Buryznski: A small Victory

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.

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0 Responses to Buryznski: A small Victory

  1. Adam C. says:

    I’m beginning to think that the reason they haven’t published data is because all they have are the unblinded, no-control-group, self-selected-population meaningless statistics that they have published – and don’t know the difference between that and data.

  2. Marianne says:

    What really makes me seethe with rage about this is that they bring a young girl with a serious illness on television and sit her in the middle of a discussion she does not need to bear witness to.

    Nor, really, do the parents need to be there.

    The MSM must stop taking people’s personal tragic stories and building pieces around them.
    I know that’s what sells, I know that’s what journalists are trained to do.

    But this is not someone’s affair, it is not an MP misbehaving, it is not a local vigilante giving criminals a taste of their own medicine.

    It is life and death, death by cancer of all things, and by putting these human faces up in the context of Burzynski and his… activities, more and more people are going to be sympathetic.

    Dr Jones’ comments are despicable and if he has ANY medical training he should a) be doing his research better b) know for a fact that Burzynski is not performing gene therapy in any sense of the word – I’m guessing he doesn’t know what gene therapy is, so back to a).

    I’m angry, and while you’re probably right about having managed to change the tone, there’s still a heck of a lot of work to be done here.

  3. I agree with much of that.

    I did feel desperately sorry for the kid to have to sit there for what was pretty much a discussion over the merits of what she and her family probably consider their last hope.

    Even if they wanted to than it isn’t as if they couldn’t have handled that more sensitively. Why not an interview with only the father? Why not a link up to another location so the kid doesn’t have to sit there and hear the doubts?

    As much as the evidence stacks up against Burzynski I think that was a gross error on the part of the daybreak team to expose the child to that. The family have made their choice and have to live with that I’m not 100% comfortable that they can be used as human shields on the one hand or target for criticism on the other.

    But I also think it is important that we highlight these small victories. If for no other reason than it keeps us from giving up because we think there is no hope and nothing will change.

  4. Alex says:

    While I am speculative of alternative treatments and people selling miracle cures. I also am highly suspicious of the pharmaceutical industry.

    I read about this to the point that I watched the full length video the Burzynski institute released about the behaviour of the FDA and the Cancer research centre in trying to pass this work off as their own.

    Today I read on the hopeforlaura.com website that her tumor has reduced in size by 36% and this has been backed up and confirmed by a UK MRI scan.

    So I ask you, who is telling the truth here? A good bit of suspicion and speculation about treatment and the people providing it is very welcome. But if something like this has worked even for one person, it has to be worth investigating. Even to the point where Cancer research programs/charities that can be donated to around the world could just divert enough of their time, money and attention to this, pay for the trials, see that the trials are done properly and then get results. Then you can put the Burzynski thing to bed for once and for all.

    However, supposedly the stage 3 trials in the US, mean that half the patients need to use the treatment and the other half conventional treatment, on what according to the documentary is a hard to treat form of brain cancer. How as the creator of the cure can you even concience the possible death of half the patients if you believe you have the cure? You can’t unless the patients really do want to take part in the trial and do not believe in the cure. But thats like holding out a rope to a drowning man and saying, “this guy thinks you can be saved if you use his rope, i’m telling you, your likely not going to survive if you grab my rope, but as your doctor i don’t believe his rope will work either”. Is any patient going to consign themselves to possible death given that scenario? Unlikely.

    Surely the US Government and the FDA could just pay for these trials and given the concern and controversy surrounding the institute they would need to be independantly monitored and review as well.

    Anyway. I guess what i’m saying is, if it doesn’t work how come Laura is reporting a 36% reduction in her tumor size since starting the treatment. I’m very speculative but I couldn’t create a blog or denounce a treatment without controvertible truth that it doesn’t work at all, if it worked for even one person i’d not be saying a word against from a treatment point of view just in case it helps save someone else. The funding part i agree with definetly expensive, but again cancer research cahrities could solve all this inside a year by providing the funds to prove or disprove.

    • Lesmond says:

      Alex, the Burzynski story is not as simple as commonly presented. He is using lots of conventional “big pharma” drugs. In fact, although he gives the impression (without explicitly stating) through his website and PR that his gene therapy for cancer is something to do with his “antineoplastons”, this is not the case. He actually uses off-label immuno- and chemotherapeutic agents (manufactured by and purchased from the eeeeeevil big pharma!!) for his gene targeted treatments. His “antineoplastons” are, in fact, mostly an already licensed “big pharma” drug called sodium phenylbutyrate (which is metabolised into compounds that Burzynski somewhat audaciously collectively calls Antineoplaston A2-1). At least one of these metabolites has been investigated as a potential chemotherapeutic agent for cancer as far back as 1959 (making Burzynski’s claim of discovery somewhat curious), with very limited success.

      More about this here: http://www.thetwentyfirstfloor.com/?p=3201

      Regarding individual cases and how we know if a treatment is “working”, it’s an extremely complex field, which has been discussed at length elsewhere on this site.

  5. Spelman says:

    Burzynski has purposely stalled the completion of over 106 trials in the last 35 years. He has no intention of bringing out his ‘research’ for peer review (those papers he usually cites aren’t peer-reviewed, but simply posted to Pub.med as articles), as he makes millions charging people to take part. In one year alone he made over 3 million dollars in *profits* from these trials.

    His glowing and highly-biased movie shows a large building which has a sign outside of it saying ‘The Burzynski Clinic’; in fact he has a suite on one floor and the sign outside is faked up for the movie.

    A low life, using the idea that his work is being suppressed by the FDA to help create an image that he’s a lone genius working against big pharma’.

    Nail him.

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