#1 By: Xeni Jardin, December 19th, 2013 15:32
#2 By: Fascinoma, December 19th, 2013 15:52
Does this mean the NSA actually does more work than the FDA?
#3 By: Jason Andresen, December 19th, 2013 16:32
For you Apple fans, it is this kind of cancer quakery that killed Steve Jobs. Supposedly he had a rare kind of pancreatic cancer that actually responds well to treatment, but instead opted to try quack methods and died.
#4 By: xzzy, December 19th, 2013 16:51
Get Sterling Archer on the case.
Granted he may not actually be able to save your life, but you can be damn sure he'll wreck the life of the other guy too.
#5 By: Flugfrei_Jones, December 19th, 2013 16:54
i've been following news on burzynski for a few years now, after a friends father had a bout with cancer (treated effectively with chemo)
the interest arose when i noticed a person on facebook responding to my friend that chemo was quackery. the person insisted that my friend's father get involved with burzynski, and said some pretty terrible things re: the father's outcomes if he did not. it took me about half an hour on the web to decide that the man was selling snake oil, which led to a pretty epic facebook beatdown.
it amazes me how people can argue so aggressively from complete ignorance, led like sheep by conspiracy sites and general griftery on the internet. this man preys on the hopeless and dying for everything he can swipe. This asshole deserves to be in prison, and i hope his "subjects" find effective treatment before it's too late.
#6 By: Jeremy, December 19th, 2013 17:07
After reading about Burzynsky quite a few times, I started wondering what 'antineoplastons' actually were. Those who are interested should check out http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/12/12/what-dr-stanislaw-burzynski-doesnt-want/ . It appears antineoplastons are sodium phenylbutyrate, which is an orphaned drug that can be prescribed by virtually any physician for little cost. And as an experimental cancer drug I was struck by this paragraph in the linked article:
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.
So not only is he a quack causing immense financial harm, spreading misinformation and false hope, for very specific cancers it's not impossible phenylbutyrate could be a cheap and effective treatment if trials were actually completed.
If the phrase, "Christ, what an asshole" were ever an understatement, I think this is it.
#7 By: Jason Andresen, December 19th, 2013 17:14
Or he tried the Phase III trials, discovered that it didn't work, and covered up the evidence so he could continue selling them.
#8 By: Jeremy, December 19th, 2013 17:17
yeah, it's hard to imagine a more frakked up situation.
#9 By: Alice Weir, December 19th, 2013 19:29
Well, if you want to go hunting the cancer 'bad guys', may I suggest some of the 'centers of excellence' which are federally funded? I got told by an oncologist at one such establishment that I was not a candidate for gamma knife (despite the fact that he could not open my images on his computer, and this was an initial consultation.
I recently found out why he said it. That 'center of excellence' doesn't own the equipment to do that far less dangerous and invasive treatment, therefore no one within their walls is considered a candidate. Which is surprising, considering the large amounts collected by their practitioners from Pharmaceuticals companies, according to Pro Publica. Or, from the federal government itself, for that matter. Or maybe, you could ask them why answering a long survey from the CDC is a precondition to receiving any care whatsoever. Or, why a year later, we had to demand tossue samples because they also failed to perform the biopsy properly...because they also don't own the proper lab patents.
Not defending Burzinski here - but the Texas MRB has a dastardly history, itself. And I'll provide access to documentation of that fact,if you like. And if Burzynski's a bad guy? He's not nearly the only one and nowhere near the largest in the Big C's Big Biz!
#10 By: Cary, December 19th, 2013 19:43
Given the fact that the records were destroyed/lost, I'm betting that you are correct.
#11 By: omems, December 19th, 2013 19:54
At the very least, Mike Ditka could sue him for stealing his look.
#12 By: Cary, December 19th, 2013 19:58
Ya, not quite sure why, but I get creeped out by the various "cancer center" advertisements -- probably because they try to frame it as they are your best hope and best friend (when in reality they are just after your $$s like every other huckster out there). Unfortunately Doctors have many masters now and the best care now tends to be defined as the one that makes the most money for the practice.
One can see this with prostate cancer treatment -- reimbursement for IMRT external beam treatment is much higher than other treatment options, so many urology practices worked to get their own million$ accelerator (probably several practices investing together). Wanna take bets on the ratio of their patients that get IMRT treatment vs other treatments is?
Edit: Turns out that one doesn't need to guess:
Urologists' Use of Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer — NEJM
The rate of IMRT use by self-referring urologists in private practice increased from 13.1 to 32.3%, an increase of 19.2 percentage points. Among non–self-referring urologists, the rate of IMRT use increased from 14.3 to 15.6%
So, if a urologist owns an interest in an IMRT machine, his referrals went up by 20%, if they did not have a financial benefit, it only went up by a little over 1%...
#13 By: Cary, December 19th, 2013 19:59
He looks like Ditka's creepy cousin...
#14 By: Alice Weir, December 19th, 2013 21:33
Yep. And the evidence shows that most prostate cancers are so slow-growing if they grow at all, that they would have no real possibility of killing a man until well after old age got him. Most - not all.
The problem is partly the equipment's value as a profit center, true. I think a part of it is the fact that those centers typically get run through non-profits, which together with the 'War on' mentality, has allowed them to just run berserk. It's not that all doc's are like that - I've seen some truly amazing people, too. Or even all centers - I don't know them all.
But this is turning out to be just one more of those areas where 'Government partnering with Industry' has run completely amok. Calling bullshit on cancer centers is seen as a sacrilege, but it needs to be done. I don't believe it's possible to do _anything- 'in the public interest' without being 100% willing to hold it to an even higher standard, if for no other reason than the sheer number of people involved. Because, that number is exactly equal to the number of possible people who can potentially be harmed as well as helped. And that deserves more than mere lip service and tax deductable status. I counted - the ratio of appointments, records requests answered, and treatments actually rendered was microscopic, compared to the funding requests I got.
Actually, the entire field is a mess. There's good work being done - and thank God for those people! But look how many decades this 'War' has gone on and how relatively little it's managed to produce in the way of real knowledge. Look at the way the NCI database is still organized - as if cancer could be identified solely by the body part it affects! ...reminds me of the War on Drugs, the War on Terror, the War on Tobacco, etc. We need a War on Fake Wars, so we can get back to doing useful stuff about those things. A cancer researcher without a War is a lot like a boxing match without Don King - and for the same reasons.
#15 By: Tennessee Waltz, December 19th, 2013 23:02
If he was turned upside down he will have a wonderful smile.
#17 By: Suzanne, December 20th, 2013 09:55
Yes, this guy is awful but even the "good" ones seem terrible. I had a friend whose mom was wealthy, so they kept offering her trial meds that were very very expensive, despite the fact that her mom was aged and her cancer was advanced, so what gains she might have were slim to none. But one thing for sure happened, they drained her pockets but good and so my friend's inheritance from her father was gone along with her mother.
Another co-worker was also put on trials that were expensive. In his case he was young with a family so the little extra time it bought him may have been worth it. I know he was drowning in debt and that caused him a lot of heartache, and that he could not purchase life insurance to pay for the funeral even. Fortunately the owner of our company paid for a lot of the medical expenses but still it was a hardship. Basically they used him as a guinea pig - he got a few more days but those days he was hooked on opiates so not sure how worthwhile that was to him.
#18 By: Xeni Jardin, December 24th, 2013 15:32
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