Interview with Dr. Burzynski (M.D., Ph.D. Biochemistry)
Interviewer: Gavin Phillips ©
Distributed 12.05.03

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This telephone interview with Dr. Burzynski was held in December 2002. The purpose of the interview is to inform people about Dr. Burzynski’s cancer treatment, Antineoplastons. It will be circulated for free on the Internet. I have no affiliations with Dr. Burzynski either personally or professionally.

Hello Dr. Burzynski. I would like to thank you for taking the time to inform people about your cancer treatment Antineoplastons, and your experiences in the area of cancer over the last 25 years.

Is it true that you were the youngest person in Poland in the 20th century to earn two advanced degrees, an M.D. (Medical Doctor) and Ph.D. in biochemistry at only 24?

I’m not sure if I was the youngest, I was among the youngest. In Poland, its 15 years average (Gavin. For a Ph.D.) after you receive an M.D.

What motivated you to come to the United States? When did you arrive here?

Well basically freedom. You see, I could easily stay in Poland. I was a prominent student, one of the best they ever had in medical school and certainly if I would become a member of the Communist Party I would accomplish a lot in Poland. But I didn’t want to be a Communist and after I declared, “forget it, I’m not going to be a Communist”, they persecuted me. So, practically, it would not be possible for me to do any research in Poland. I arrived in the United States on the 4th of September 1970.

You began working at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston?

I was not employed for 6 weeks, then I got the appointment at Baylor in the position of research assistant. A couple of years later I became Assistant Professor.

I have read that your cancer research was motivated by your observation of a cancer patient in Poland that was missing a particular peptide in their blood, is this correct?

Well Yes. First I discovered some peptide fractions in blood and then I was trying to determine their significance. This means that I was screening the blood samples from people who suffer from various illnesses, among them cancer patients. I found some remarkable changes in concentration of these Peptides in cancer patients. Basically there was a great deficiency of these Peptide fractions in the blood of cancer patients.

What are peptides and how did your research develop from there to developing Antineoplastons?

Peptides are chains of Amino Acids, so if you put together 2 Amino Acids, you have a Peptide.

You have said, "Cancer is really a disease of cells that are not programmed correctly. Antineoplastons simply reprogram them so that they behave normally again."

They do, but we are not really interested in making normal cells out of cancer cells. What we are interested in is correcting one basic difference between cancer cells and normal cells, and this is the mortality of normal cells and the immortality of cancer cells. Cancer cells are immortal. And if you change them into mortal cells again they will die and the tumor will disappear.

I read a humorous part in Daniel Haley's chapter about you in his book, "Politics in Medicine." He says that initially you derived Antineoplastons from your friends blood, but had to change because your friends stopped coming around, is that correct?

Certainly it was difficult to obtain a lot of blood for the research. It was a necessity to look for a source that is widely available. I realized from the very beginning that once I use urine, my critics will use this against me; try to just smear me, “That’s the doctor who is using urine to treat cancer.” But there was no other way to do it.

There are plenty of ignorant remarks about your treatment because it used to be derived from human urine. The process you use now does not involve collecting human urine. Please describe the complete process you use.

Ever since 1980, we are using synthetic analogues of Antineoplastons, made in a state-of-the art biomedical manufacturing facility. These have nothing to do with urine or blood.

Would you describe Antineoplastons as natural?

They are natural of course, they exist in our body.

Your treatment does require a strong commitment from your patients as they must be infused with Antineoplastons for many weeks or months, is that correct?

But most of our patients are taking oral formulations. I would say that perhaps 15% of our patients are taking intravenous infusions of Antineoplastons; the rest take capsules or tablets.

The patients who have the most advanced type of cancer will require heavy dosages. There is a limitation of how much medicine you can take by mouth. Fifty or sixty tablets a day, that’s pretty much all you can take by mouth. But if you give intravenous infusion you can deliver the equivalent of 3,000 tablets a day.

You went into private practice in 1977. How was this funded?

Well, I started private practice in 1973. It was not necessary for me to have any funding, because I joined with other physicians.

Is it true that Dr. Mask at a hospital in Jacksboro, Texas ran your first human clinical trial? What types of cancers did you treat? What were the results of these trials?

