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'Alternative Medicine' Clinic Attempts To Silence Critics

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the my-science-can-beat-up-your-science dept.

Medicine 515

Asmodae writes "Stanislaw Burzynski runs a clinic specializing in an alternative cancer treatment called 'antineoplaston therapy,' and charges thousands of dollars for the privilege. Unfortunately, there's no scientific support for such treatment, and skeptics all over the web are raising red flags and trying to warn potential patients away. This includes high-school blogger Rhys Morgan, who has received legal threats from Burzynski's clinic for his efforts. Phil Plait summarizes the situation thus: 'In general, it’s a little unusual, to say the least, for a team doing medical research to sue someone for criticizing them. That’s because real science thrives on criticism, since it’s only through critiques that the potential errors of a particular method can be assessed — that’s why research is supposed to be published in peer-reviewed journals as well. Suing is the antithesis of that idea. ... I’ll note that the clinic has threatened to sue multiple people, including Peter Bowditch and Andy Lewis, two other bloggers who have criticized antineoplaston therapy.'"

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Southpark (5, Funny)

johnsonbrad1 (1793854) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206194)

Maybe we should ask Miss Information about this one.

Re:Southpark (1)

tysonedwards (969693) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206656)

With a name like "Miss Information" she must know something!

Re:Southpark (2)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206712)

When CVS tries to sell people Cherokee Hair Tampons I'll be worried. For now this is some scrub scammer preying on cancer patients. Although I do find it funny that he expects to be taken seriously when he has to sue the critics to get them to shut up.

Storm... (5, Informative)

skinlayers (621258) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206204)

I give you, Tim Michin's "Storm"

[...]And try as hard as I like,
A small crack appears
In my diplomacy-dike.
“By definition”, I begin
“Alternative Medicine”, I continue
“Has either not been proved to work,
Or been proved not to work.
You know what they call “alternative medicine”
That’s been proved to work?
Medicine.”[...]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhGuXCuDb1U [youtube.com]

Are his customers happy? (-1, Redundant)

brxndxn (461473) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206210)

I don't care if it's "medical" or not. Are his customers (patients) happy with his work? If not, they should be the ones suing and criticizing.

Re:Are his customers happy? (4, Insightful)

andy9o (1235174) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206226)

Can dead people be happy?

Re:Are his customers happy? (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206422)

family members?

Re:Are his customers happy? (3, Insightful)

Servaas (1050156) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206576)

How many times do you hear of a single person even having the means to sue a company?

Re:Are his customers happy? (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206830)

All the time, and winning, at that.

I suppose if you start from the supposition that you have no chance, things would seem a lot more bleak, but I'm not sure how much credit you want for giving up before you've even tried. No one gives points for that.

Re:Are his customers happy? (4, Funny)

qbast (1265706) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206276)

Dig them up and ask.

Re:Are his customers happy? (1)

MarkGriz (520778) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206710)

You can tell by their funny bones.

Re:Are his customers happy? (2)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206302)

Assuming they are alive, anyway. The shortest line is the line at the complaint window at a parachute factory.

Re:Are his customers happy? (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206306)

That's not really the issue here. The issue fundamentally isn't whether or not these lying quacks cure anybody or not, but rather whether real scientists are free to judge them by the scientific method. These lying quacks are trying to use the legal system to silence legitimate scientific inquiry into their scam.

That you're allowed to collect money from gullible morons if you can convince them of your quackery is not questioned, that you can try to hold the scientific community at bay through litigious behavior is.

Re:Are his customers happy? (-1, Flamebait)

DeathSquid (937219) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206478)

These lying quacks are trying to use the legal system to silence legitimate scientific inquiry into their scam.

Does that logic also apply to climate scientists who resort to legal action against critics?

Re:Are his customers happy? (2)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206498)

Such as?

Re:Are his customers happy? (-1, Flamebait)

DeathSquid (937219) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206632)

Such as?

