Dr Stanislaw Burzynski
In 1970 a young Polish research scientist, Stanislaw Burzynski M.D. PhD arrived at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas as Assistant Professor.
His prime interest, an interest that he had cultivated since his time as a graduate student, was urinary peptides (short chains of amino acids) and their anti-cancer activities.
The fact that fascinated him was that normal healthy individuals had much higher levels of certain peptides
He had originally noticed a difference in peptide content between the blood and urine of healthy people and that of cancer patients. The fact that fascinated him was that normal healthy individuals had much higher levels of certain peptides and that these peptides not only helped in the process of communication between cells (and thus identification of rogue cells by the immune system) but were also known to possess the ability to stop cancer growth in vitro. Similar studies at Leeds University had shown the presence of these, but no follow up analytical work was done with them.
Quite early on in his work he concluded that these peptides somehow helped the immune system in its work, whilst also affecting the unique biochemistry of the cancer cell. He managed to isolate about 120 peptide fractions, amino acid derivatives and organic acids for his studies. These he termed antineoplastons, and he prepared two mixed ´active packages´ - formulae - both produced synthetically. Both ´mixes´ were active against cancer tumours.
It is now clearly understood that, in cancer, as the ras gene can be read and cause a cancer signal to be made (genes that cause cancer are called oncogenes). It is also known that another gene (p53) normally suppresses tumours (and turns off the cancer process) but somehow fails in a cancer patient.
Burzynski showed that antineoplastons both turn off the ras gene and restimulate the p53 suppressor, and he thinks of antineoplastons as ´switches´ turning some things off and others back on. They provide the messages to tell the genes to act. Without enough of these crucial peptides a cancer is made more likely.
A cancer patient has a double problem
Antineoplaston peptides are made in various parts of the body but primarily in the liver and the kidneys. Two types exist, ones with a very specific activity for specific tissues, and others that have broad scale activity for a wide variety of tissues. Hence his two original ´action´ packages.
A cancer patient has a double problem. They make far less of certain peptides than are needed (probably because the genes that control them are poisoned by modern toxins or diet); and also the cancer cell sends out messages to tell the kidneys to excrete them, thus protecting itself.
In case you don´t know, peptides are short chains of amino acids, whilst proteins are long chains of more than 30.
The FDA Acts
And then it all went pear-shaped. Burzynski´s discoveries were at first applauded and he was offered a more junior post but in Baylor´s Department of Pharmacology - a job he turned down. Almost immediately his research grant was withdrawn and he was left outside of ´the system´.
In 1983 he applied to the FDA for new drug permits for antineoplastons but was turned down. A lengthy legal battle then took place which included the FDA raiding his offices.
Since there was no statute in Texas preventing him from ´treating´ patients with this essentially non-toxic solution, he set up shop for himself. However the US District Court then banned him from shipping his product across state borders. Since he couldn´t stop patients taking product back to their homes in other states, he was subjected to Grand Jury investigation and eventually tried on over 70 charges. One by one he beat all of these and 14 years later the FDA and the District Court gave in. An important part of the defence was that these antineoplastons worked!
An important part of the defence was that these antineoplastons
In 1991 a group of investigators from the National Cancer Institute went to the Burzynski Research Institute in Houston and reviewed his ´best 7 cases´, where patients with astrocytomas and glioblastomas had mainly experienced complete responses to the ´drugs´. The NCI recommended a Phase II clinical trial, which began in 1993 and was overseen by such eminent people as the Mayo Clinic and Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre. Only 9 people were followed and the report concluded that the results were insufficient to recommend antineoplastons for a wider use.
Burzynski was extremely unhappy especially when he discovered that the doses used had been far lower than he was using with his own patients. Indeed he had a letter published stating that the levels used were previously established by him to be ineffective!
Meanwhile he undertook his own studies. In one study of 36 patients (all with brain tumours and some of multiforme levels) he produced evidence for the following:
- 9 (25%) had a complete response i.e. disappearance on an MRI scan.
- 7 (19.5%) had a partial response i.e. more than 50 per cent reduction on MRI scan.
- 12 (33.3%) were stabilized.
In his report Burzynski noted "the general consensus in the medical community is that such tumours cannot be cured by chemotherapy, and the response rate is only modest". However Burzynski achieved a response of over 50 per cent, i.e. 16 of his 36 patients.
Dr Burzynski continues with his efforts and currently has over 70 patients in full clinical trials now overseen by a more agreeable FDA. He has also recently won FDA approval for an amino acid ´mix´ for home use, but he stresses that this is by no means in replacement for his therapy.
Currently researchers are also exploring the effects of
Currently researchers in Kurume University, Japan and Imperial College, London are also exploring the effects of antineoplastons, not just with all types of tumours, but with diseases such as Aids too.
Certain genes have been identified and linked to a number of cancers; others are specific to a certain type of cancer. Burzynski and the Japanese are studying which genes are blocked, and which are over active, with which cancers. It is early days but the full picture may be less than 10 years away and it could have wonderful results. The MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, which confirmed Burzynski´s initial antineoplaston theories, is world-renowned and they are clear that all the exciting developments in cancer cure lie outside of chemotherapy nowadays.
Recently, Burzynski has developed 12 ´active´ formulae and believes that far more active packages will be developed in the future. Indeed he believes antineoplastons will eventually become a mainstream treatment for all cancers.
At the end of the day, notwithstanding Professor Pilkington´s work on Clomipramine, there is currently no effective brain tumour chemotherapy drug, largely because the blood-brain barrier is primarily there to prevent just such a chemical entering the brain. Nor is there adequate research on non-toxic natural therapies, but clearly these will be far more likely to address problems within the brain. Thus it is likely that the only successful treatment for brain tumours will be ´natural!
But looking beyond to other cancers, the potential is enormous, because cancer patients are clearly deficient in certain peptides. The only problem is that if their production cannot be restimulated (and this probably means finding a cause for the lowered production in the first place) the peptide mixes have to be taken by the patient indefinitely.
Dr Burzynski could be just another brick in a wall of failure. Somehow we doubt it. In which case he could be on his way to a Nobel Prize with his pioneering, non-toxic treatments.
We wish him well in his efforts.