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Q
Antineoplastons: A Bogus Cancer Treatment?
What can you tell me about Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski and his antineoplaston treatment for cancer? Does it really work?
A
Answer (Published 7/28/2006)

Stanislaw Burzynski, M.D., is a Polish-trained physician who immigrated to the United States. He was performing research at Baylor College of Medicine in the 1970s when he isolated natural compounds from urine which he called antineoplastons. He described them as a natural form of cancer protection and began producing synthetic versions in his laboratory. In 1977, Dr. Burzynski opened a clinic in Houston, Texas, and ever since has been treating cancer patients there with his antineoplaston therapy.

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Over the years, Dr. Burzynski claims to have treated more than 8,000 patients, but his success rates are unknown. His Web site states only that he has helped "many" people. If antineoplaston therapy works, we should have scientific studies showing what percentage of patients treated have survived and for how long, as well as evidence showing how Dr. Burzynski's method stacks up against conventional cancer treatment. The only study I know that documents how Dr. Burzynski's patients have fared was done in Canada in 1985. It found that of 36 patients treated, 32 died without showing signs of improvements. One patient died after slight improvement, another died after being stable for a year and, at the time of the study, the other two had widespread cancer.

The cost of antineoplaston therapy at Dr. Burzynski's clinic reportedly ranges from $30,000 to $60,000 per year. After initial treatment there, patients may be able to continue therapy at home with follow up clinic visits every two months.

While antineoplastons are said to be nontoxic, reported side effects can be unpleasant and include stomach gas, slight rashes, chills, fever, changes in blood pressure and unpleasant body odor during treatment.

Until we have credible scientific evidence showing what antineoplastons are, how they act in the body, and what realistic expectations of treatment with them might be, I see no reason for any cancer patient to take this route.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

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