R.I.P., McKenzie Lowe. Unfortunately, Stanislaw Burzynski was no more able to save you than anyone else, his claims of great success treating pediatric brain tumors notwithstanding:
HUDSON — Thirteen-year-old Hudson resident McKenzie Lowe died Friday evening after a 2-year-battle against an aggressive and inoperable brain stem tumor.
McKenzie died at 10:27 p.m. in her own bed at her home in Hudson.
McKenzie was diagnosed on Nov. 28, 2012 with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG, a brain tumor located on the brain stem. Patients with DIPG typically survive for less than a year.
Months before her death, McKenzie underwent a controversial cancer treatment called antineoplaston therapy. She underwent chemotherapy and more than 40 kinds of radiation in 2013, but the treatments made her sick and tired. Her parents came across the therapy while looking for another alternative treatment.
Developed by Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski of Texas, the treatment was administered for 20 hours a day for six to eight weeks. McKenzie wore a backpack that would carry around the bag of liquid antineoplastons.
I can’t tell you how much this news saddens me, although it does not surprise me at all. Burzynski has yet to publish a truly completed clinical trial demonstrating the efficacy and safety of antineoplastons (although he has published partial clinical trials that were badly designed and badly reported). My heart truly goes out to the Lowes, although I fear that, if they know about me at all, they view me in the same way all too many of those who have fallen under Burzynski’s spell do: As someone actively trying to prevent them and parents like them from saving their children’s lives. In reality, what I and other skeptics are trying to do is to prevent children like McKenzie Lowe from suffering the risks of antineoplastons with no hope of benefit and families like the Lowes from paying boatloads of money for the privilege. We all have an idea of how desperate and sad families like the Lowes must be; it’s a horrible thing to face the loss of a child. What makes it worse is chasing after fantastical cures, like those claimed by Burzynski.
I’ve written about McKenzie Lowe on more than one occasion. As hard as it is to believe, the first time I wrote about her in detail was nearly a year ago, when she first came to my attention as the then-newest patient of Houston physician Stanislaw Burzynski. After a year of having fought her DIPG, her parents, unfortunately, were seduced by the siren sound of Burzynski’s antineoplastons, amino acid derivatives originally isolated from the blood and urine and then later chemically synthesized and manufactured by Burzynski.
At the time, Lowe was just the latest victim of a nearly four decades-old scam that began all way back in the late 1970s, where, after several years as a legitimate scientist at Baylor, Burzynski turned to the dark side and started administering his antineoplaston concoctions to actual patients. As I like to put it, Stanislaw Burzynski became Burzynski, the brave maverick doctor. So confident was he that his discovery was a breakthrough in the treatment of cancer that he struck out on his own to form his own clinic and, later, own manufacturing facility to make antineoplastons.
Since that time, Burzynski’s legend grew in the alternative cancer cure community, among whom over the years he managed to build a reputation for himself as the one man who could cure incurable brain tumors. It was a claim he could get away with in those heady early years in the late 1970s through the 1980s. After all, then all he had were testimonials, rather than clinical trials, and we all know how testimonials can deceive and how outlier patients who survive deadly tumors can have an outsized influence on the reputation of a cancer quack. Then, of course, these were pre-Internet days, where stories, anecdotes, and testimonials were swapped by word of mouth, pamphlets, and mimeographed newsletters. Once enough “buzz” developed, Burzynski made it to the big time, appearing on Sally Jessy Raphael’s daytime television show with four “miracle patients” claimed to have had incurable cancer and failed conventional therapies before finding Burzynski. In the show, they claimed to be cancer-free. Four years later, Inside Edition reported that two of the four patients had died and a third had suffered a recurrence, while the fourth had had a bladder cancer with a favorable prognosis. The widow of one of Raphael’s guests stated that her husband and five others from the same city had sought treatment with Burzynski and that all had died of their cancers.
In the 1990s, thanks to the rise of the precursor to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), the federal government was actually taking interest in alternative cancer cures and tried to work with Burzynski. The results were a disaster, with constant conflict. Then, in 1995, Burzynski was charged with insurance fraud for charging insurance companies for his non-FDA-approved treatments. He got off, but it was worse than that. Not only did Burzynski get off, but, because a powerful Representative, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), was putting near constant pressure on the FDA for “persecuting” Burzynski, he was given a golden opportunity by the FDA to “legitimize” his quackery. Basically, the FDA caved and agreed to let Burzynski do clinical trials. Here’s what Burzynski’s lawyer, Richard Jaffe, later wrote about those clinical trials:
So we decided to hit the FDA with everything at the same time. All of his current patients would be covered in a single clinical trial which Burzynski called “CAN-1.” As far as clinical trials go, it was a joke. Clinical trials are supposed to be designed to test the safety or efficacy of a drug for a disease. It is almost always the case that clinical trials treat one disease.
