Burzynski, the Movie is the story of a medical doctor and Ph.D biochemist named Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski who won the largest, and possibly the most convoluted and intriguing legal battle against the Food and Drug Administration in American history.
In the 1970s, Dr. Burzynski made a remarkable discovery that threatened to change the face of cancer treatment forever. His non-toxic, gene-targeted cancer medicine could have helped save millions of lives over the last two decades had his discovery not been criminally suppressed by the US government, as his therapy, called "antineoplastons," have been shown to effectively help cure some of the most "incurable" forms of terminal cancer.
This documentary takes you through the treacherous 14-year journey Dr. Burzynski and his patients have had to endure in order to finally obtain FDA-approved clinical trials of antineoplastons.
His story is yet another testament that fact can be far stranger than fiction, as the film exposes the powerful, unscrupulous forces that work to maintain the status quo of the medical and pharmaceutical industry at any cost-including the lives of millions of people.
Dr. Burzynski's Story Is a Jaw-Dropper
Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski was born in the early 1940s in Poland, and was trained as both a biochemist and a physician. He's spent the last 35 years developing and successfully treating cancer patients suffering with some of the most lethal forms of cancer at his clinic in Houston, Texas.
I recently interviewed Dr. Burzynski about his cancer treatment—a gene-targeted approach using non-toxic peptides and amino acids, known as antineoplastons. Here, I will follow up with a review of his recently released documentary, Burzynski, The Movie.1
It's an absolute jaw-dropper...
For anyone who has ever been affected by cancer, either directly or indirectly, the facts presented in this film will hit you like a rude slap in the face.
You will learn that not only did the US Federal government spend 14 years actively suppressing a cancer treatment that had a FAR greater success rate than any other treatment available, but they also spent well over $60 million of US taxpayer dollars trying to put the inventor of the treatment in jail in order to steal his patents and either suppress or cash in on his discovery.
This film is an absolute MUST-SEE, as the summary I'm about to present below simply cannot do it justice. It's available for purchase at BurzynkiMovie.com, where you can view the first half-hour for free. The site also contains a large number of video clips,2 as well as a full transcript of the entire film,3 along with links to all the documentation presented.
What's so Special About Dr. Burzynski's Treatment?
The story begins back in the early 1970s when Dr. Burzynski discovered that people with cancer lacked a certain peptide, while those who were cancer-free had a plentiful supply of it.
This finding eventually led him to create a medical treatment referred to as antineoplastons. The drug contains a mixture of peptides and derivatives of amino acids. These were known to act as molecular switches, but as genome research blossomed and science progressed, Dr. Burzynski discovered they also work as genetic switches, and that is why antineoplastons work so well.
They're actually able to turn on cancer suppressing genes, while simultaneously turning oncogenes (cancer genes) off.
As explained in the film:4
"Our bodies contain two categories of genes that allow cancer to flourish: oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. When someone has cancer, they have a higher level of oncogenes switched on, with a higher-level tumor suppressor genes switched off.
The goal is to tell the body to both switch back on the tumor suppressor genes, and turn off as many oncogenes as possible."
While other gene targeting cancer drugs now exist, they're only capable of targeting a small number of specific cancer genes. Antineoplastons, on the other hand, target a wide spectrum of cancer genes—about 100 of them at once. In a very simplistic way, antineoplastons are to cancer what a broad-spectrum antibiotic is to infectious disease.
Success Rates of Chemo and Radiation versus Antineoplastons
The film features several remarkable case stories of people who were successfully cured of cancer, but it's when the clinical trial data of conventional therapies versus antineoplastons are stacked against each other that the benefits of antineoplastons become really obvious:
|Radiation or Chemotherapy Only
5 of 54 patients (9 percent)
|5 of 20 (25 percent)
|were cancer-free at the end of treatment
||were cancer-free at the end of treatment
|Toxic side effects
||No toxic side effects
Tackling Childhood Brain Tumors
Dr. Burzynski was so confident in his antineoplastons that he even accepted the most difficult and "hopeless" cases, such as childhood brain tumors. Conventional medicine has little or nothing to offer in these cases, and the side effects can be as horrific as the disease itself, if not more. Furthermore, the best outcome conventional treatment can offer is to slow down the growth of the tumor.
