Burzynski Update, LA GATE Event, & An Uplifting Story
I have just discovered that my post on Dr. Burzynski contained some inaccuracies and omissions. In order for you to have the most balanced information on this story, here is what I have learned from Pip Cornall, a Director of the Grace Gawler Institute, a highly reliable source of information and wisdom on cancer treatments. If and when Dr. Burzynski completes Stage 3 trials, we will report on his published results.
What cancer patients considering going to the Burzynski Clinic need to know is that antineoplastons (or to give them their correct name, phenylbutyrate) appear to be no better than many experimental therapies at a very early stage of development. There is phase I data that has produced toxicity data and an MTD. However, there is no convincing evidence of efficacy, except maybe in certain brain tumors. Indeed, it is quite possible, based on the case report and phase I trial testing phenylbutyrate in patients with glioma, that Dr. Burzynski’s therapy does, almost quite by accident, produce the occasional complete response. The problem is that we have no idea if this is any better or worse than anyone else’s results because Dr. Burzynski doesn’t do the necessary phase III trials to find out, even though he has well over 60 phase I/II trials listed at PubMed over the last 15 or 20 years.
Be that as it may, Dr. Burzynski’s antineoplastons are not “natural, non-toxic compounds that cure cancer.” They are drugs, plain and simple. Worse, they are drugs of unknown efficacy. Nor is Dr. Burzynski doing anything unique or in any way superior to what cancer researchers elsewhere do, his claims otherwise notwithstanding. In fact, what Dr. Burzynski does and how he does it are a pale shadow, a parody, of what real cancer research centers do. He does “personalized therapy” so badly that it’s a joke, and he uses an orphan drug off-label in combination with other off-label chemotherapy drugs and targeted therapy while selling his combination as some sort of radical breakthrough in cancer therapy. Meanwhile, the alt-med underground promotes Dr. Burzynski as “the man who cures the most intractable cancers” naturally. He’s not. He’s being represented to desperate patients with incurable cancers as their “last hope,” worth any price to reach. After all, what price would you pay for your last chance at survival or that of a loved one? Of your child? To what lengths would you go to get to the man who, you are told, is the only man in the world who can save your life?
Unfortunately, it’s not even clear to me that Dr. Burzynski’s cured a single cancer. In fact, Skeptical Humanities has been tallying publicly available cases of patients who went to Burzynski and did not survive. It’s a depressing read, and these are stories we don’t see, even from much of the mainstream press. In the process, the harm he is doing is incalculable as he tarnishes the reputation of a perfectly fine experimental anticancer drug (phenylbutyrate) and the very concept of “personalized cancer therapy” with the stench of quackery. Certainly, it doesn’t help that of late he’s branched out into dubious anti-aging remedies, forming a new division of his clinic called AminoCare.
Here’s what the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has to say about it, with full links to many of the studies and a handy rundown of toxicology data (including the fact that each 500 mg tablet of sodium phenylbutyrate contains approximately 62 mg sodium – which is why, at the doses Burzynski must be using, is a massive risk of side effects including hypernaetraemia and death). Note this important phrase: “Patients are prescribed phenylbutyrate off-label to treat cancer.”
So the main thing that Burzynski stands to gain from continuing the way he is continuing is uninformed patients who have (or, like some patients who manage to raise a lot of money through medical fund raisers, can get) lots of money. These are patients who are already prone to be attracted to woo and who have come to think from reading various websites and other sources of information that antineoplastons are somehow something magical and amazing. Of course, they don’t realize it’s nothing more than phenylbutyrate and, more importantly, that, if they have one of the cancers for which there is evidence of efficacy, they could ask their oncologist to prescribe the drug off-label, although their insurance may not pay for it. They also don’t appear to be informed that there is a significant body of published evidence about the safety and efficacy of phenylbutyrate and that the way Dr. Burzynski uses its metabolites A-10 and AS-2.1 often far exceeds what one might estimate to be the MTD.
GATE 3.0 – Celebrating Meaningful Messages for an Awakening Humanity
Join us Saturday, Feb. 2, for GATE 3 and GATE Story Conference 2013 at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. These remarkable transformational events will feature world-class entertainers, speakers, comedians, change-makers, and spiritual leaders who believe in the power of entertainment and media to change our world. Seats for this amazing day sell out every year, so don’t delay … GATE 3 is only one week away! Ticket prices remain low: $99 for StoryCon; $199 for GATE 3; and $248 for both.
Presenters and performers include Olivia Newton-John, spiritual leader Eckhart Tolle, comedian Louie Anderson, radio host Thom Hartmann, environmentalist Paul Hawken, script consultant Dara Marks, guitar virtuoso Ed Gerhard, Samsara and Baraka producer Mark Magidson, singer/songwriter Alex Cuba, poet Roger Housden, and many more luminaries (50+ at last count!) who will share their perspectives, wisdom, and talent to support transformational entertainment, media, and the arts. For more information and the full line-up for this year’s events visit: http://gatecommunity.org/
See you at the Saban Feb. 2!
GATE is the Global Alliance for Transformational Entertainment -
GATE is a 501(c)(3) charity organization. Donations are tax deductible.
Finally, a heart warming story of overcoming adversity.
Dawn Loggins grew up in a home with no electricity or running water. And before the start of her senior year at Burns High School, where she also works as a janitor, she was abandoned by her parents. Rather than turning her over to the Department of Social Service, school staff and the community of Lawndale, North Carolina decided to become Dawn’s family. Dawn is not angry with her parents – she just knows that she wants to make different decisions in her life.
To watch the video, click here.