Such as Michael Mann,

Re:Are his customers happy? (5, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206512)

The critic that you refer to made specific libelous claims. He isn't being sued because he's skeptical, he's being sued because he slandered a scientist by making claims of ill conduct. If the claimant had had any evidence of the scientist's ill conduct, he would have provided it, and thus (except in Britain) have walked away satisfied that he had taken down a climatologist. Instead, the claimant turned out to be a serial liar who had made false claims against other scientists.

Re:Are his customers happy? (1)

gilleain (1310105) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206582)

What critic is he referring to? That is to say, I could probably google it, but GP makes no mention of any particular case.

You mean (2)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206802)

I would hardly call the corporate whoring denalists, scientists.

Re:Are his customers happy? (4, Funny)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206522)

These lying quacks are trying to use the legal system to silence legitimate scientific inquiry into their scam.

Apparently the Scientology PR strategy has been licensed out for use in the medical field!

Re:Are his customers happy? (0, Flamebait)

brxndxn (461473) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206554)

Maybe I am just playing devil's advocate, but you seem confident in calling Burzynski a quack. But I would assume your only evidence of calling Burzynski a quack is other people calling Burzynski a quack unless you have personal experience with Burzynski.

The fact is that the medical community as a whole has not cured cancer. Yet, the medical community supposedly decides what is the right way and wrong way of treating cancer patients. So outsiders, like Burzynski, face huge uphill battles in order to do anything different. Yet, something different than exists is what is needed to cure cancer.

As far as litigious behavior, let him threaten to sue. Maybe the truth will come out. I am sure if I posted all sorts of criticisms about my doctor that he did not believe were true, he would threaten to sue me too.

The rate of cancer survival in the medical industry is pretty bad ~ shouldn't the entire industry be criticized more?

Re:Are his customers happy? (5, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206588)

WTF are you talking about? For most cancers, five year survival rates have been steadily climbing for decades. The fact is that this guy is displaying all the traits of quackery; refusal to publish or even to co-operate with researchers, taking money directly from patients and now attempting to silence critics. If he had something real, he'd go through the accepted channels and right now would likely be getting ready to cash his first massive check from some Big Pharma company.

Re:Are his customers happy? (-1, Troll)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206788)

If he had something real, he'd go through the accepted channels and right now would likely be getting ready to cash his first massive check from some Big Pharma company.

He's been doing this since the 80's. The FDA had at one point attempted to patent his research.

Why would big pharma want cancer cured? Oh, yeah, I remember now - so they can stop selling all of those expensive cancer drugs.

For a quack, it's interesting to note that he got FDA approval for one of his treatments:
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/131693.php [medicalnewstoday.com]

Re:Are his customers happy? (5, Informative)

theelectron (973857) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206626)

"The rate of cancer survival in the medical industry is pretty bad ~ shouldn't the entire industry be criticized more?" Isn't that like saying 'the rate of head gunshot wound survival is pretty bad, shouldn't the entire medical industry be criticized more?', or about Alzheimer's, or decapitation, etc. They're working on it. It is just that some things are easier to solve than others.

Re:Are his customers happy? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38206672)

I was going to reply here and explain to you in a detailed and rational manner why your post was the dumbest thing I've read in weeks. Then I got to the bottom and read your signature and realized you were not the kind of person who would read and understand a rational argument, since as we all know, the free market will just magically solve all problems (except cancer, evidently that gets cured by some combination of stupidity and urine).

So instead, in the spirit of the free market, I've decided to offer my own cancer treatment. It's mostly just ice cream, pencil shavings and cyanide, but I've yet to receive a single complaint from anyone who's taken it, and not one of my patients has died of cancer.

Re:Are his customers happy? (5, Insightful)

magsol (1406749) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206720)

You talk about cancer as if it were the flu, some common viral infection that most people get every now and then and is a minor annoying blip in one's everyday routine. It's a radically different disease by virtue of the fact that it's your own cells gone rogue. I'm not saying it's beyond the realm of science-based medicine, I'm saying it's not a trivial problem to solve, yet the fact that modern medicine hasn't solved it somehow anoints alternative medicine--which has never empirically shown any effectiveness beyond what you'd see from placebo--as the savior?