I would not call it a clinical trial, because only two patients received initial treatment. They were very advanced, close to death and unfortunately, both of them died. But these cases were not lost because we found we can administer Antineoplastons without having bad side effects.

What is the general side effect experienced by your patients when using Antineoplastons? Does it damage the immune system as chemotherapy does?

We are not talking about one medicine; we tried 12 different pharmaceutical formulations. Basically it depends what formulation we use, but when we give them orally, we see practically no side effects at all. Patients may develop skin rash, which may last for a day or two.

But, when we give large dosages intravenously, we have to watch fluid balance…and electrolyte balance. We don’t see any delayed toxicity once the treatment stops. Everything practically goes back to normal within say a day or two. It does not even come close to the adverse reactions that you experience with chemotherapy.

What is the cost today for a patient using your treatment in a pill form and do insurance companies pay for it? *

Well basically, we do not charge patients for medicines, Antineoplastons are given free of charge. What we are charging for are supplies, and we are charging for standard services such as office visits, nursing services, Lab tests, consultation, evaluation etc. And these services are priced the same way as the average medical services, and they are covered by the insurance.

*(Gavin. Insurance companies will rarely pay for Antineoplastons, which is considered an experimental treatment. It also depends on the type of insurance plan someone may be on.)

So if a patient were using the pills, what would it normally cost per month.

About $2,000 a month.

Antineoplastons is most effective against brain cancer, is that correct?

Well, it’s not really correct. Because brain tumors are very difficult to treat, we concentrate our efforts on the toughest type of cancers. Out of our clinical trials, we have eight that came to the final point, which means they proved that there is some efficacy, and six of these are in various types of brain tumors. But there is another clinical trial, which deals with advanced colon cancer, which also proved efficacy and another one with liver cancer. But we still need to wait a little longer to have a larger number of patients treated and then statistically find out if this is going to work.

Basically the treatment works when we have involvement of the gene, which can be activated by Antineoplastons, and such genes, like gene p 53, are involved in 50% of all cancers. The treatment turns on gene p 53. So it has more to do with what kind of gene the patient has in his cancer cell, rather than the type of cancer.

Is there a special diet to follow when using your treatment?

Yes, since we are expecting there may be some changes in minerals, we usually emphasize a diet that is relatively low in sodium. We treat every patient individually. Every patient has a consultation with a dietary expert who tries to individualize his diet

Is your treatment being used in any other countries?

Yes, we have people coming to us from all over the world. I think we can probably count easily 70 to a 100 countries from which people are coming. But the main effort is now in Japan, outside the US. In Japan there are 2 clinical trials being conducted by Japanese doctors. Also, a group of doctors in Mexico obtained approval from the FDA and Mexican government to do clinical trials.

Now I have several related questions about brain cancer in children.

Dustin Kunnari and Dr. Burzynski. Dustin is one of Dr. Burzynski’s great success stories.

Dustin had brain surgery at 2 ½ years old. The surgery removed only 75% of the tumor.

Dustin’s parents, Mariann and Jack, were told that Dustin would only live for 6 months. Chemotherapy and radiation may extend Dustin’s life slightly, but at a very high cost in quality of life with very serious side effects.

Mariann and Jack decided to look into alternatives. They found out about Antineoplastons and after only 6 weeks of intravenous treatment, Dustin’s MRI showed he was cancer free.

 

One year later another tumor appeared on the MRI. By this time Dr. Burzynski had developed a more concentrated form of Antineoplastons. After 5 months the tumor was gone. Dustin has remained cancer free ever since and was taken off Antineoplastons when he was 7. Dustin is 12 today.

About how many children suffer from brain cancer in the US each year?

The statistics are available for 1999. The new cases of brain tumors in children were counted as 2,200. Now around 3,000, I would say.

Approximately what percentage of children is still alive after 5 years using orthodox treatments for brain cancer?

It depends on the type of tumor and it’s location, some of the toughest are those that are located in the brain stem. Up to 5 years, you have practically no survival when you use the best treatment available, which is radiation therapy. Chemotherapy usually doesn’t work for such patients. After 2 years, 7 % survival. After 5 years, practically none.

Dustin, after brain surgery.

To further complicate matters, Dustin’s oncologist kept threatening his parents with a court proceeding to take Dustin away and force him to take Chemotherapy/Radiation treatment.