The CAN-1 protocol had almost two hundred patients in it and there were at least a dozen different types of cancers being treated. And since all the patients were already on treatment, there could not be any possibility of meaningful data coming out of the so-called clinical trial. It was all an artifice, a vehicle we and the FDA created to legally give the patients Burzynski’s treatment. The FDA wanted all of Burzynski’s patients to be on an IND, so that’s what we did.
According to Jaffe, it was not because Burzynski was so interested in knowledge and finding out whether ANPs work. It was because he already believed they worked and wanted to keep treating patients without interference:
CAN-1 allowed Burzynski to treat all his existing patients. That solved the patients’ problems, but not the clinic’s. A cancer clinic cannot survive on existing patients. It needs a constant flow of new patients. So in addition to getting the CAN-1 trial approved, we had to make sure Burzynski could treat new patients. Mindful that he would likely only get one chance to get them approved, Burzynski personally put together seventy-two protocols to treat every type of cancer the clinic had treated and everything Burzynski wanted to treat in the future…Miracle of miracles, all of Burzynski’s patients were now on FDA-approved clinical trials, and he would be able to treat almost any patient he would want to treat!
This is how, 20 years after Burzynski had started treating cancer patients, the FDA “legitimized” him by giving him the chance to enroll nearly all his patients in clinical trials. Because they were all phase 1/2 clinical trials directed against deadly diseases, they didn’t necessarily have to be randomized placebo-controlled trials. So what Burzynski did was to completely abuse the clinical trial process, charging enormous sums of money to enroll desperate patients in his clinical trials. He also abused the process of issuing single patient INDs (colloquially known as “compassionate use exemptions”). More recently, Burzynski had come to my attention in a big way when one of his minions started issuing legal threats against online critics, after which I reviewed a propaganda movie made by a man named Eric Merola, a film that had served as an excellent advertising vehicle for the Burzynski Clinic.
Eleven months ago, when the Lowes were ensnared, no small part due to Merola’s propaganda “documentary,” Burzynski had just suffered the PR hit of a huge article in USA TODAY documenting how the death of a child as a complication of his antineoplaston therapy had resulted in an FDA site visit and investigation, as well as a partial clinical hold, first on all his pediatric clinical trials, then on all his adult clinical trials as well. In the meantime, all he had left was his “gene-targeted” cancer therapy, or, as I like to call it, gene-targeted cancer therapy for dummies based on ignorance, and that wasn’t going so well.
So Burzynski went back to doing what he does so well, what served him so well in the 1990s: Using desperate cancer patients, especially children, as shields and weapons against the FDA. McKenzie Lowe was the first of these after the revelations of the USA TODAY story that I noticed, but there were others, one of whom was even the wife of a rock star, Liza Cozad, the wife of the drummer in Sammy Hagar’s band.
Unfortunately, ultimately, much to the shock, horror, and amazement the FDA caved and lifted the partial clinical holds on Burzynski’s clinical trials earlier this year. I have no way of knowing whether the PR campaign using dying cancer patients worked—although it did net Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) into writing a letter to the FDA requesting that its leadership let McKenzie Lowe receive antineoplastons—actually worked or whether the FDA was somehow convinced by Burzynski’s responses to its findings that he was going to clean up his act in spited of a long, long history on his part of telling the FDA what it wanted to hear and promising to be real, real good again and then going back to his old ways. Either way, it was a horrifically irresponsible decision, a complete abdication of the FDA’s duty to protect patients from ineffective and dangerous drugs.
If any other evidence of the FDA’s depraved and utter failure with respect to Burzynski were needed, what happened next seals it. The Lowes found a retired family practitioner named Dr. Terry Bennett who had had his own battles with the FDA to obtain a drug for himself and his cancer. Despite having originally promised to supply antineoplastons for free to any patients who were allowed access by the FDA under compassionate use protocols, Burzynski then proceeded immediately to be Burzynski and...well, let me just cite an article at the time quoting Dr. Bennett:
Bennett's decision was based, in part, on a newspaper article that said Burzynski had agreed to donate the medicine required for McKenzie's treatment. But what Bennett didn't know is that Burzynki planned to charge the family for the clinical costs associated with the therapy.
