Current Affairs Science

It’s Burzynski, Jim, but not as we know it.

Stanislaw Burzynski has been in the spotlight for some time now, and if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you’re already aware of the controversy surrounding his alternative cancer treatment: Antineoplastons. Burzynski claims unheard of success rates with his treatment, and his website is full of testimonials from patients who say they have been cured of incurable cancers. Given all of the publicity, one might be convinced that Burzynski has just one string to his bow, but it seems that we may have been too quick to judge. Cancer patients can allegedly benefit from antineoplastons, but it seems that we can too.

Aminocare is the genetic solution to anti-ageing, brought to you by the Burzynski Clinic. It will solve all of our ageing problems with a whole new approach which focuses on genetics. As there are a whole host of problems associated with advanced age, many of them more significant than wrinkly skin, something which could combat these problems at a genetic level could be revolutionary – imagine a world free, not only of cancer, but of Alzheimer’s, for example.

Aminocare Brain Longevity Supplement is marketed as possibly preventative of Alzheimer’s (yours for the bargain price of $60 for 60 capsules!), and two of the ingredients stand out as significant. The first is curcumin, a compound which is part of the tumeric spice. Curcumin is the subject of ongoing trials because it has demonstrated some promising results in animal and in vitro studies, and it is true that in animal tests with transgenic Alzheimer mice, there a marked reduction in the plaques and inflammation which are characteristic of Alzheimer’s. So why aren’t we using this revolutionary treatment in humans? Simply, because we are not mice. Mice and humans absorb curcumin quite differently, resulting in drastically lowered amounts of free curcumin (that is, curcumin which has not bound to another molecule as part of metabolic processes) in humans. Curcumin which has bound to another molecule (most often glucuronic acid) can not pass through the blood brain barrier, and thus, cannot target the plaques and inflammation. Because we are aware that curcumin is absorbed differently, much research has been done on combining curcumin with other compounds, to try to increase the absorption. One such compound is found on the ingredients list: piperine.  A note in the product information tells us that piperine is something which increases the absorption of curcumin, and piperine was one of the first compounds tested which appeared to increase the bioavailability of curcumin. However, the overall levels of curcumin absorbed still do not match those seen in prior animal testing. There are some compounds which appear to be performing well in making curcumin absorb more readily, but those compounds are still in the early stages of testing, and piperine is not one of them. The inclusion of that animal test titbit in the product information is a subtle ploy; even though it is technically true, it is not the whole truth.

The second ingredient which caught my eye was “Glutamine Derivative (PG)”, which is described in the product information as a proprietary amino acid derivative phenylacetylglutamine. If you think that looks familiar, you’d be quite right – Burzynski says that it’s the active ingredient in A-10-I, one of his antineoplastons, which apparently cure Alzheimer’s as well as cancer.

Not content with ridding the world of cancer and degenerative  brain conditions, Burzynski also wants to tackle the scourge of make-up wearers everywhere – ageing. With Aminocare A10 Dietary Supplement, you can genetically slow down ageing. That’s powerful stuff (especially as there is still a ways to go before there is certainty about the genetic causes of ageing), let’s take a look at what’s in it. A10 Dietary Supplement claims to be a blend of amino acids, vitamin B12, and our old friend L-Glutamine Derivative (a.k.a. Dr. Burzynski’s proprietary ingredient, a.k.a. antineoplastons). Below are some of the claims made by this product, and I have highlighted some pertinent information:

A10 Supplement Claims


Absolutely none of the statements made about the efficacy of the product have been verified by an external body. This should be enough to make anyone very wary of spending money on such a product ($120 per box!), but if that’s not enough to give you pause for thought, a sidebar note about the product certainly should:

A10 Pic and Blurb

Aminocare A10 slows down the ageing process by gene expression modification. This is hinted at in the product description (“aids the regulation of normal cell division”) and is stated in the sidebar advertisement for the product (pictured left). This over-the-expensive-counter, completely untested, unregulated, and unverified capsule is going to stop you ageing by messing with your gene expression. How will it do this? Presumably, with the magic of antineoplastons, which are advertised as targeted gene therapy, because they “turn off” the “cancer genes”.

Perhaps you, like me, do not relish the thought of swallowing tablets. Never fear, as you may modify your gene expression and stay looking young simply by rubbing antineoplastons onto your skin.  The two antineoplaston ingredients in the  Aminocare Cream and Lotion cream “may restore the proper balance in gene expression” by turning off ageing genes, such as the icky wrinkly gene, and turning on other genes (such as the forever young gene) which are silenced during the normal ageing process. I have used chemicals in the lab which had the potential to mess with your genes and they are, in a word, scary. They are not something I would be in a hurry to smear all over my skin, so it is a very good thing that antineoplastons have an in-built identifier to know which are the “good” genes, and which are the “bad” genes.