This continued for a year, even after Dustin’s success with Antineoplastons.

Please see the Burzynski Patients web site for more information,
http:// www.burzynskipatientgroup.org

You may also e-mail Mary Jo Siegel, the lady who runs the web site. Mary is also a cancer survivor using Antineoplastons.
maryjo@siegel.net

Is it correct to say you have had very good results when treating brain cancer in children?

Yes we have. I gave you the example of the toughest, which is located in the brain stem. We get about 40% survival rates after two years. After 5 years at the moment we have about 20% survival rate. The reason is that most of the patients who come to us, have received prior heavy radiation therapy, or chemotherapy. They usually die from complications from these treatments. Those who survive the longest are patients who previously did not receive radiation therapy or chemotherapy. The longest survivor in this category is now reaching 15 years from the time of diagnosis; and she’s in perfect health.

With the more common variety, which is aciotoma located outside the brain stem, we get much, much better. We have 75% of patients who are objectively responding to the treatment. This means that the tumor will disappear completely or will be reduced by more than 50%.

This is another strong point. It’s extremely important. Children are usually damaged for life after radiation therapy, when we can avoid it and bring them back to life.

What criteria must parents of children with brain cancer meet before being able to have their children treated by you?

Well, practically all of these brain tumors must be inoperable. This means that it’s not possible to remove them with surgery. Except for one category, they should have advanced disease. The tumor should have the size of more than 5 mm in diameter and be located in a place that cannot be operated upon.

There is one category of these tumors, medulloblastoma, where the FDA requires that the patients would receive prior standard treatment and fail before we can accept them. In the rest of these children we can accept them without failure of prior treatment.

Roy , a more recent patient of Dr. Burzynski’s.

Please see the Burzynski Patients web site for more information,
http:// www.burzynskipatientgroup.org


You may also e-mail Mary Jo Siegel, the lady who runs the web site. Mary is also a cancer survivor using Antineoplastons.
maryjo@siegel.net


 

 

 


Let us talk a little about some of your most successful stories using Antineoplastons with children. Probably the most remarkable case is that of Tori Moreno . In August 1998 Tori was diagnosed with a stage 4 brainstem glioma that was inoperable. Her parents were told she would die in a few days or at the most, a few weeks. When did you start treating her?

Tori had Stage 4 brain stem glioma. The tumor was too risky for surgery. She was diagnosed shortly after her birth. The tumor was very large, about 3 inches in the largest diameter and located in the brain stem. Her parents consulted the best centers in the country and they were told there was nothing to be done. So finally she was brought to us, when she was about 3 ½ months old. This was in October 5 years ago. She was in such condition that we were afraid that she might die at any time. Fortunately she responded, and about 5 months later we determined that she obtained a complete response, which means complete disappearance of active tumor by
MRI criteria. She is a perfectly healthy child and tumor free. She still takes small dosages of capsules of Antineoplastons, but we will discontinue this shortly.

Tori Moreno 9.28.98. Temporarily enlarged due to taking Decadron.

Tori’s parents were told there was nothing that could be done for her and she would be dead in a few weeks.

Tori is alive and well today thanks to Antineoplastons. See photo below.

At the end of this interview, there is a short interview with Kim Moreno, Tori’s mother.

Kim Moreno has set-up a Yahoo e-mail account to answer peoples cancer related questions.
kimmoreno5@yahoo.com

 

 

 

And today she is over 5 years old?

Yes, she’s 5 years old and living a pretty much normal life.

Tori 22.10.02. A perfectly healthy child. Orthodox treatment consists of high does of radiation therapy and possibly toxic chemotherapy as well. Most of the children are dead in a few years. The ones that survive suffer from permanent retardation, along with other serious side effects from the radiation.

Please do not forget about the interview with Kim Moreno, Tori’s mother, at the end of this interview.

But mainstream medicine has been trying to kill the cancer cell using chemotherapy and radiation, is that correct?

That’s right, yes.

Chemotherapy and radiation cannot differentiate between healthy and cancerous cells?

They can differentiate to some point, but basically, this difference is very small, so ultimately, the normal cells will be killed.

Is that why they have such a terrible effect on the immune system?

That’s right, not only the immune system, but also many other systems in the body. Practically, the treatment is destroying healthy parts of the body.