The whole point of this article is that it's fine to try something "different", provided you follow a couple baseline rules: first, you go the peer-review route. You do a double-blind clinical trial, you perform the analysis and see that your method works significantly better than placebo and has improvements over the current state-of-the-art, and then you market it publicly. If (and this is a big "if") Burzynski is going this route, he's doing this step entirely backwards, which is ethically suspect at best. Second, you let the data speak for itself, not the lawyers. You sue people who slander you, not your work. If your work is being called into question, you debate it scientifically, just like in the peer-review process.

It's the fact that Burzynski is failing hard on these two points that's getting him into trouble, not the supposed shortcomings of the modern medical industry.

Re:Are his customers happy? (5, Insightful)

Lord Maud'Dib (611577) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206770)

Please define cancer. You seem to be implying it is a single disease which can be cured if we find the "right" treatment. It is actually a term used to describe a very large set of diseases which usually have little in common apart from them all involving unregulated cell growth. And yes I am a researcher involved with anticancer drugs.

Re:Are his customers happy? (0)

datavirtue (1104259) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206718)

"That you're allowed to collect money from gullible morons if you can convince them of your quackery is not questioned, that you can try to hold the scientific community at bay through litigious behavior is.".....I think you just described the modern drug industry.

Re:Are his customers happy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38206776)

Hyperbole all you want, Viagra fucking works.

Re:Are his customers happy? (5, Insightful)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206762)

I agree, but I'd draw the line at calling customers "gullible morons". I'd call them "desperate" more than anything. What's the worst this treatment could do? Kill you? You're dead already. These fraudsters should be exposed as the fraudsters they are, but I can't really blame their customers, because many are willing to try and pay just about anything if there's even a slim, outside chance it could give them even just a bit more time.

Re:Are his customers happy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38206808)

Some Euro teenybopper is not a scientist...come on.

Re:Are his customers happy? (2)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206332)

maybe he shots them up with opium? that would make them happy yes, but wouldn't cure their cancer.

the clinic doesn't seem to be doing research either. just selling a treatment.
no, wait, he's not selling treatment. technically he's selling participation in a clinical trial.... though there seems to have been so many patients already that if it was effective, I don't see any reason why he wouldn't release the data.

How slashdot grant points? (1, Interesting)

darthium (834988) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206386)

I don't care if it's "medical" or not. Are his customers (patients) happy with his work? If not, they should be the ones suing and criticizing.

This blatant attempt to justify pseudoscience (and a poorle reasoned one) is given a 2, why? Isn;t this site for GEEKS, shouldn't the score be given in a more numerical, logical, VERIFIABLE way? Now, to the pseudoscience defender, following your reasoning, religion should be allowed to scam believers, we have no right to criticize because believers are happy to be victim of brainwashing? What about warning other people? Second, if they make claims, at least they don't label such empty claims as 'science'. How unaceptable is to ask for this basic common sense?

Re:Are his customers happy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38206484)

I have to deal with one of these. Might actually be worse since they claim they can "cure" irreparably brain-damaged children. It breaks your heart to see parents carting their kids over there every day, driven by the cruel and false hope that they can make their child better. Like the guys in this story, the quacks threaten everyone who call them on their fraud.

However, I think it's better off NOT to blog about these types of people. The situations seem similar enough so I'll reveal one more cruel irony about the place near me. Every time someone (reporter, FDA, whoever) issues an article/report on the fact that this place can't cure anyone, the number of patients increases. People will do all sorts of things when traditional medicine tells them there's no hope, even if it kills them.

Seriously though, I hope there is a special, extra-hot circle in Hell for people who run these places.

Re:Are his customers happy? (5, Informative)

TopSpin (753) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206508)

The dead don't complain much. This isn't being flippant. I personally knew a woman that took the 'alternative' road to 'cure' her breast cancer. It took four years to kill her.

They promised their blood 'filter' machine therapy would reverse the growth. They convinced her surgery was an unnecessary aberration of 'western' medicine, at a time when the 'western' surgeons offered at good prognosis for success. They fed here special diets, pills and all sorts of other stuff. The point of no return was eventually crossed and surgery was no longer an option.

