By Keir Liddle
Burzynski surfaced again today in a piece on ITV’s early morning magazine show daybreak. Which has yet to appear on their ITV player service but a poor quality version of which has appeared on Youtube. This video may be linked to the campaign so I encourage sensitivity and common sense when deciding to rate or comment on it.
The opening of the piece bodes well as presenter Kate Garraway introduces the piece by noting that the treatment is controversial, that Burzynski has been tried with fraud and that the treatment is not recognised by American authorities. However the presence of the child and her father clearly indicate that this is not going to be the demolition of Burzynskis treatment that many skeptics feel someone in the mainstream media needs to produce.
The family explain Chianes situation and current treatment and I hope with every fibre of my being that this is successful so that they don’t feel the need to travel to Texas under the impression that her chance of survival is in any way substantially increased by the treatment offered at the clinic. The presenters approach the issue of questioning the treatment very sensitively it is just unfortunate that their concerns are addressed by Dr Hilary Jones.
Hilary Jones says the treatment is very “experimental” and “pioneering” and claims that pioneers in medicine “tend to get a rough ride” quite how Burzynski can be considered a pioneer after thirty plus years of abject failure to provide anything approaching quality evidence is beyond me. A fact which Jones seems to tacitly acknowledge when he mentions that Burzynski hasn’t published the numbers of people in trials (or indeed any data of any kind Dr Jones). He pays lip service to the notion that the treatment offered by Burzynski is “gene targeted” and implies that it is something over and above chemotherapy and radiotherapy (which as we know is likely false).
Worryingly he appears to give an overly positive impression of the results, while in fairness still using language that could technically be deemed as hedged, saying that in some cases some of the results obtained look extraordinary. He does stress that it is difficult to evaluate how effective the therapy is but his view is perhaps clouded by the fact that Hilary Jones claims to have a friend presently attending the clinic with his partner. He how his friend seems really impressed with the quality of care provided by Burzynski and states that “while it is unfortunate” that the treatment is so costly we have to keep an “open mind”.
I think it is important to take some small notion of victory from the approach taken by Daybreak in this piece. Without the sterling work of skeptics, both nationally and internationally, this could have been another utter puff piece advertorial for Burzynski. But as it is the controversy surrounding the clinic and the treatment is not simply mentioned it is the central theme of the piece. Granted the resolution may not be to our liking but the message is slowly permeating through and we just have to keep on keeping on to assure this aspect of the whole sorry business is not cut from the main stream media version of events.
It’s unlikely that in these times of “balance” we will be able to get the story presented exactly as we want in the mainstream media. Perhaps we should consider trying to crowdsource funding to make our own Burzynski documentary as a means to counter the clinics propaganda machine?
I for one see this as cause for minor celebration and to give ourselves a much deserved pat on the back. There is more work to be done but this could be the first sign that we are getting our side (the side based on evidence and facts) of the story across.