LaFountain said the first month's bill is expected to be $28,000. Every month after that is expected to cost $16,000. The treatment usually lasts eight to 12 months.
And health insurance won't cover a dime of it.
The Lowe family has started a GoFundMe.org (GoFundMe.com/9a4geo) account, which raised over $5,800 as of June 17. And they set up an account with the Digital Federal Credit Union in Hudson that also has been taking donations.
Which led to Bennett’s lament:
Bennett said he will not withdraw his sponsorship of McKenzie, despite the cost of treatment. But he's extremely upset over what he calls a very disturbing phone call that he received on May 28.
Bennett says a representative of the Burzynski Clinic called him on that date seeking payment for the first month of McKenzie's therapy. Prior to that, Bennett, who is donating his services, thought Burzynski was doing the same.
Instead, said Bennett, “I'm supposed to be the bag man for all of this. They want me to collect the 30 grand for the family and send it to Burzynski.”
Elsewhere, Bennett observed, “It meets all the criteria for a bait and switch operation.”
Bennett really shouldn’t be surprised. That’s what you sign on for when you deal with Burzynski. All it would have taken is a little due diligence and some Google searches on Burzynski to discover that this is how he operates. He’s long claimed that he provides antineoplastons for free and that his charges are “case management” fees and charges for the pump and supplies. Again, that’s how he’s operated for at least a decade. Moreover, it’s not as though Burzynski ever promised to provide free care. He just promised free antineoplastons, which is what he’s basically always done, while charging tens of thousands of dollars a month for other things. Unfortunately, Bennett ended up being a dupe, an unwitting accomplice to Burzynski’s operation. In the belief that he was helping them, he helped Burzynski extract large amounts of cash from them while helping to oversee pumping a bunch of useless chemicals into a dying child. Worse, I think he eventually realized it. I’m as angry about this as William London, but, sadly, I’m not surprised.
Recently, Burzynski has published a press release claiming that the FDA has given permission for the Burzynski Research Institute to conduct new clinical trial of antineoplastons against DIPG:
Burzynski Research Institute, Inc. (BRI) announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given the company permission to conduct an open-label study of Antineoplastons A10 and AS2-1 in patients > 3 months of age with a diffuse intrinsic brainstem glioma (DIPG). Study subjects will be placed in one of five treatment groups based on their age and whether or not they have received prior treatment for DIPG. The primary study endpoint is a decrease in the size of the tumor, either a partial response (≥ 50% decrease in the size of the tumor) or a complete response (disappearance of the tumor). The study is in its final organizational stage and will begin accruing patients as soon as this organizational stage is completed.
An open-label study? That basically means it’s completely unblinded. Blinding isn’t as important for studies like this looking at objective endpoints, but we all know that Burzynski is not known for being good at measuring tumor sizes on scans. For such studies, at the very least the radiologists interpreting the scans should be blinded to experimental group. More importantly, how big is this study? A study with five experimental groups is going to require a lot of patients in order to have the power to detect statistically significant results that aren’t so obvious that you don’t need statistics to see them. In any case, the study isn’t in ClinicalTrials.gov; so it clearly hasn’t even been submitted to the FDA, much less approved, yet. My guess? This is yet another mechanism by which Burzynski will suck unwitting patients and families in.
The Texas Medical Board has finally gotten off of its posterior again and is going after Burzynski, but the hearing isn’t expected until early next year. It’s become increasingly clear to me that the FDA is never going to stop Burzynski—ever—which is one reason why I have nothing but contempt for health freedom activists and “right to try” advocates who portray the FDA as a bunch of jackbooted thugs controlling everything. Such a view has nothing to do with reality, as the impotence of the FDA in the face of Stanislaw Burzynski demonstrates conclusively. That just leaves the Texas Medical Board.
I fear that patients with cancer are screwed, at least until Burzynski retires or dies. Weep for McKenzie Lowe. No child should suffer the fate she did, nor should any family have to endure the pain of watching a child die. But weep also for all the other children treated by Burzynski in all the years that our ineffective regulatory apparatus let him continue to practice. They deserve a share of the blame for having failed to stop Burzynski for 37 years.
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You say "I think [Bennett] eventually realized it." Is there a source for this, It would be a great help to the cause to have the word of an "insider" turned on Burzynski.
Have you tried to contact Bennett?
I was basing my assessment on what Bennett was quoted as saying in he two articles I linked to.
