Nov 29, 2011

Quackery.

Sadly, all of us have been touched by cancer in one way or another. We all know someone who has suffered from it, or at least the threat of it. The plague of the twentieth century has taken many lives, so it's no surprise that those diagnosed with the horrific disease can be desperate to find a cure.

Of course there are many who'll promise a cure, or at least a simple remedy, for a hefty fee of course. Not surprisingly, none if any of these miracle cures have actually been proven to work, but many in the "alternative medicine" business will defend the unscrupulous practice of selling snake oil to the sick and dying with the zeal of a religious fundamentalist.

This brings me to Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, who operates a cancer treatment clinic out of Houston, Texas. He makes strong claims for something he calls antineoplaston therapy, which is found in urine and supposedly replaces missing peptides in the bloodstreams of cancer patients. It sounds like a reasonable way of tackling cancer, but as most things in medicine and life, if it sounds too good to be true, it often is. As I'm aware there have been no randomized clinical trials that prove this therapy to be effective at all. The FDA tried to bring down the hammer on Dr Burzynski, but an appeals court decided he could continue with the quack treatment, so long as he calls them trials instead of therapy.

So patients shell out hundreds to thousands of dollars to Dr Burzynski for a method that hasn't passed the test of science, of whom I can't really fault. If I or a loved one had cancer I can't say I wouldn't try anything to save them, even if it meant abandoning all sense or reason.

This brings me to Rhys Morgan, a seventeen year old blogger from the UK. He saw some of his fellow countrymen take donations from people in order to be flown to Houston for Dr Burzynski's trials. He wrote a factual blog about how it's a load of horseshit, so as alternative medicine practitioners do, Burzynski had his lawyer threaten a teenager with a libel suit. Morgan decided not to take this lying down and posted the exchange with the mentally challenged attorney online. I suggest reading about it here.

The lawyer, some fool with serious ethical issue named Marc Stephens, has also threatened other bloggers who have wrote about the quakassery of Burzynski, even going so far as to include his subjects' families in the correspondence. His incompetence has created the Streisand effect for Burzynski, and more people are being educated about what a fraud his claims are.

So why am I blogging about this? Well personally I have a special kind of hatred for 'alternative medicine' practitioners and their supporters, as they prey upon the sick and dying while selling snake oil. Homeopathy, anti-vaccine, and other nonsense have endangered public health with their bullshit. Even well meaning, intelligent folks subscribe to this, but they're just as guilty as those who know full well they're peddling crap to the weak and needy.

Also Rhys asked other bloggers to tell the story of Mr Stephens, attorney extraordinaire, and quack Burzynski, in hopes people actually take science seriously and maybe spend their money on finding a real cure for cancer. In Rhys' words:

"So in order to spread the word, I need your help. I would really appreciate
it if you could do the following two things:
Tweet about the Burzynski clinic. You could either write your own tweet or
you could retweet my suggested tweet: RT @rhysmorgan Patients need to know the
whole truth about Burzynski’s cancer treatment claims: http://josephinejones.wordpress.com/2011/11/25/stanislaw-streisand-and-spartacus/
OR you could retweet this: RT @rhysmorgan Dr Burzynski does not want you to
know the whole truth about his cancer treatments, which is why he tried to sue
me http://rhysmorgan.co/2011/11/threats-from-the-burzynski-clinic
Add a link to this blog from your website so that it will increase the
PageRank for this blog so that when patients search for Burzynski, they discover
this blog as well as Dr Burzynski’s propaganda. This way, they can discover the
whole truth and determine for themselves whether it’s worth investing in his
treatment."


Bravo to you Rhys and others who have been bullied by these jerks.

"I posted the blog so that patients, their friends and families would be aware of the whole story about Burzynski and his unproven therapy. I want them to be aware that the treatment seems to be in a constant cycle of trials generating unpublished results. As Dr Howard Ozer, director of the Allegheny Cancer Center in Philadelphia, said – it is scientific nonsense." - Rhys Morgan

3 comments:

Miss Ash said...

Ugh ohhh you're going to be next on the list of those charged (:P)....that aside I commend you for posting this! Those that prey on the sick and dying are disgusting!

Claire said...

WTG! I hate asshats like Dr B and their twisted mindgames with the ill.

Cxx

Kelli said...

I have Tweeted, Stumbled, Google+'d & "liked" this.