Clinical trials

Respectful Insolence

Category archives for Clinical trials

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in. OK, I know I use that line entirely too much, but I also don’t really care. When something fits, wear it. And if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit. Sorry, I’ll stop. I’m in a weird mood as I write this. But it’s…

That naturopathy is a veritable cornucopia of quackery mixed with the odd sensible, science-based suggestion here and there is not in doubt, at least not to supporters of science-based medicine (SBM). However, what naturopaths are very good at doing is representing their pseudoscience as somehow being scientific and thus on par with actual SBM. So…

I’m not alone in pointing this out, but if there’s one thing about research and clinical trials into “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) that has become very apparent to me over the years, it’s that the more rigorous the study the less likely it is to show an effect. In normal research, the usual progression…

A key pillar of the Stanislaw Burzynski antineoplaston marketing machine, a component of the marketing strategy without which his clinic would not be able to attract nearly as many desperate cancer patients to Houston for either his antineoplaston therapy (now under a temporary shutdown by the FDA that, if science were to reign, will become…

I’ve been very, very critical of a self-proclaimed cancer doctor named Stanislaw Burzynski, who is not an oncologist but somehow has managed over the last 36 years to treat patients with unapproved cancer drugs, list dozens of phase 2 clinical trials in ClinicalTrials.gov but never publish a completed one (at least to this date), and…

Stem cells are magical, mystical things that can’t be explained. At least, if you listen to what docs and “practitioners” who run stem cell clinics in various parts of the world, usually where regulation is lax and money from First World clientele is much sought after, that’s what you could easily come to believe. Unfortunately,…

Politics versus scientific peer review

In the United States, the federal government has long had a prominent role in funding science research. Be it the $30 billion a year or so that funds the National Institutes of Health or the $5 or $6 billion a year allotted to the National Science Foundation, the government funds a lot of basic and…

So now we know. Back when it was announced that the second Burzynski movie by Eric Merola would be screened at the Newport Beach Film Festival on April 27, Merola announced that there would be a “special celebrity guest.” Those of us who have been following Burzynski for a while scratched our heads, not knowing…

If there is one aspect of cranks that is almost universal (besides the aforementioned tendency to want to prove themselves through things like “live televised debates“), it’s a tendency to want to shut down the criticism of its opposition. True, such a tendency is a human trait as well and used far too often by,…

About a month ago, Eric Merola screened his second movie about “brave maverick doctor” Stanislaw Burzynski, Burzynski: Cancer Is A Serious Business, Part 2 (henceforth referred to as “Burzynski II”), a screening that Brian Thompson and an unnamed colleague from the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) attended, took notes, and even managed to ask a…

If there’s one thing that a certain subset of people who view themselves as reasonable and science-based don’t like, it’s harshness: Harshness in criticism, harshness in discussion, or—horror of horrors!—anything they view as “incivility.” That’s all well and good as far as it goes, but the problem is that sometimes there are things that demand…

One of the more depressing things about getting much more interested in the debate over how we should screen for common cancers, particularly breast and prostate cancer, is my increasing realization of just how little physicians themselves understand about the complexities involved in weighing the value of such tests. It’s become increasingly apparent to me…

I got a bit behind on my work yesterday, so I’ll be brief. Yesterday, the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) announced its annual Pigasus Awards. Sadly, each and every year, there are far more “deserving” candidates than there are awards to give. However, this year marks something awesome, namely the first time the prize has…

When I wrote about the Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT) trial last week, little did I suspect that I would be revisiting the topic again so soon. For those of you not familiar with TACT, it was a trial designed to test a favorite quack treatment for cardiovascular disease, chelation therapy. It is, as…

Here we go again. Every time I think I can get away from this topic for a while, I get sucked back in. Indeed, it seems that hardly a week can go by when I don’t find myself pulled inexorably back to this horrible, horrible clinic and what I consider to be the abuses of…

R.I.P., Seán Ó’Laighin

This will be an uncharacteristically short (for Orac) post. A couple of months ago, I wrote about the sad story of a young man from Ireland named Seán Ó’Laighin diagnosed with an inoperable brainstem glioma at age 19. Even more sadly, this young man heard about the Burzynski Clinic in Houston and believed the claims…

Film producer Eric Merola seems to think that there is a conspiracy of skeptics (whom he calls The Skeptics) hell bent on harassing his hero, Brave Maverick Doctor Stanislaw Burzynski. According to his latest film Burzynski: Cancer Is A Serious Business, Part 2 (henceforth referred to as Burzynski II, to distinguish it from Merola’s first…

With very limited exceptions, chelation therapy is, as I said before in my somewhat Insolent opinion, is pure quackery. The sole exception is for real, documented cases of acute heavy metal poisoning that are known to respond to chelation, such as iron overload due to transfusion, aluminum overload due to hemodialysis, copper toxicity due to…

So I finally made it to the Society of Surgical Oncology Annual Symposium. Thanks to the snowstorm that apparently wasn’t (at least, I don’t see any snow around), my arrival was delayed by a day, as all flights to the Washington, DC area were canceled on Wednesday. But I did finally get here, and, although…

About a week and a half ago, I noted that the FDA had apparently paid every skeptic’s favorite cancer doctor who is not an oncologist, Stanislaw Burzynski, a visit, while taking notice of a particularly credulous piece of puff journalism that portrayed Dr. Burzynski as a “brave maverick doctor” fighting The Man, who (of course)…

Earlier this week, there was a very bad, very credulous story was broadcast. Now, I realize that this is not an uncommon occurrence. Indeed, I’m sure that this sort of thing happens pretty much every day somewhere in the country and even on national media, but on this particular occasion the story was about a…

The weekend was busy, and I was working on grants, which meant that I could only come up with one post of Orac-style length and depth. Sadly, it wasn’t for this blog. Fortunately, C0nc0rdance came to the rescue with a must-watch video about our old friend Stanislaw Burzynski. He’s the guy who claims to treat…

Three years ago, the influenza season was a really big deal. The reason, of course, is that the 2009-2010 flu season was dominated by fears of the H1N1 strain, so much so that it was a rare flu season that there were two recommended vaccines, one for the originally expected strains of flu and one…

While I’m using my blog as an announcement platform today, I would be remiss not to mention that tomorrow is Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski’s birthday, and the Skeptics for the Protection of Cancer Patients are still raising money for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in order to try to get Dr. Burzynski to do something good for…