I am no admirer of DrB, the devil could take him, I wouldn't care. However, I am not so sure that "mainstream" is always less miserable and less expensive than Dr B. It's an ugly business with poor choices and answers.
The FDA failed in the 1990s partly because it was used to simply clubbing people it didn't like. The FDA was caught unprepared legally, technically and politically against a skilled and determined skirmisher like DrB. (That's not a compliment either)
Since I've been tending things cancer, I've picked up a friend whose kid has had a slower "hopeless" brain cancer. He's very knowledgeable, over the top on research, seen everybody everywhere, mainstream and otherwise. Mainstream failed, he's picking his shots now. He finally got some amazing scans of regression, with radiation + hyperbaric oxygen. I am glad he has had the ability to try as he saw fit and wonder if there will ever be any follow up in any of the institutions invested in other things. Oxygen is a lot cheaper...
How sad that Burzynski used this young girl's terminal cancer diagnosis for his own selfish gain.
How does he sleep at night, with the knowledge that McKenzie's last few months were wasted on his bogus treatments?
My deepest condolences to McKenzie's family and friends.
How does he sleep at night
Very well, I suspect. With that kind of income, he can easily afford a top quality mattress. And he's been in this business for nearly 40 years, so if there ever were any little voices in his head asking whether he was doing the right thing, they have long since been effectively silenced.
Condolences to the Lowe family.
Ah, blockquote fail.
Unfortunately, I'm at the age where I've seen the 'mainstream' approach to incurable illness: palliative care to improve quality of life, leading eventually to a dignified and as far as is possible peaceful death in the presence ones family and loved ones while in hospice.
Way better than what I've seen of people grasping at the straw of AN treatment.
...anytime Burzynski comes up in a discussion:
Burzynki has been giving AN treatments to patients for more than 3 decades under the legal fiction of conducting more than 60 Phase II clinical trials. He hasn't published any of them, but he himself knows what the otucomes were. There are really only two possibilities:
One, the data shows that they aren’t effective but he’s withholding publication in order to continue to run a lucrative practice ,providing desperate patients treatment he knows doesn’t work to reap significant financial gain.
In which case he’s the worst kind of conman.
Or the data show ANP’s do work, but he’s withholding publication in order to maintain a very lucrative monopoly on a cure for cancer, preventing it from being adopted as standard of care and denying the millions of cancer patients worldwide who can’t raise enough money to travel to Texas and be enrolled at his clinic access to a cure for the cancer that will kill them--again, to reap significant financial gain.
In which case he’s worse than just a conman–he’s a monster.
Ok fair enough. There are snake oil salesmen that sell overpriced dreck. One problem that I see here is that everything seems to get the bums rush, some without genuine understanding or investigation.
Many statements here betray no idea what treatment protocols should be expected to work. It is easy to give "failing examples" when using grossly erroneous protocols and materials.
....protocols in other CAM areas, I am not defending DrB.
Depends on what you are comparing. If you are comparing unapproved experimental drugs (ANPs) against unapproved experimental drugs (legitimate trials), I would be willing to bet that Burzynski is far and away more expensive, since people running legitimate clinical trials don't charge out the nose for the "privilege" of being a volunteer. Now, if you are comparing the unapproved ANPs against approved treatments, then maybe you might have a point.
But then, you'd be comparing apples and oranges.
I may have misnderstood your point, so my answer may be off the target.
Before something is rigorously tested, it's difficult to guess if it's going to work or not. So if you mean that the skeptical/mainstream side has to do some effort to stay open-minded, I could agree on that.
Except in cases where previous negative tests, or more generally the available knowledge, give us some justification for rejecting a procedure as unlikely to work.
Homeopathy, faith healing, and to a large extend acupuncture would fail under this - even if I'm no expert on medicine, I'm enough of a chemist and a biologist to have big doubts on these procedures.
The hyperbaric oxygen/radiation procedure you mentioned may be worth looking at, for all I know. But here, I'm speaking out of ignorance - I'm not an oncologist.
Actually, that may be the crux of the problem: for a number of alternative therapies, studies which used "grossly erroneous protocols and materials" are all we have to assess their merit.
The corollary, of course, is that when alternative therapies are investigated using non-erroneous protocols and materials--i.e., as part of a well-designed and appropriately controlled trial--they no longer seem to work. Funny that...
JGC: from the stuff quoted above, I'm starting to think it's neither. Burzynski isn't withholding data from his trials -- because frankly, he isn't *conducting* any trials. He's filing just enough paperwork to give the legal veneer of a trial. I doubt he's collecting any sort of data at all on his patients, other than what is required to send them the bill.