Chemotherapy and radiation also cause cancer, don't they?

Yes. For instance right now we see a lot of patients who in childhood were successfully treated for leukemia or for Hodgkin’s disease. Then they develop cancer that is practically incurable, like lung cancer, breast cancers; I even encountered a patient in my practice that developed three different types of cancers, and was only 28 years of age. First she was treated for Hodgkin’s Disease, then she developed bone cancer in the places which were radiated for Hodgkin’s Disease, and then she developed breast cancer after that; it’s really horrible. So there is increased incidence of secondary cancers in patients who were treated previously with chemotherapy and radiation.

Shontelle Huron. In remission for several years after using Antineoplastons.

Please see the Burzynski Patients web site for more information,
http:// www.burzynskipatientgroup.org

You may also e-mail Mary Jo Siegel, the lady who runs the web site. Mary is also a cancer survivor using Antineoplastons. maryjo@siegel.net

Ric and Paula Schiff write about the torture their daughter Crystin had to endure during chemotherapy/radiation treatment.

Crystin was diagnosed with perhaps the most malignant tumor known, which is a rhabdoid tumor of the brain. Of course, historically, there was no case of such a tumor ever having a long response to chemotherapy or radiation therapy. She received extremely heavy does of radiation therapy and chemotherapy, because nobody expected that she would live longer than a year or so. So unfortunately she was terribly damaged with this. She responded very well to Antineoplastons. We put her in complete response. But unfortunately she died from pneumonia. Her immune system was wiped out, so when she aspirated some food, she died from it. The autopsy revealed that she didn’t have any sign of malignancy.

But there are also likely permanent severe health concerns related to taking chemotherapy and radiation.

In young children there is permanent damage to the brain. Unfortunately some oncologists who are dealing with such cases are really cruel to the parents, because they are saying, “well, your child will survive, but you are going to have a jolly idiot for the rest of your life.”

Is it true that if parents refuse chemotherapy/radiation treatment for their children the hospital, via the courts, could have the child removed from the parents care and forced to take chemotherapy/radiation treatment?

Yes, unfortunately in some States, the law may require taking children away from the custody of the parents to send them to such treatments.

Jared Wadman. In remission for several years after using Antineoplastons.

Please see the Burzynski Patients web site for more information,
http:// www.burzynskipatientgroup.org

You may also e-mail Mary Jo Siegel, the lady who runs the web site. Mary is also a cancer survivor using Antineoplastons.
maryjo@siegel.net

Isn't this what happened to Donna and Jim Navarro when they chose your treatment over orthodox treatments?

That is correct. Thomas Navarro was diagnosed with medulloblastoma. He was operated on and the tumor was removed. Then he was scheduled for radiation therapy. Since he was only 4 years old, the parents knew that he’d be damaged by radiation therapy. Nobody at his age survives this type of tumor anyway after radiation therapy. So that’s why they decided to come to our clinic. Unfortunately I could not treat him because FDA requires failure of radiation therapy for such patients.

And tragically he died in November 2001.

What happened was, the parents decided not to take any treatment. We asked the FDA several times to allow administration of Antineoplastons, because we have already had successful treatments for some other children without any prior radiation. Then ultimately he developed numerous tumors in May the following year. Then we suggested to the parents of Thomas, that if they are not going to take our treatment, they should go for at least chemotherapy. They went for chemotherapy to one of the best centers in the country, to Beth Israel Hospital in New York. The chemotherapy was successful, but he almost died from it. It severely affected his bone marrow. I remember a phone call from Thomas’s father telling me that the doctors are thinking that they won’t do anything else for him and that Thomas will die within a week because of severe suppression of bone marrow.

But I encouraged his father to do whatever is possible because such patients may turn around. Fortunately he turned around, but about a month or two later he developed 15 tumors in the brain and the spinal cord. Then, when he was close to death, when nothing was available for him, the FDA called us and told us now we can treat Thomas. When we treated Thomas he survived 6 months, and the tumors had substantially decreased, but ultimately he died from pneumonia.

Is it accurate to say that the initial orthodox treatment for brain cancer is surgery to remove the tumor?

If the tumor is located in the proper part of the brain. For some locations it is out of the question. But, you are right, that is the first step.

Does surgery alone ever cure a patient with brain cancer?

