SEATTLE ONCOLOGIST CONCLUDES
BURZYNSKI RESULTS ARE "ASTOUNDING"
© 1997 by Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.
A well-respected oncologist has concluded that the effects of Dr. Stanislaw
R. Burzynski's antineoplaston treatment for brain cancer are "astounding"
and need to be intensively investigated.
The doctor is Robert E. Burdick, M.D., who has been in the private practice
of medical oncology in Seattle, WA for the last 27 years. He is a faculty
member of the University of Washington and participates in cancer research
in that state. He made his evaluation as an expert witness for the Burzynski
side in the form of a detailed eight-page letter dated February 19, 1997
to the judge in Dr. Burzynski's case, the Hon. Sim Lake.
Dr. Burdick reviewed the case records of all the brain cancer patients
who were included in Burzynski's FDA approved CAN-1 trial initiated in February,
1996. The purpose of the review was to have an independent oncologist critically
examine these records to ascertain the veracity of the results and the toxicity
of the treatment as compared to the current standard treatment.
Burdick carefully discusses the 17 cases that were submitted for his
review. Since he is a medical oncologist, evaluation of the radiological
evidence was carried out by another prominent doctor in the Washington,
D.C. area. These 17 represented the "responders" from a total
of 40 patients receiving antineoplaston therapy at that time.
Dr. Burdick reports that in the 17 patients, there were 7 complete
remissions in 6 patients. That is because included among these was one
patient who had two complete remissions: he discontinued antineoplastons
and the tumor grew back. He then resumed antineoplastons and had a second
complete remission. In addition, there were 9 partial remissions and
Dr. Burdick wrote, "The average duration of antineoplastons necessary
to obtain a complete remission was 10 months, with a range of 2 to 20 months.
The average duration of therapy with antineoplastons necessary to obtain
a partial response was 8 months, with a range of 1 to 14 months. The average
duration of complete remissions is 16+ months with all six complete remissions
continuing to remain in remission to the best of my knowledge through January
The complete responders included a 47-year old woman with a glioblastoma;
a 14-year-old girl also with glioblastoma; a 4-year-old boy with a medulloblastoma;
a 47-year-old man with a malignant meningioma; and a 63-year old man with
an anaplastic astrocytoma.
In conclusion, Dr. Burdick wrote that the judge that he was "very
impressed with the number of complete and partial responses that I have
seen here." He compared these responses to the dismal results he
has seen in the course of his long career. "The responses here are
also far in excess of any prior series of patients published in the
Even after Dr. Schellinger downgraded two of the group of 17 from partial
remission to stable disease, the results astonished the experienced doctor.
"Thus the response rate here is an astounding 33 percent with
a complete remission rate of 15 percent. Such remission rates are far in
excess of anything that I or anyone else has seen since research work on
brain tumors began."
Dr. Burdick also deals with the often heard allegation that Burzynski's
responses are due to the residual effects of conventional therapy. "It
is very clear that the responses here are due to antineoplaston therapy
and are not due to surgery, radiation or standard chemotherapy." In
every case, antineoplaston therapy was only initiated two months or more
after the last treatment with chemotherapy or radiation."[B]y consensus
any benefit from chemotherapy or radiation occurs within two months of the
cessation of these modalities of treatment or not at all. This insures that
any delays in response to either of those two modalities cannot be interpreted
as a response to antineoplaston therapy."
The Seattle doctor further cautions that antineoplaston therapy must
be maintained over a longer period of time that oncologists may be used
to with cytotoxic agents. "It is very clear that oftentimes responses
are slow to develop in these tumors, despite almost daily therapy with antineoplastons
and that when antineoplaston therapy is stopped tumors may regrow within
a few months."
LONG AND MEANINGFUL
"The duration of these responses is long and meaningful,"
he states. "It is also clear that although there is some toxicity associated
with antineoplastons, it does not appear life threatening in this small
sample of patients." Although the doctor does not spell out the alleged
"toxicity" of antineoplastons, there have been other anecdotal
reports of edema, due to the high volume of liquid which must be injected
into the patient in the course of the treatment.
This experienced physician concludes, "Research needs to continue
on these very promising agents. We need to know such things as the optimal
dose of these agents, the optimal route of administration, the optimal duration
of treatment and many other details too numerous to mention."
The irony in all this is that Judge Sim Lake himself has precluded any
discussion of the efficacy of the treatment in Burzynski's trial. Thus,
everything that Dr. Burdick writes could be true--and Lake could thoroughly
agree with it--and yet he could still sentence Dr. Burzynski to life imprisonment
this spring. He would thereby annihilating one of the most promising treatments
in the United States--and the hopes of 400 patients who believe it is essential
for their survival.
--Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.
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