. For example, some respond much better to radiotherapy than others. It’s interesting to note that from the 1960s to the 2000s, the survival rates for children more than doubled and that now around 65% of children survive for more than 5 years after diagnosis. I’m not sure what the figures are for the US specifically. I found this information on the Cancer Research UK website, where you can find lots of detailed, reliable information http://cancerhelp.cancerresearchuk.org/type/brain-tumour/treatment/statistics-and-outlook-for-brain-tumours.

    I feel I should also point out in order to have antineoplastons, you need to have also had previous radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments.

    No good oncologist would recommend a treatment to a patient if they did not believe it would be of benefit to that patient. Patients need to be fully informed about their treatment, how it might benefit them and what the side effects might be. As I said in the post, I don’t believe that Burzynski informs patients properly.

    An oncologist is a cancer specialist. Incidentally, Burzynski has never been any kind of oncologist. Again, it is hard to put it succinctly. There are various specialisms. For you to assert that an oncologist is a haematologist who came bottom of the class is astounding, untrue and offensive.

    According to Dr Burzynski’s CV, he did his PhD in just one year. That is not what scientists would usually consider to be a PhD. It is pretty much meaningless. I have read some of what little work Burzynski has published, and I’m afraid to say it is of very poor quality. I have also seen no evidence of Burzynski possessing either genius, ethics or compassion. To insinuate that real cancer researchers are only interested in money from pharmaceutical companies, rather than in genuinely advancing knowledge and treating patients, is awful. It’s insulting. And it’s not really plausible, though it is an argument commonly used by cancer quacks. It is strange that this is the company that Burzynski chooses to keep, given that he is, as you say, a real doctor, that he uses real drugs. Indeed he owns pharmaceutical companies (eg Ampolgen http://www.ampolgen.com/index.html).

    I’m really sorry if this upsets or offends you but I truly don’t believe I am cheering for evil.

  10. Vickyyyf says:

    I have one comment to make on:

    ‘What is an Oncologist? Do you know? Generally they are Hematologist who graduated at the bottom of their medical classes and could not get into a favorable aspect of medicine. You all knew that right?’

    Firstly, i am not an MD, so my view is not personally biased by my own career choice, i do however know a lot of oncologists. My experience with US oncologists would indicate that this is absolute rubbish. Some of the most talented doctors choose an oncology career as it is unquestionably one of the most difficult and varied fields. Many top oncologists combine research and clinical trials with their clinical practise in order to try to improve patient outcome. This is very time consuming, intellectually demanding and requires exceptional dedication and passion. In the UK, your comment is definitely completely unjustifiable. Oncology is hard to get into, hard to pass the exams once you are in, and attracts the very best applicants. Just because Burzynski isn’t an oncologist – which is an exceptionally poor show and indicates his absolute arrogance in attempting to dabble in one of the most complex disciplines of medicine – does not mean that oncologists in the whole are intellectually poor. Quite the opposite, and his lack of training only emphasises his probably quite poor intellect in comparison to his very successful oncologist peers. Regards to the postdoc position at Baylor…not all that impressive im afraid. Two or three years of studying at a good university is to be expected of any MD or PhD researcher. The fact that he did no more postdoc work after that, and jumped ship to set up a pharma company means that his formal scientific research experience is at best rather poor. And i echo what Josephine Jones has said. A one year course is not a PhD, it might get you a research masters degree. Plus, his university will not verify the award of the PhD – this is highly unusual.

    • WHO40 says:

      Oncologists are unable to treat cancer patients, as they are just protocol enforcers, stop kidding yourself!

  11. Lesmond says:

    I have worked in academic cancer research and have a PhD in oncology and the idea that cancer researchers are only in it for the money is *not* offensive to me at all, but only because it’s so entirely laughable.
    Researchers are paid relatively poorly, especially for their level of training and education and the hours they are expected to work. They also have comparatively poor job security, with most post-docs working short term contracts and having to relocate frequently to find work.

    The vast majority of researchers work under these circumstances because they are personally interested in the subject and the science. If Burzynski was onto something, they’d want to know about it.

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