Well, some cases, with benign brain tumors, when the tumor can be completely dissected, yes, it’s possible. But in most cases it’s not possible.

How much of a risk does surgery present regarding spreading the cancer more quickly and other complications?

Well, not so much regarding spreading the cancer more quickly in the case of brain tumors. Such a spread may happen only with a small percentage of brain tumors that have the highest aggressiveness. But for most of the patients the tumor is not going to spread just because of surgery. Certainly surgery may damage the brain and patients may even die during the surgery. It’s not the ideal thing to do of course because you are removing the tumor and you are removing a healthy part of the brain at the same time. The patient may be permanently damaged by such procedures.

Would you warn against rushing into surgery in light of how effective your treatment is? Would you most times recommend trying your treatment first?

We really would like to know what we are dealing with. This means that we would like to have at least a biopsy; if by chance it’s not going to create sufficient risk for the patient. If the tumor was located in such a place in the brain where surgery is possible, then certainly we could try to remove the tumor. But I think it would be best if we can treat the patient with brain intact and get rid of the tumor completely, because then we risk the least damage possible.

Now I will turn my attention to your legal battles with the FDA. They began in 1983 when they sued you in civil court, is this correct?

In 1983, that was the first court battle with the FDA. The FDA sued us. It took about 6 weeks in court and again, we won.

Then there was an enormous raid by the FDA at your offices on July 17, 1985. What was the reason for this raid?

We were never given a reason. I think there was a concentrated action against a few alternative medicine centers because at the same time there were similar actions in the Bahamas and in some other places.

In the four court cases the FDA has brought against you, have any of your patients testified against you?

Well, on their own will, nobody testified against us. But the FDA encouraged some of our patients, and threatened them in various ways. They forced them to come to the witness stand. But really, once they were on the witness stand they behaved more like our witnesses, not FDA witnesses.

According to Daniel Haley, after the FDA lost its last court case against you in 1997, Congressman Richard Burr said it was "one of the worst abuses of the criminal justice system". Did Burr ever speak to you about it?

Yes, we talk with Congressman Burr. I believe he is right, because certainly there was no reason for such massive action on the part of the FDA. They knew that the treatment works; that the treatment helps patients, that the patients will die if they win, so they should not do it. All of this was with the taxpayer’s money.

So the FDA has wasted many millions of taxpayer dollars trying to convict you on false charges of transporting Antineoplastons across State lines. What was the motivation for this vendetta?

Well, it’s hard to tell, because it was never properly investigated; why they did it. But, we have some leads. For instance, on one side you have a large pharmaceutical company, which was very interested in getting hold of our patents; this is Elan Pharmaceutical. It happened that I treated successfully a close relative to the CEO of Elan. Elan became very interested in what we have. They came close to signing a final license agreement. But after they learned what we have, they decided to withdraw and then suddenly the FDA and NCI gave their full support to Elan, to do clinical trials with one of the ingredients of Antineoplastons, phenylacetate.

This was a large pharmaceutical company that was trying to appropriate my invention. On the other hand, within the FDA and NCI you have had people who were working closely with this company. For instance Mary Pendergast, who was responsible for the legal action against us, became Vice President of Elan. Also Doctor Michael Friedman, who was initially in charge of NCI cancer research, and who knew that our treatment works, later became commissioner of FDA and he did whatever he could to put us out of business. Not only that, but to simply destroy me.

On the other hand, suddenly the government decided to file for the patents, which claimed the same thing that our patents did. Never in the history of the United States do you have the issuance of two patents for the same invention. It was really a breach of patent procedure. The patent office allowed them to patent something I invented, and which I patented. And dishonest scientist Dr. Dvorit Samid, who initially worked for us, was receiving funds from us and finally went for the higher bidder (Elan).

So you have a lot of leads, which indicate that there was something between the government, dishonest scientists like Dvorit Samid and the large pharmaceutical company, Elan. And it was in best interests for them to get rid of me, destroy me, so they could appropriate my discoveries and benefit from that.

When did you initially apply for your Investigational New Drug (IND)?

We applied in May 1983.

When did you receive it?

Well, it took an extremely long time. Ultimately most of our clinical trials began in 1996, a long time after that. FDA did not allow us to proceed with clinical trials for an extremely long time. Please click here to read the
conclusion of this interview

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