The real truth isn't that he knows they don't work or that he knows they do. The real truth, I suspect, is that he doesn't even care. They make money for him. That's all that matters.
Even if he isn't keeping records, he has to know the patient outcomes. If nothing else, i'm sure he's very aware of who's still surviving so his billing department can keep trying to collect from them.
The real truth, I suspect, is that he doesn’t even care. They make money for him. That’s all that matters.
I agree that this is close to the truth. Suppose I were a doctor claiming to have a novel cure for certain kinds of cancer. If I had any real confidence that it were a cancer cure, I would be trying to get funding for research that would prove me right--and remember that Burzynski has been at this since the 1970s, when NIH grants had a much higher success rate (and if that didn't work out, there are also a bunch of private foundations that would consider funding the research). If I saw it as a vehicle to a comfortable upper-class lifestyle, I would be more likely to do what Burzynski actually has done: sell it to willing patients for a price. The latter doesn't rule out the possibility that Burzynski knows ANPs don't work, but he is not acting like a scientist hot on the trail of an effective cancer treatment. Better for him if ANPs do work, but it's not necessary for him.
Since I am not a biomedical scientist, I don't know of a scientific reason why ANPs would or would not work. It's not obvious nonsense like homeopathy or theraputic touch that any reasonably well-educated adult (and in the latter case, a then nine-year-old girl) should be able to spot. What makes me suspicious is that Dr. B acts the way I would expect a con man to act.
"at least until Burzynski retires or dies"
The operation is too lucrative to give up. If B,S has any adult children it is likely to continue, unless they've somehow learned right from wrong and chosen the former.
Burzynski does have a son, I don't think he is a doctor but he has every reason to keep going after the old man shuffles off the mortal coil. I think Calli is right though, B doesn't care about the patients. All data that has been published (what little there is) shows his drugs to not work. They also have some very significant side effects even though he touts them as natural and side effect free. It is chemotherapy, and worse crappy chemotherapy. To see doctors and nurses from the large children's hospital talk about the patients they see (see some of Orac's previous posts I forget which one it is now) shows how the regular medical community sees B as a butcher of children. But there is precious little anyone can do, now that the FDA has completely caved (again) TMB can take another run but they haven't managed anything so far other than a slap on the wrist to some underlings before now. No B knows they don't work. He isn't interested in proving anything or he wouldn't have destroyed so many patient records and scans (as noted during the FDA investigation). The man is a monster. He certainly sleeps well at night psychopaths don't have a conscience to bother them.
"The real truth, I suspect, is that he doesn’t even care. They make money for him. That’s all that matters."
Calli probably has it spot on.
Sounds like this guy will be fleecing the desperate for as long as he chooses to keep doing it, with the FDA doing nothing about it.
Burzynski's son is indeed a doctor (educated in Poland) and is the vice president of the clinic. He's been "featured" in incriminating videos where he's misled and/or lied to prospective patients about receiving ANP. He's also appeared at at least one of Eric Merola's Q&A sessions, to drum up business for the family business, no doubt.
Orac very creatively calls him "Mni B."
Burzynski's wife is also an MD and works at the clinic.
"Mini B", that is.
If my math is right, Burnsinsky took in over $200,000 from the Lowe's. IANAL, so how is that not fraud?
Sadmar: The Fosters article linked above said the bills added to at least $44k for the 6-8 weeks she was on the treatment. McKenzie didn't tolerate the treatment so they took her off months before she died. Liza Cozad's bill was $30k for the first month and a lot each month after that.
So sad to hear another patient died. My condolences to the Lowes.
Question: I know that scientific freedom is important, but is there any cut-off point for trials? Ie. if someone has been submitting applications for years but never publishes, is there no ability to say "no you can't try this anymore". I guess I'm just wondering how much tension there is between giving a scientist the benefit of the doubt in order to foster continued research in any one area, vs the need to keep fraud at bay.
As for Burzynski himself, recall the articles where he sounded more like a businessman than a scientist - how he went to the USA with nothing and now has a successful business, etc etc. I think it's been quite clear for a long time that whether he believes in the efficacy or not, antineoplastons is what he sells. Remember - if it doesn't work out with the FDA, he can still open up his skin cream business.
