Disrespectful and dubious Burzynski marketing

A correspondent has sent me an email he received on 5th April 2012 from the Burzynski Clinic. This was in response to an enquiry through the clinic website.

The email stated

We do sincerely thank you for considering the Burzynski Clinic for your cancer treatment. You have a Care Team here at the clinic ready for you and we will do our very best to assist you with your needs. I have attached the following PDF documents:

 1. Admissions Information Packet. This includes information about our Personalized Gene Targeted Therapy, as well as, a listing of local businesses and medical forms. The latter two italicized items listed have also been included in this email as separate PDF documents for your convenience and printing ease.

2. Local Businesses PDF. This document lists local businesses that provide discounted services for our patients.

3. Medical Forms PDF. These forms you will need to complete and return to me to expedite medical records review and appointment scheduling.

We will work as quickly as we can and will provide you with the best personalized service possible. If you should need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

The attached documents were rather interesting. These comprised an information pack entitled Your Source of Hope and a document relating to testing by Caris Laboratories said to give a detailed molecular/genetic ‘fingerprint’ of the tumour. Perhaps we can return to those another day.

Before I had even opened them, however, I was struck by the list of resources at the bottom of the email:

Although the latter three sites are claimed to be independent of the clinic, this demonstrates that at the very least, they are recommended to prospective patients.

I believe these sites are misleading and the clinic is using them here as a form of marketing.

Burzynski Movie

Directed by Eric Merola, this is billed as a documentary, but comes across as one long advertisement. It makes the rather bold claim that Dr Burzynski has discovered a genetic mechanism that can cure most human cancers. Rather than presenting any reliable evidence to support this statement, we are presented with a few patient testimonials. There is no evidence that the cancer of any of the patients presented in the movie was cured or even improved with antineoplaston therapy.

Eric Merola’s cousin, Domenica Prescott, had treatment at the Burzynski clinic and is included on the Movie website here, in a post dated April 27, 2011, which states:

After only 4 to 5 weeks of treatment, her first MRI showed that the tumor is breaking down, and the enhancing portion of the tumor is diminishing! This means that she is responding to Antineoplaston treatment. If this continues, she should be on her way to a full recovery within a few short months.

Domenica Prescott passed away on May 11, 2011. There is no mention of this on the Burzynski Movie website.

Burzynski Patient Group

According to their website, the Burzynski Patient Group was developed by the patients of Stanislaw Burzynski. Its purpose is to “collect and disseminate testimonials from some of the past and present patients of Dr. Burzynski whose cancers were successfully treated using his advanced cancer treatment”.

It is claimed that

Dr. Burzynski’s non toxic therapy treats cancer without the terrible side effects of conventional methods. We bear witness to the success of his antineoplaston discovery and invite the public to examine the proof, which is confirmed by our medical records.

There are some big problems with this.

Firstly, antineoplastons aren’t non toxic. Far from it. If this site is really written by patients then those patients have been misled.

Secondly, Dr Burzynski’s patients have been treated with conventional methods as well as antineoplastons. This isn’t always made clear.

Thirdly, it is without doubt that many of the people named on the site haven’t been treated successfully at all. Some of them have died. In several cases, their stories remain online, implying that Burzynski is still helping them to get better.

It would appear that the Burzynski Patient Group does not exist to support patients but rather, to market the clinic. In fact, the contact name given on the site is for ‘Marketing and Sponsorship’. That name is Marc Stephens. You may have heard of him before.

The Burzynski Clinic have stated publicly that Mr Stephens no longer has a professional relationship with them.

Setting Them Free

According to the site, this is a non profit organisation which gives fundraising assistance and education to pay for cancer treatment and treatment related expenses. There is a selection of Profiles, where patients share their personal stories and ask for money to be donated towards their treatment. The overwhelming majority of these are raising funds towards treatment at the Burzynski Clinic.

It would be reasonable to assume that all these people are still actively raising funds for their treatment. Sadly, that is not the case.

Kristie Coe  passed away on 14th April 2012.

Nadyne Missler passed away on 8th January 2012.

Elena Sandor passed away on 20th August 2011.

(EDIT 01/06/12 The Setting Them Free site has just been updated and now includes short statements relating to the deaths of these patients.)

Olivia Bianco‘s parents wrote here that sadly, following treatment at the Burzynski Clinic, results were not as they had hoped or expected.

The cancer had spread pretty drastically. Both the doctors at Kaiser and Dr. Burzynski concurred to discontinue treatment to allow Olivia to not be attached to tubes and IVs and just enjoy her life. Olivia and her family have been doing just that.

(UPDATE 03/08/12 Olivia Bianco passed away on 20th June yet her Setting Them Free fundraising page remains online here.)

(UPDATE 04/08/12 Olivia Bianco’s page has just been updated with news of her death, presumably in response to this post.)

On another Setting Them Free site here, we find that Domenica Prescott, cousin of the Burzynski Movie director, still appears to be raising money towards her treatment, over a year after she died. Less than two weeks before her death, she believed that the tumour was diminishing and the medicine was working.

To fail to update these posts is despicable. It misleads the public, including prospective patients and it is utterly disrespectful to the former patients and their loved ones.

It is appalling that the Burzynski Clinic are suggesting to prospective patients that these three dubious websites are useful resources.

9 responses to “Disrespectful and dubious Burzynski marketing

  1. I notice in the medical forms that the clinic requires a biopsy specimen or slides. However, for the tumour that the Twitter troll claims most success for, Diffuse Interstitial Pontine Glioma,it is not common to perform a biopsy as the tumour has certain radiological signs. So, if the clinic needs a biopsy to send to Caris Laboratories to “personalise” the treatment, how is Burzynski choosing what to treat DIPG patients with?
    I smell a rat……

  2. Pingback: The Burzynski Clinic misleads prospective patients | Josephine Jones

  3. Pingback: Burzynski blogs: My Master List | Josephine Jones

  4. Pingback: The 21st Floor » Blog Archive » Antineoplastons: Not gene targeted. Almost certainly not curative.

  5. Tweeted by me in March:#Burzynski Patient Group & 2010 movie feature “non-Hodgkins lymphoma survivor” who died 2010 of #cancer complications. http://bit.ly/H5gLx8

  6. Pingback: The 21st Floor » Blog Archive » The Secret of Burzynskis “success”?

  7. Pingback: Anticipating the Burzynski sequel | Josephine Jones

  8. Pingback: Burzynski: the false promise of antineoplastons | Josephine Jones

  9. Artroplax is it the same rubbish as ARTHROSoLVE

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