There are a lot of quacks haunting Big Cancer because there is a lot of money sloshing around. All of the above was funded by employer provided insurance.

Re:Are his customers happy? (1)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206624)

If you need to sue your critics in order to sell your product, your product is useless.

Well (1)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206688)

I guess the ignorance is bliss excuse also explains your Ron Paul blather.

Oblig. xkcd (5, Informative)

CraftyJack (1031736) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206224)

http://xkcd.com/971/ [xkcd.com]
Not usually a fan, but the caption is worthwhile: "...Telling someone who trusts you that you're giving them medicine, when you know you’re not, because you want their money, isn’t just lying--it’s like an example you’d make up if you had to illustrate for a child why lying is wrong."

Re:Oblig. xkcd (0)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206510)

lying is wrong

... in your opinion.

Re:Oblig. xkcd (3, Insightful)

CraftyJack (1031736) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206636)

OK, let me reword that a little: "...Telling someone who trusts you that you're giving them medicine, when you know you’re not, because you want their money, isn’t just lying--it’s like an example you’d make up if you had to illustrate for cheekyjohnson why lying is wrong."

Re:Oblig. xkcd (1)

Oswald (235719) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206666)

It's a quote, not his stated opinion. Are you sure he wasn't being ironic?

Re:Oblig. xkcd (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206714)

No. I was just stating what I thought should be in the quote.

Re:Oblig. xkcd (1)

Johnny5000 (451029) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206798)

No. I was just stating what I thought should be in the quote.

Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

Re:Oblig. xkcd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38206792)

What argument could you possibly make that lying is right?

On your marks.... get set.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38206234)

Go, Streisand effect!

Chiroplastin is far superior.. (4, Funny)

tresho (1000127) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206236)

in its unproven effectiveness. Plus it's a big red pill, red pills always work better than other colors.

Re:Chiroplastin is far superior.. (1)

DetriusXii (632162) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206294)

That's only if you're an Ork in the WH40K universe.

Re:Chiroplastin is far superior.. (5, Interesting)

Shimbo (100005) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206494)

No. It's for real. "Doctors studying the placebo effect have noticed that large pills work better than small pills, and that coloured pills work better than white ones." http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/2002/homeopathy.shtml [bbc.co.uk]

Sorry, don't have the original citations.

Re:Chiroplastin is far superior.. (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206780)

You didn't take the blue pill?

We should already know this... (1)

lvxferre (2470098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206274)

Burzynski is what you get when you breed a troll and a scammer.

Invoking the Streisand Effect in 3... 2.... 1... (1)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206286)

Seriously, do the quacks not realize that suing people will only draw attention to them?

Granted, they may well want that, since the more desperate-but-stupid people that hear about them, the more people they can fleece; but when you pretend to practice something vaguely medicine-like-but-not, it also doesn't hurt to stay below the FDA's radar.

Re:Invoking the Streisand Effect in 3... 2.... 1.. (1)

lvxferre (2470098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206358)

Con artists already know by centuries that there's a somewhat "attention optimum": less than this, you'll lose profit; more than this, the cops arrive.
They should learn this little piece of popular wisdom...

Re:Invoking the Streisand Effect in 3... 2.... 1.. (2)

Shompol (1690084) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206562)

Scientology goes after critics for decades and they are just fine.

Re:Invoking the Streisand Effect in 3... 2.... 1.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38206716)

Scientology goes after critics for decades and they are just fine.

They are a "religion", not medical treatment. Standards are much lower for religion.