A substance which claims to cure everything is called a panacea, and if you investigate this word, it’s likely that the only cures you’ll find are mythical ones, such as the philosopher’s stone, or the elixir of life, and this is not an accident. Throughout history, people have touted various substances as panaceas (tree sap, silver, mercury,etc.), and they have all been proven false. The truth is that we suffer from diseases which are so diverse that there is no one substance that could hope to conquer them all. The patter has changed, the terminology is littered with pseudo-scientific jargon, but the message is still the same. Come one, come all – you can inject them, eat them, or even just rub them all over your body. Antineoplastons are good for the soul!

9 replies on “It’s Burzynski, Jim, but not as we know it.”

I think it’s more along the lines of “one Woo to rule them all, one Woo to find them”.
I found out about this rubbish a while ago – I think it was being touted via Groupon, which figures – but it made me so angry I had to lay off and do something else.

They’ll be flogging ANPs as dietary supplements to sprinkle over cupcakes next.

Ben, I’m really not iestretned in discussing your partner’s illness for a couple of reasons. 1. What I would say would likely upset you and I have no wish to do that. You are optimistic by all accounts and your doctors are not going to deny you that, because there is no point at this stage. I could go on about deliberate over reading of scans but again, there is no point, because you have made your decision and you can’t go back on it now. At no point did I suggest YOUR doctors had misdiagnosed. I didn’t say that at all so don’t put words in my mouth. It was one of several possible reasons that Burzynski has raised red flags with the medical and scientific community. 2. Individual patient testimonies, and I don’t know how many times we have repeated this, are meaningless. It is the way all fraudsters and quacks sell their treatment, bypassing rigorous scrutiny. I’ll give you an example. There is a child that certain people have been using to advertise Burzynski’s miracle cure. Aside from the fact that the poor child isn’t cured at all, and his tumour has simply followed the natural course for that kind of tumour, his parents gave him homeopathic cancer treatment i.e. water, and a treatment that some randon guy insists was passed down to him by god in a dream. Yet those parents, in their desperation, think Burzynski has got some miracle cure that worked for them. Do you think that is comparable with publication and peer review so that other doctors and scientists can evaluate treatment? Not. Even. Close. Interesting that you say you are not being charged by Burzynski? Do you mean he is not charging for the drugs themselves but is charging an arm and a leg for training and consumables? Or are you getting completely free treatment in return for something? I ask because it’s patently obvious people are paying large amounts of money for it. Also, to deny that Burzynski uses chemo is a bit silly. You know he does. The idea of his treatment being natural and non toxic is marketing bullshit. Now, I know you’re not going to address any of the questions, because you don’t care, you think he’s a maverick genius. I think he’s a conman, but I’m quite willing to change my mind if evidence is produced. None has been forthcoming so far. It just looks more and more dodgy the more I see. Answer me this though, if nothing else. Let’s assume for one minute that he is onto something and antineoplastons cure some cancers. Why do you think he refuses to share this miracle? Do you not think that would be utterly immoral? Don’t tell me he can’t afford to do trials like Big Pharma . He is Pharma, whether you like it or not. He has money, he has patients, he has been DOING trials for 30 years, he has permission for a seemingly never starting Phase III. Yet he refuses to allow other to benefit, do you not find that odd? Some of his fans will say but people just want to steal his ideas! Course we both know that’s bollocks, no-one with an ounce of decency would keep a cancer cure to themselves. There are only two possible conclusions. He has a cure and is keeping it from the world, or he has naff all and is conning desperate people out of theirs and other people’s money.

If antineoplastons are so useful to our bodies, why do we eliminate them in our urine? (as that’s where he found them) Alternatively, why consume something that we normally get rid of?

I know, too much use of logic.

For the same reasons that we eliminate Vitamin C, sodium, potassium, and a host of other essential vitamins and minerals. Our bodies routinely “eliminate” substances from our bodies in order to regulate the body chemistry.

Not saying anything about the efficacy of the antineoplastons, but just to point out that we normally consume multiple elements that our bodies also expel.

Sadly, he will almost certainly get away with the ‘changing gene expression’ buzzword tag. Me typing this now, or having a cup of tea will change the expression of hundreds of genes. This is for me though, absolute proof that he is taking the piss and extorting money from people, knows it, and doesen’t care one bit. No legitimate medical doctor would even try something like this as it is a minefield of pseudoscience – and importantly, he can’t prove anything that he has said.

‘Warding off toxic events’ – taking it too far Burzynski, what the hell are you even talking about?

What an idiot. Hope this is finally his downfall and the FDA pounce on him.

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