Using antineoplastons, however, Dr. Burzynski has been able to successfully cure many of these otherwise hopeless cases, such as Jessica Ressel.5
She was 11 years old when she was diagnosed with brainstem glioma—an incurable brain tumor. After learning that she would die no matter what toxic drugs and radiation treatments she underwent, the family decided to not put her through it. When they found Dr. Burzynski, they literally had nothing to lose...
Twelve months later—after having initially been told she had but a few months to live, and given no chance of survival at all—MRIs confirmed she was cancer-free. Her brain tumor was completely resolved. Today, Jessica is a healthy 24-year old woman, pregnant with her second child
When comparing FDA-supervised studies of treatments for lethal childhood brainstem gliomas, antineoplastons again comes out as a clear winner:
1 of 107 patients (0.9 percent)
11 of 40 patients (27.5 percent)
|were cancer-free at the end of treatment
||were cancer-free at the end of treatment
0 of 107 patients (0 percent)
11 of 40 patients (27.5 percent)
|survived past five years
||survived past five years
Even more interesting, while some of Dr. Burzynski's patients did eventually die after the five-year mark, most who did NOT undergo chemotherapy prior to getting antineoplastons have gone on to live normal, healthy lives—yet another indication that in many cases, the conventional treatments are more lethal than the disease itself
Side Effects of Chemotherapy Drugs
Here's just a sampling of the side effects of three conventional chemotherapy drugs:
- Doxorubicin (nickname: Red Death) - leukemia, heart failure, infertility, mouth sores
- Etoposide - leukemia, nerve damage, inability to fight infections
- Cisplatin - kidney damage, hearing damage, nerve damage, infertility
Another chemo drug, Mitotane, which is derived from DDT, is also used for pediatric patients even though no studies have ever been performed to ascertain its safety or effectiveness in children.
Dr. Burzynski's Troubles Begins...
The legal battle Dr. Burzynski found himself embroiled in over his invention is convoluted to say the least. There are many bizarre twists and turns, and I strongly urge you to watch the documentary to fully appreciate what happened.
Dr. Burzynski had tried to get the FDA to review and approve antineoplastons since 1977, to no avail. To make sure he would not get into trouble for using the experimental therapy in his practice, his legal team reviewed federal and Texas state laws, confirming that he was acting within the laws and could use antineoplastons in his own practice "to meet the immediate needs of patients," since he was a licensed physician, particularly if no other alternatives were available to the patient. He could not engage in interstate commerce, however, so he had to restrict the use of the drug to his home state of Texas.
But word spread, and patients started traveling to his office from out of state.
Suddenly, in 1984, he found out that agents from the Texas board of medical examiners were traveling to patients across the country trying to convince them to file charges against him.
What followed next truly challenges the rational mind.
Texas Board of Medical Examiners Try to Strip Away His Medical License
In 1988, despite not breaking any laws, and having produced more evidence than was required to show that his treatment was effective and that no harm was coming to his patients from it, the Texas medical board charged him with breaking a law that didn't exist, claiming it was grounds for revoking his medical license.
They didn't have a case, but kept the charges going by continuing to file slightly amended complaints, until finally, in 1993, the case went to trial. By then, 60 of Dr. Burzynski's patients had filed a petition for the medical board to stop harassing their doctor—a petition that the board successfully eliminated from the trial by filing a motion to strike it from the record.
Testifying on Dr. Burzynski's behalf, however, was a leading expert from none other than the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Dr. Nicholas Patronas, MD, a board certified radiologist since 1973, and the founder and chief of Neurology at the NCI. Even he recognized the absurdity of the board's case, and put his own career on the line to testify.