Big Wikipedia Bang - Identifying pseudoscience (4, Informative)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206296)

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudoscience#Identifying_pseudoscience [wikipedia.org] :

"A field, practice, or body of knowledge might reasonably be called pseudoscientific when it is presented as consistent with the norms of scientific research; but it demonstrably fails to meet these norms. [...] Examples of pseudoscience concepts, proposed as scientific when they are not scientific, are creation science, intelligent design, orgone energy, N-rays, ch'i, L. Ron Hubbard's engram theory, enneagram, iridology, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, New Age psychotherapies (e.g., rebirthing therapy), reflexology, applied kinesiology, astrology, biorhythms, facilitated communication, plant perception, extrasensory perception (ESP), Velikovsky's ideas, von Däniken's ideas, Sitchen's ideas, anthropometry, post-normal science, craniometry, graphology, metoposcopy, personology, physiognomy, acupuncture, alchemy, cellular memory, Lysenkoism, naturopathy, reiki, Rolfing, therapeutic touch, ayurvedic medicine, and homeopathy. Robert T. Carroll stated in part: "Pseudoscientists claim to base their theories on empirical evidence, and they may even use some scientific methods, though often their understanding of a controlled experiment is inadequate. Many pseudoscientists relish being able to point out the consistency of their ideas with known facts or with predicted consequences, but they do not recognize that such consistency is not proof of anything. It is a necessary condition but not a sufficient condition that a good scientific theory be consistent with the facts."

There must be some Federal Bureau Against Quacks, or something.

Re:Big Wikipedia Bang - Identifying pseudoscience (2)

gilleain (1310105) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206486)

I had to look up "Rolfing" (some kind of chiropracty, seems like). I was hoping it would be "Rofling", formally known as "ROFL therapy".

Complain to the FDA (2, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206552)

There must be some Federal Bureau Against Quacks, or something.

There is. [youtube.com]

See Lengthy Jail Sentence for Vendor of Laetrile -- A Quack Medication to Treat Cancer Patients [fda.gov] . They finally nailed Jason Vale, the guy behind Laetrile, the apricot-pit "cancer cure". He did over 5 years in a Federal pen as prisoner #09073-067.

so that's it (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206300)

Dr Bob, DC has turned to the dark side.

watch his documentary on youtube before commenting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38206312)

you guys should watch his documentary before forming an opinion.

Re:watch his documentary on youtube before comment (1)

mistiry (1845474) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206374)

Call me pessimistic, but documentaries do tend to be biased.

Re:watch his documentary on youtube before comment (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206436)

Why would you watch a documentary to evaluate any claim, medical or otherwise? Let's see the peer-reviewed articles in recognized journals detailing out how the experiments were carried out and demonstrating the veracity of the claims.

Re:watch his documentary on youtube before comment (0)

Ruede (824831) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206602)

because the so called peer reviewed seem to be not done properly... and yet ppl believe those peers...

Re:watch his documentary on youtube before comment (1)

Ruede (824831) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206592)

this is very true. but it is very funny when you see that they took a rather objective approach. when you watch it make sure you watch the part where they reflect the other side.... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0ibsoqjPac [youtube.com]

Re:watch his documentary on youtube before comment (1)

gilleain (1310105) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206504)

you guys should watch his documentary before forming an opinion.

Do I have to pay to watch it?

Re:watch his documentary on youtube before comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38206556)

Not sure if it's the same documentary, but there's also one on Netflix, (I believe the titles is just "Burzynski" but it's been a while since I watched it). The show reeks of tinfoil hat conspiracy, and is obviously biased, but still worth the watching. As someone working in pharmaceutical development (posting anon since I'm at work), I find his ideas interesting. I have some serious doubts about the mechanism whereby his antineoplastons are having an effect, as well as doubts about the consistency of the manufacturing process he's using to make them (IIRC, these are a loosely-defined complex mix of molecules, unlike typical large-molecule biologics whose composition is much more tightly controlled). Still, I would like to see some more serious research done with these compounds; and I'm still open to the possibility that these antineoplastons are actually a viable treatment option.

Either way.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38206324)

I guess to some it's all the same. When you're facing the end you'd gladly pay for hope. Even if it's the false kind.

Although, if you're actually looking for medical treatment you'd gladly pay for an attorney yourself and shut that place down.

