... but I stopped. Now I'm a dad, and may blog again...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

461: I am Spartacus (allegedly) #Burzynski

WPA poster, 1936-38
The blog world is all a'twitter about Stanislaw Burzynski, and the Burzynski Clinic; and while I have no desire to be set upon by Burzynski's semi-illiterate ragin' PR-man-posing-as-a-lawyer Marc Stephens, and his insulting and threatening emails; I do want my voice to be among those speaking out against pseudo-science and those preying on the vulnerable.

Let's start from the start. Stanislaw Burzynski is a doctor (of questionable credentials) who claims to be trialing the cure for cancer. However due to the fact that he does not have the cure for cancer, he is not legally allowed to offer his 'treatment' as a medicine. Therefore he has rebranded his treatment as a clinical trial; his patients are not being treated, they are taking part in a clinical trial. However this trial has been going on for over thirty years and he his rate of published research leaves a lot to be desired.  According to Cancer Research UK, this "raises questions about exactly what kind of clinical trials they are running, and when we might expect to see the detailed analysis of their results."

His business does not have the appearance of an honest scientist or medical man, whether by intent or incompetence I could not possibly know. He is (allegedly) in the business of masquerading as a medical pioneer being hounded by Big-Gov and Big-Pharma as he jus' tryna do some good for the poor suffrin' people. His disguise is thin, but his (alleged) intended (alleged) victims seem less inclined to be critical due to the pain and desperation of being a cancer sufferer, or being a close friend or relative of someone with cancer.

The latest round of Burzynski-bashing has bloomed due to a superficiality of celebrities in the UK doing their bit to raise money for the desperate family of a poor little girl. Tragically she has an incurable form of brain cancer. Her family, and many UK fund-raisers, have been duped by the Burzynski (alleged)scam, and need £200,000 to buy a little false hope. There is nothing sadder than the death of a child, but some people (quacks, psychics) will always see it as a great opportunity to make some money and boost their status.

William HogarthMarriage à-la-mode:The Visit to the Quack Doctor
You're entitled to disagree with me, of course, and if you do you can find (just as non-impartial) information about the miracle and hope of Burzynski's treatment here:
or if you're in Manchester tomorrow night (Monday 28 Nov) you can go to a fund-raiser at the Comedy Store:
or you can make a donation here:
It is right and good to raise money for this family, I just hope they can use the money to provide comfort and well-being for themselves, rather than wasting it.

It is the tragic and personal nature of the story that has lead to such unquestioning support from celebrities and even from reputable newspapers like The Observer. There is another side however as illustrated by the experiences of Wayne Meritt who attended the Burzynski Clinic and documents what happened in his website, Burzynski Scam. Of course, this is just another anecdote (as is this on Lymphomation.org), I just wonder why the fund-raisers are so eager to read the positive anecdotes, while ignoring the negative ones, and the lack of supporting evidence for Burzynski's treatment... anyway...

What I want, and what the world needs, is one of two things; either:
1) That Burzynski stops pretending(allegedly) to be a doctor in order to (allegedly)extract money from vulnerable people to further a pseudo-trial that produces no results.
2) That Burzynski conducts his trials with absolute transparency so that other laboratories may replicate the results he claims to have. If he does have the cure for cancer he owes it to the world to allow proper exhaustive, controlled, double-blinded research to be carried out.  If, after all the accepted (because they work) rigors of scientific research, Burzynski is proved to have been right, and "antineoplastons" do cure cancer, I will immediately change my mind.  And apologise for my foolishness.  I suspect I will never have to do this.

In the meantime we can do some genuine good in the fight against cancer by donating to one or more of the following charities:

of particular interest is


Liz Ditz said...

Duly added to the list I am keeping.


anarchic teapot said...

And to mine!

Unknown said...

Thanks to both of you.

Anarchic Teapot's list here

Anonymous said...

Bursynski had an offer by the Mayo clinic and Memorial Sloan Kettering (two of the top cancer institutes in the world) to host real clinical trials for his treatment. He turned them down. What a scam this guy is.