The judge ruled in Dr. Burzynski's favor, confirming that no laws had been broken.
You'd think that would be the end of it. But not so in this case. Instead of accepting defeat, the Texas medical board filed charges against Dr. Burzynski with the Texas Supreme Court.
The Method Behind the FDA's Madness
It eventually came to light that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had pressured the Texas medical board to revoke Dr. Burzynski's medical license—despite the fact that no laws were broken, and his treatment was proven safe and effective.
It's been stated many times that a crime can be solved simply by following the money, and this case is no exception. The FDA and the pharmaceutical industry had realized that if Dr. Burzynski's discovery—which he owned the patent for—received a fair review, chemotherapy and radiation would rapidly dwindle into obscurity, effectively crippling the industry. Not only that, but if antineoplastons were approved, billions of dollars of cancer research funds would get funneled over to one single scientist who had exclusive patent rights...
Dr. Richard Crout, Director of the FDA Bureau of Drugs, once wrote in a 1982 newsletter:
"I never have and never will approve a new drug to an individual, but only to a large pharmaceutical firm with unlimited finances."
It became clear that ever since 1977, when Dr. Burzynski first tried to get antineoplastons approved, the FDA had begun scheming to eliminate the threat he and his discovery posed to the entire cancer industry...
The Harassment Continues Unabated
The FDA, under the direction of Commissioner Dr. David Kessler, called no fewer than FOUR different grand jury investigations into Dr. Burzynski's practice, despite the fact that none of the grand juries ever found him to be at fault, and no indictment ever came from any of the investigations.
But the FDA did not let up.
Finally, in 1995, just days after the final grand jury investigation, which also had found no fault, Dr. Burzynski was inexplicably indicted on charges of fraud, and 75 counts of violating federal law. If found guilty, he now faced 290 years in federal prison, and $18.5 million in fines.
A year later, in a bizarre twist brought about by congressional and public pressure, the FDA agreed to accept all of Dr. Burzynski's patients into a series of 72 FDA-supervised phase two clinical trials.
A 1996 article in The Washington Post noted:6
"The prosecution marks the first time the FDA has tried to jail a scientist for using a drug on which he is conducting FDA authorized clinical trials."
Federal Government Spent $60 Million Trying to Bury Dr. Burzynski
This second trial cost American taxpayers a whopping $60 million just in legal fees alone—that's not counting the cost of continually harassing him (including several raids on his office) and his patients over the preceding 11 years. Dr. Burzynski spent $2.2 million on his own defense, $700,000 of which was raised by Dr. Julian Whitaker through requests for donations in his newsletter Health & Healing.
On March 4, 1997, the judge declared it a mistrial, due to a deadlocked jury. However, after stating the government had not presented sufficient evidence in its case, he ordered that Dr. Burzynski be acquitted of 42 of the 75 counts.7
But the FDA wasn't done yet. They took him to court AGAIN!
Third Time's the Charm...
At this point, many were becoming increasingly aware that something very bizarre and unusual was going on. Jurors from the first trial even joined patients in protests outside the courthouse. One clear-headed juror from the previous trial stated:
"Please don't waste my money abusing the system to make sure that you maintain your power!"
On May 28, 1997, after three hours of deliberation, the jury came back with their final verdict: Not Guilty.8 By now you're probably thinking that this victory surely must mark the end of the wrongful harassment of Dr. Burzynski.
But no. It gets worse.
Secret Dealings Hide True Intents
While this ongoing drama unfolded over the course of more than a decade, something even more sinister was taking place behind the scenes, unbeknownst to Dr. Burzynski and his legal counsel.
In 1989, Dr. Burzynski had retained Dr. Dvorit Samid as a research consultant, and she did a lot of work with the antineoplaston ingredients. At the time, Dr. Samid worked at the Uniformed Services Medical School in Baltimore. She later transferred to the National Cancer Institute.