Re:Either way.. (4, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206408)

And that's the problem with these evil bastards, they prey upon the most vulnerable, people and their families desperately trying to keep the flame burning. I remember years ago my grandmother's best friend was diagnosed with some inoperable terminal cancer, and her church got together and raised several thousand dollars to send her to some "clinic" in Greece which happily took her money, did some meaningless mumbo jumbo and sent her home still dying of cancer. These were poor people, and most members of the church were on the lower end of the middle class. It was very commendable that they pooled their resources together, but I still think the "doctor" who ran the "clinic" should have been taken out and shot. He stole a lot of money from a lot of people who could not really afford it, but who were bamboozled or guilted into donating to a dying woman's fantasy of a cure.

Re:Either way.. (0)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206600)

And that's the problem with these evil bastards, they prey upon the most vulnerable.

Interesting - this is actually being done by "real medicine" (i.e. Big Pharma). "EBM" is just a bunch of buzzwords and a pile of shit medicines with side effects for which there are other pills and fluids with other side effects for which... etc.

Re:Either way.. (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206836)

And yet, as I said elsewhere, five year survival rates for many cancers have been steadily climbing. Many cancers are very fucking bad and metastasize to all sorts of tissues, making treatment very fucking difficult. That means that the treatments will often be very fucking bad, and will do all sorts of damage to tissues. The alternative is often between living a few years longer with the help of these drugs and all their very fucking bad side-effects, or dying relatively quickly, and often far more awfully fucking bad than they would have if they had taken the treatments.

My wife survived thyroid cancer and is alive six years later because she had a total thyroidectomy, which is an awful fucking procedure that saw her in the hospital for six days just healing from basically having her neck cut open and large amounts of tissue yanked out just in case the tumor had spread to neighboring lymph glands. She faced radioactive iodine to kill off any potentially cancerous thyroid cells lurking elsewhere. It took her three or four months before she could even drive or go shopping again, because her neck was literally stapled together. She has to take synthetic thyroid hormone until the day she dies, and there's still no guarantee, even though she's made it over five years, that she might not get stricken again.

Cancer is fucking awful pal. So don't give this anti-pharmaceutical schizoid conspiracy theory bullshit.

Why don't we (5, Insightful)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206346)

Ask Steve Jobs how it worked out for him?

Legal threats and Blood out of a stone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38206354)

Here's the thing - he's a high school kid - under 18. WTF? Let'em sue! And then what? He shows up in court representing himself.

Then what? Unless that clinic has a shitload of cash to burn some teenager in court, what does the kid have lose? At most the judge saying, :"Kid, shut the fuck up. And repay the plaintiffs their legal costs." Maybe. More than likely the judge will just say, "STFU".

The "Clinic's" lawyers KNOW the kid can't cough up the money and more than likely neither can his parents - who don't have to anyway.

I say fuck'em kid!

Re:Legal threats and Blood out of a stone. (2)

RandomAvatar (2487198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206470)

I think you are thinking of an imaginary place with a reasonable legal system. What is most likely to happen is that the person with the highest paid lawyer wins, and if the kid loses, him and his parents will have to pay tens of thousands of dollars in "damages".

Re:Legal threats and Blood out of a stone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38206540)

It's not imaginary. It's called 'the United Kingdom', where the "high-school" kid actually lives.

Re:Legal threats and Blood out of a stone. (1)

TxRv (1662461) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206730)

I wouldn't call a place where the media can't say anything negative about rich people or politicians for fear of being sued for libel "a reasonable legal system".

Facts are now optional (3, Insightful)

ElmoGonzo (627753) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206366)

It started with Creation Science and then evolved into Climate Science Denialism and then evolved into Paul Ryan "Economics" so why should medicine be proven to work. I'm allowed to choose facts and if I don't like the ones that are available I can get the Heritage Foundation or one of the debate team to make some up for me. Same goes here.

"Suing is the antithesis of this idea" (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206384)

"this idea" is hardly an important consideration for people who are running scams^w clinics for as for-profit ventures.

law in US and UK (0)

lkcl (517947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206450)

the law in the U.S. and the U.K and probably several countries as well is that it is ILLEGAL to even CLAIM that you can quotes cure cancer quotes.

one person who had some success with cancer treatment that did not involve pharmaceutical drugs mysteriously had his offices firebombed, received anonymous death threats that were not followed up by the police, and in the end was forced to move to mexico.

strangely (not really) he picked a piece of land that was specially surveyed at enormous cost for chemical toxicity levels, prior to purchase.