I've just spotted this in the Indie:
The doctor's website looks very woo-ey, to my untrained eye, but it would be interesting to get a qualified opinion:
There is a large piece on his book on the Belgian Skeptics website. It is in Dutch, so I'm not sure it is handy to provide a link. According to this book-review, the guy is a quack and seems to come from a family of quacks, all very interested in hormones, to battle the aging-proces.
Thank you, I found and read the review using Google translate:
It confirms that he is considered a crank, and potentially a dangerous one even in his home country. From some of the medical evidence, it sounds like the mother may have had Munchausen's by proxy:
I do not agree with Calli, et al., but maybe I’m just not cynical enough. I think B is simply delusional and thinks he really IS the brave maverick doctor with the magic beans. Of course, he is financially motivated, but he tells himself it really is just to keep the clinic and the “research” going. He’s just completely mental, which we tend to correlate to the unscientific term EVIL.
Mentally ill = evil now? Since when?
Mentally ill = evil now? Since when?
It's a fairly common TV trope.
Maybe my sarcasm radar is off - I know it's a trope, but hope people here don't fall for it too.
You are so wrong about Burzynski. I personally know 3 people who have gotten treatment from him when they were told they had 3-6 month (all of them.) The fact that McKenzie had already been through months of excrutiating radiation and chemo therapy had reduced her chances for a complete cure dramatically. Why don't you do some decent research before you spout off like this and potentially turn others away who might benefit in the future from his treatment.
By the way....all 3 of the people I know are still here. One has passed her 5th year cancer free. One has passed the 3 year mark and the other is now about 30 yrs old (she was 6 when diagnosed).
Cindy, please link to their PubMed indexed case reports, and other peer reviewed papers by Burzynski on how well his treatments work.
@cindy - if so, why isn't Burzynski publishing those particular case results?
Then you should have no problem specifying what kinds of cancers they had.
As well as the treatment modalities they had prior to their visits with Count Stan and what their bank accounts looked like after seeing Stan.
Were you not paying attention, Science Mom? Cindy has just explained to us that "months of excrutiating radiation and chemo therapy [...] reduced [the] chances for a complete cure dramatically", so if those other three friends were all cured, obviously none of them had received normal treatment!
Wow, someone who personally knows not one, not two, but three people successfully treated by Burzinsky. What are the odds??
Come on, Cindy. Details. Details! Types of cancer. Stages of cancer when they came to Count Stan. Types of treament they had beforehand. You know, those fact thingies all the kids are using nowadays. At least make some up to go with the previous made-up post. Entertain us, and remember, spelling and neatness count.
At least this man has tried unlike big pharma and cancer clinics. Chemo we all know is not a cure and therefore not called a cure. It is a treatment and temporary at that. Chemo has cured no one!!! Never will! Cancer is a virus. We all have cancer cells in our bodies. So for all of you knocking a man who has cured people whether it is 3 individuals or 1, at least he has cured them with no cancer returning. Chemo buys time. If lucky you will get more than the 5-10 years they usually suggest. As far as the cancer clinics go, they should be focusing on DCA and other possible inexpensive cures and running more trials not just focusing on chemo treatments which cures no one and costs people their lives not to mention for many their financial security.
And S Taylor, what is your oncology training to be able to make these authoritative statements?
As a cancer survivor myself, I'd firstly like to say that there's no such meaningful definition as "conventional" medicine; there's medicine and there's quackery. It's also more than obvious that 'Cindy' is simply a shill acting for Burzynski, so her comments here can safely ignored. The plural of "anecdotes" is not evidence.
At age 73 we can only hope that Burzynski will soon be departing this mortal coil, and thus take his reprehensible quackery to hell with him. Thankfully, we don't have (many of) these sorts of medical fraudsters conning unsuspecting and gullible cancer-ridden patients desperate for last-resort miracles in Australia.
I also can't understand how the FDA or the American Medical Association hasn't suspended Burzynski and/or deregistered him. How is it that he's been allowed to practice [sic] for decades without formal censure? Why has he not been charged as an accessory to culpable homicide?
I note too that several of his sCAM defenders have mentioned the phrase "big pharma" contemptuously - as they invariably do. Do they not acknowledge that in the US at least, complimentary and alternative "medicine" producers/suppliers now earn annually multi-billions of dollars in profits - believed to be comparable with the profits of legitimate pharmaceutical companies? Their notion that "big pharma" are pure evil, and that sCAMmers are sincere and conscientious, and ethical is a myth that needs disabusing immediately.
The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center has stated that there is NO viable evidence to support the positive anti-cancer effects of antineoplastons in humans.