By 1990—while the Texas medical board kept filing one amended complaint after the other against Dr. Burzynski, in an effort to revoke his license—he had decided that the easiest way to keep the government from putting him out of business or in prison, was to partner with a pharmaceutical company. As luck would have it, he'd treated the sister-in-law of the Chairman and CEO of Élan Pharmaceuticals, and Élan eagerly drafted a letter of intent stating they would aggressively pursue the filing of the necessary protocols with the FDA for approval and marketing of antineoplastons.
Dr. Samid began working closely with Élan on the project. But once the financing, licensing agreements and royalties had been negotiated and agreed upon, Élan suddenly changed its tune, stating they had significant doubt as to whether the active substances could be patented, which would render an agreement meaningless.
As it turns out, Élan had instead partnered with the National Cancer Institute (NCI), where Dr. Samid got the position of section chief. They then co-sponsored laboratory research and clinical trials on just one of the antineoplastons' ingredients—an ingredient that Dr. Burzynski had NOT been able to patent due to the fact that it was already known. However, he had also already determined it to be very limited in terms of effectiveness on its own, over a decade ago.
Élan and the NCI spent tens of millions of dollars testing this single ingredient... Not surprisingly, it failed. Dr. Burzynski had already established that the ingredients must be used in combination in order to be effective. After realizing they could not duplicate the effectiveness of Dr. Burzynski's antineoplastons, the NCI finally agreed to conduct his clinical trials under the direction of Dr. Michael Friedman.
Sabotaging Trials—Par the Course for the National Cancer Institute
How do you sabotage a clinical trial?
It's actually easier than you might think. You'll have to watch the film to get all the details, but in summary, the trials were closed prior to completion, and were written off with the statement "no conclusion can be made about the effectiveness or toxicity of antineoplastons." But it was clear, based on the study data, that seven of the nine patients enrolled received NO antineoplastons whatsoever! The others received dosages that were far lower than recommended.
Adding insult to injury, in 1999, about a year after Dr. Burzynski had been acquitted a third and final time, the NCI published these invalid trials in the medical literature, citing antineoplastons as a complete failure. So sure, Dr. Burzynski was a free man; cleared of all charges and free to practice medicine, but now the National Cancer Institute had effectively undermined the credibility and commercial viability of his medical discovery...
What the film reveals next truly boggles the mind.
“After the National Cancer Institute intentionally violated all protocols of their own antineoplaston trials, and after all state and federal agencies had failed in their 14-year campaign to remove Burzynski from society-after all of the dust settled-a profound truth began to emerge.”
Theft and Patent Infringement—All in a Day's Work
In October 1991—while the Texas medical board kept filing amended complaints against him in an effort to revoke his license, due to pressure from the FDA—the National Cancer Institute (NCI) had conducted a site visit to Dr. Burzynski's clinic, and verified that "anti-tumor activity was documented by the use of antineoplastons."9
As it turns out, a mere 17 days after this visit, the United States of America, as represented by "The Department of Health and Human Services," filed a patent for antineoplastons AS2-1... one of the two antineoplastons Dr. Burzynski had already patented.
The inventor listed?
"Dr. Dvorit Samid," Dr. Burzynski's former research consultant. The patent states:
"The invention described herein may be manufactured, used and licensed by or for the government, for governmental purposes, without the payment to us of any royalties thereon."
Over the next four years, while the witch-hunt to put Dr. Burzynski behind bars was in full swing, the US Government filed 10 more patents for antineoplastons.
By the summer of 1995, around the time that Burzynski was indicted for fraud and 75 counts of violating federal law, Dr. Michael Friedman—who sabotaged the NCI antineoplastons trials—had left the NCI and become Deputy Commissioner of Operations for the FDA, working directly under FDA Commissioner Dr. David Kessler—the man responsible for dragging Dr. Burzynski in front of no less than four different grand juries a few years earlier.