Medical Claims (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38206468)

Medical Claims can be false and I would be the first question one's science. However; medicine is not the haunt of good science. It is ripe with all sorts of quacks who call themselves experts and have the credentials and blessing of others in the field. These always attack anyone with new or different treatments. Like the doctor a few years back who got attacked for saying he could cure stomach ulcers and reduce stomach cancer. We now know H. Pilori was the cause. He treated with antibiotics and was nearly run out of the profession. Get real. The standard of if someone is right isn't that they have no accusers. Is the guy in question right? Who Knows? But all of those he doesn't have FDA etc... The FDA still approves a deadly poison Methotrexate for treament of Cancer and for treatment of arthritis. Neither of which work and the untreated live longer. Think for a change.

Pisses me off (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Codger (96717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206474)

I'm a cancer survivor. I'm also sympathetic, to a degree, to alternative medicines. But never for cancer! I have known a number of people who tried to treat their cancers through diet, herbs, acupuncture, and so on. Every one of them is dead. Every. Single. One. For cancer, you need the big guns, the heavy chemicals, the knives, the radiation. They leave lots and lots of collateral damage, but at least they have have a chance of keeping you alive for awhile longer.

So when I see people like Burzynski preying on frightened cancer patients and their families with their snake oil, it makes me see red.

Re:Pisses me off (-1, Troll)

tperkow (178361) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206642)

You should check out the movie on Netflix -- I'm not in the market for cancer therapy (fortunately) -- but this looked like a really good option, and they deal with the study methodology used by others. I hope I never have to use this for me or anyone I love, but in the cases they presented compared vs. radiation/chemo therapies -- results were better for his therapy. I think there's a lot more to this story than obvious quakery.

Re:Pisses me off (2)

Atzanteol (99067) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206760)

No, there isn't. If your support is a movie he made then you have no support.

Re:Pisses me off (0)

tgd (2822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206778)

I'm a cancer survivor. I'm also sympathetic, to a degree, to alternative medicines. But never for cancer! I have known a number of people who tried to treat their cancers through diet, herbs, acupuncture, and so on. Every one of them is dead. Every. Single. One. For cancer, you need the big guns, the heavy chemicals, the knives, the radiation. They leave lots and lots of collateral damage, but at least they have have a chance of keeping you alive for awhile longer.

So when I see people like Burzynski preying on frightened cancer patients and their families with their snake oil, it makes me see red.

Congrats on surviving your cancer. But you're no better than anyone else who follows that quackery. You're basically saying "well, I had such and such disease, so I know 'alternative' therapy doesn't work and people die", but proclaiming some belief that *other* "alternative" treatments for diseases you *haven't* had are viable?

Alternative medicine that is proven to work has a special name... "medicine".

The quackery that killed the people you know with cancer kills, maims, or makes poor millions of other people who grasp for hope and are taken advantage of.

"Real science thrives on criticism" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38206520)

Well, unless the subject is global warming, of course.

In that case, you attack critics as "heretics" and "blasphemers", errr, sorry, "deniers", and you get a Nobel Prize for saying, "The science is settled."

Re:"Real science thrives on criticism" (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206546)

If the large majority of critics weren't journalists, laymen, politicians are old men with credentials who are employed via the Heartland Institute, you might have a point.

The "clinic" in question... (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206528)

... appears to be engaged in one of the more repugnant types of theft and fraud that I can imagine: taking advantage of the painfully sick and dying.

And then trying to sue a kid for shedding light on their morally and ethically reprehensible activities?

I wonder if^w how often they go around kicking puppies...

watch this to understand his point of view... (1, Flamebait)

Ruede (824831) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206544)

looks more like FDA and so on are doing dirty business to keep him down.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0ibsoqjPac [youtube.com]

FUCK YOU STANISLAW BURZYNSKI (2, Informative)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206578)

Seriously. Hearing about this shit makes me see red. What sort of low-life, piece of shit assholes run this clinic? Not only are they scamming people who are extremely vulnerable (some of whom could potentially be helped and/or saved by real medical intervention), they have the unmitigated audacity to try to silence critics who would out them. This is beyond unacceptable. I think we all need to stand in solidarity with Rhys Morgan and let this asshole know what we think.