In November of 1995, a month into Dr. Burzynski's trial, where he faced 290 years in prison, the US Patent office approved the first US Government patent for antineoplastons. Between 1995 and 2000, the US Patent office approved all 11 copycat patents on antineoplastons AS2-1...
Who Pays for Their Crimes?
By now your head is probably spinning, so let's recap.
Dr. Burzynski developed a cancer treatment that surpassed all other treatments on the market, and the FDA, the pharmaceutical industry, and the National Cancer Institute all knew it. They also knew he was the sole owner of the patents for this therapy, and these two facts combined, threatened the entire paradigm of the cancer industry.
The cancer paradigm is based on very expensive machines and toxic drugs. There's an enormous amount of money to be made in this paradigm, and Dr. Burzynski single-handedly threatened to overturn it.
So they tried to copy his invention using a single non-patented ingredient. It failed. The next step was to steal the whole thing right from under him. There was just one problem. They knew they couldn't use the stolen patents as long as Dr. Burzynski walked free and had the ability to defend his rights to them... So they concocted 75 fraudulent charges to tuck him away in jail for the rest of his life.
Fortunately for us, they failed in that too.
Dr. Whitaker sums it up nicely when he says:
"How can the US Patent office be corrupted to the point they issue patents for a medical treatment that's already been patented and issue them to someone who had nothing to do with their discovery or use? And how can the Patent office then assign these fraudulent patents to some of the most powerful institutions in the American government? And, imagine, all of this was done while these same agencies were spending millions of taxpayer dollars trying to put Dr. Burzynski in jail, so he could not fight the criminal theft of his discovery!"
As I said in the beginning, the facts of this case challenge the mind of any sane and rational person, but make no mistake about it: These things did happen, and Dr. Burzynski has all the documentation to back it up.
The US Government did harass and intimidate, and they did try to falsely imprison a brilliant scientist, simply because he'd discovered an effective cancer therapy, while simultaneously engaging in patent infringement.
Now, while this was an enormous personal hardship for Dr. Burzynski, the US Government also, through their enormous greed, in a very direct way prevented millions of cancer patients to receive a non-toxic therapy that could have saved their life. Remember, Dr. Burzynski has been trying to get antineoplastons reviewed and approved since 1977, to no avail. It's absolutely heartbreaking to consider the cost of this criminal behavior in terms of human life, including young children.
The Deadly, But Highly Profitable, Cancer Paradigm
While the stolen patents are filled with useful information about the benefits and efficacy of antineoplastons, one statement in particular sums up the problem with the current cancer paradigm:
"Current approaches to combat cancer rely primarily on the use of chemicals and radiation, which are themselves carcinogenic and may promote recurrences and the development of metastatic disease."
Dr. Burzynski's therapy, as you may recall, is non-toxic, giving patients the option to at least not suffer more grievous harm from the treatment itself, in addition to a significantly greater chance of being cured.
I'm sure that whenever someone donates their hard-earned money or participates in a pink-ribbon walkathon, they believe they're doing a good thing. They believe they're helping fund vital cancer research that will hopefully, someday, find a cure for cancer. Little do they know that much of this money goes toward perpetuating the status quo of cancer treatment, namely highly toxic drugs and expensive machines—the same old paradigm centered around profit.
As of 2010, the National Cancer Institute's annual budget is $5.2 billion. Dr. Burzynski cannot get a single dime of it. All of his research into antineoplastons over the past 35 years has been self-funded.
Think about that for a moment. Not one dime has been funneled toward developing one of the most promising cancer therapies to emerge in the past three decades... Are you still convinced they have your best interest at heart, and are diligently working to "find a cure for cancer"?
If you're NOT convinced, I'd urge you to take a look at the story of alternative cancer physician Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez, which has similarities to that of Dr. Burzynski. Gonzalez's treatments are so successful that conventional physicians felt the need to shut him down.