On that note: Fuck you, Stanislaw Burzynski, you lying, quack, fraudulent piece of shit. I hope you end up rotting in a prison cell for what you have done.

Documentary on Netflix (5, Insightful)

eepok (545733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206590)

I'm the cornerstone of rationality for a good portion of my friends, so I found it no surprise when one emailed me requesting I watch a documentary called "Burzynski" (http://www.burzynskimovie.com/) and decide if the guy was a quack or really on to something.

I watched the documentary before researching anything about him and was genuinely intrigued. They present science and statistics in the movie and show how the gov't took some really (in retrospect) bonehead actions to prevent him from providing his therapy.

Then I looked up actual history and figured out that the guy is a quack. No one can replicate his results and he gets angry when they don't. He claims that all the independent trials are purposely done incorrect to his specifications.

But here's my problem: Fully aside from this guy being a genuine quack, why not just test his therapy fully and completely? Follow his specs and advice to the proverbial "T". Prove him wrong beyond a reasonable doubt and put an end to it.

Re:Documentary on Netflix (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206606)

Because testing requires manpower and money, both of which, sadly, are in short supply in medical research (or any research, for that matter). Wasting money on the claims of a quack means that some legitimate avenue of research either gets deprived or cut off.

If you want to pay to have his claims tested, you go right ahead.

Netflix has his "documentary" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38206618)

The dark music when the big evil FDA is portrayed followed by rock n roll when showing his clinic pretty much sold me on the fact that he is a quack. "I'm just a little guy fighting a corrupt system" "Big pharma companies just want to silence me and they control the FDA."
his idea, have sick people drink the urine of healthy people to gain their health promoting molecules.
--sort of good idea except he has no actual science to back it up. Just a few people who got better and are convinced he did it. (and tons more who didn't get better)
Drinking pregnant horse urine does give you hormones that stave off hot flashes. Or you can buy the pharma preparation Premarin.

Burzynski is a fraud. (5, Interesting)

Khyber (864651) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206622)

http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/Cancer/burzynski1.html [quackwatch.com]

Pretty open and shut.

Burzynski is a fraud.

I say that as a real researcher (and research director.) The amount of work this man has done is PATHETIC. Even his supposed year-long lab experiment to get his "D.Msc (which didn't exist at the time,) has the shittiest documentation ever.

Freedom of Choice (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38206630)

Remember, nobody forced anybody to go to clinic XYZ.

And how many die even having multiple radiation and other approved operations?

Re:Freedom of Choice (3, Insightful)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206806)

Sorry, but society does have the right to shut down those who do harm by deceit. Your right to free speech does not extend to selling snake oil that does measurable harm.

As far as kemo and radiation, while hardly perfect, there are measurable and repeatable results confirming that these techniques improve the chances of survival. In this fraudster's case, random trials have shown that there is no such evidence.

Dawinism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38206676)

I support this, as its Darwinism at its finest.

Double Standards i guess (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38206704)

"That’s because real science thrives on criticism, since it’s only through critiques that the potential errors of a particular method can be assessed"

For some reason this is not the attitude taken towards critics of climate science.

Well, if being a fraudulent quack is illegal then (4, Insightful)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206706)

... why aren't the guys who bundled crap mortgages into financial instruments in jail? Or any executives on Wall Street who lied to their clients?

Marc Stephens is not a lawyer (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38206786)

The person responsible for these legal threats is one Marc Stephens, who is not a lawyer [onlinejournalismblog.com] . There is an excellent article on Boing Boing [boingboing.net] detailing Mr. Stephens' baseless threats.

Mallards: (1)

Hartree (191324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206826)

If it's lawyer farts like a duck, it probably quacks and stinks as well.

Hopefully there's a special place in hell reserved for these jerks.

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