My 1st-hand Review of Orac’s 2nd-Hand Review – Burzynski: Cancer is Serious Business, Part II

Burzynski critic Orac blogged about “Burzynski: Cancer is Serious Business, Part II”

He points out that:

“skeptics were going to be the main target of his “film making””


“Merola made an explicit promise to “name names.””

Don’t worry Orac

Just like with “Part I,” any supporting documentation will end up on:

or some similar source:


To use Orac’s words:

Josephine Jones isn’t exactly known for intellectual honesty (or even talent) in blog “fact-check-making”

“this post, by David Gorski, which also looked critically and in detail at the movie…”

We know this statement is “factually-challenged” since what was “looked critically and in detail at” was NOT all the supporting documentation on the BurzynskiMovie web-site

One might rightfully come to the conclusion that what was allegedly “looked critically and in detail at,” was “cherry- picked”

Orac continues:

“my curiosity about the contents of the movie would probably have to wait, and it will, at least as far as seeing the movie”

“I was faced with a problem”

“How does one review or discuss a movie second hand?”

“How does one report on a movie that one hasn’t seen, about which one has to trust the powers of observation (and not to mention the note taking capabilities) of someone else, no matter how well briefed beforehand about what to look for?”

Don’t worry Orac

It didn’t stop Craig Masilow:

Orac then comes to a decision:

“I decided that there was only one thing to do, and that’s just to go ahead and do it”

This is NOT an “INFOMERCIAL” for Nike, Orac

“I realize that there are likely huge swaths of information missing”

No doubt contributed by the above-mentioned “note taking capabilities” and lack of supporting documentation

“2. Burzynski is a Brave Maverick Doctor who is curing patients that conventional science can’t cure, and it’s not his fault when he can’t”

“I would very much like to hear that segment, because it could be instructive to see how an oncologist handled Hymas’ family’s pleas to be associated with something he definitely didn’t want to be associated with. I guess I’ll have to wait until July”

So much for those “note taking capabilities”

“The second favorite tactic of Brave Maverick Doctors like Burzynski is to blame the patient (or, in this case, the patient’s family) when the patient doesn’t do well”

“The insinuation here about Amelia appears to be that the reason she didn’t do well is because her parents didn’t follow the Brave Maverick Doctor’s treatment plan to the letter”

“The implication in Amelia’s case appears to be that the reason Amelia’s condition deteriorated so rapidly and she died was because Mr. and Mrs. Saunders decided to take her off of the antineoplastons too soon”

Well, maybe that was the case

Just like when patients do NOT stay hydrated:

The frequency, cost, and clinical outcomes of hypernatremia in patients hospitalized to a comprehensive cancer center

Division of Internal Medicine, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA

Support Care Cancer. 2013 Feb 13. [Epub ahead of print]

hypernatremia in the U.S.:

And Orac proceeds again:

“I’ve heard of so many examples of dubious readings of imaging studies that I have to wonder”

Well, let’s NOT let “FACTS” get in the way of a critics best friend:


And so Orac plods onward:

“3. Burzynski is a real scientist with tons of data supporting antineoplaston therapy who is being unjustly hounded by the FDA, the NCI, and big pharma to prevent him from bringing his cancer cure to market”

Thank goodness, Orac did NOT find anything bad about Temodar, because there wasn’t … or was there?


Orac skips past that and on to:

“And, apparently, it’s not Burzynski’s fault that he hasn’t been able to publish, either”

“was trying to publish that data but had been rejected”

“The movie claims that up until 2006 antineoplaston papers were routinely accepted”

“Well, maybe”

“Or maybe editors are finally on to ol’ Stan”

I guess Orac was too busy to do any “fact-checking,” but this seems to happen with Orac:

“If any #burzynski supporter can find any mistakes in any of my posts on him, let me know”
10:21pm – 13 Mar 13

Oh, I would gladly do so Orac, but you BLOCKED ME with a lame excuse; since I was “Insolently” pointing out “misinformation,” “disinformation,” and “misdirection”

“The clinic is actively compiling the data from it’s completed trial and is seeking to publish it in peer review journals”

“You want to see data published”

“So does the clinic”

“The clinic is busy analyzing data, seeking publishing”

Back to Orac for a moment:

“Whatever the case, as I’ve pointed out Burzynski’s publications since 2000 are pretty thin gruel and quite unimpressive, all in lower tier journals, some in “integrative medicine” and CAM journals, and some review articles”

Gee Orac, where does the Declaration of Helsinki require what YOU want ?

Click to access 17c.pdf


Click to access 79(4)373.pdf

PDF – History:

Click to access helsinki.pdf

National Cancer Institute
at the National Institutes of Health

Cancer Clinical Trials

15. “The results of clinical trials are OFTEN published in peer-reviewed scientific journals”

” … whether or NOT the results are published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal … “

Orac rambles on:

“Although he’s published preliminary results of one of his phase II trials, he’s never, despite having had over 60 phase II trials, published a complete phase II trial”

“An amazing example of the nefariousness of journals is given”

“In November Burzynski tried to submit the results of a phase II trial to The Lancet Oncology, but we’re told that the manuscript was rejected two hours after it was submitted with basically no explanation”

“Any scientist who’s tried to submit to a top tier journal is probably laughing now”

“We’ve all accumulated stories like this”

“True, I’ve never had a two-hour turnaround time for an editorial rejection, but I have had a rejection in less than 24 hours”

Did you get an EXPLANATION ?

“It’s cutthroat out there, and the top tier journals get so many submissions that they frequently do a “first pass” of rejections of manuscripts that the editors deem to have virtually no chance of being published or that don’t fit within the scope of the journal tightly enough”

“In fact, The Lancet Oncology is unusual in this:”

“All original research judged eligible for consideration by the journal’s editors will be peer-reviewed within 72 h and, if accepted, published within 8 weeks from submission”

“All accepted Articles will be published online first before appearing in the print journal”

Let’s see what Burzynski has done:

“There are many inaccuracies in this written piece”

“The accusation of Dr. Burzynski not publishing is a completely incorrect”

“A cursory glance through would show a listing of 46”

“Over the last 10 years, at least once or twice a year we have presented our clinical and basic research data at large international congresses attended by thousands of specialists in the area as well as news media and the general public”

“The most important congresses were annual meetings of the U.S. Society for Neuro-Oncology, the European Association for Neuro-Oncology, the World Federation of Neuro-Oncology, and the International Symposia on Pediatric Neuro-Oncology”

“After the congresses, the abstracts of presentations were published by the highly respected journal, Neuro-Oncology, and printed by Oxford’s University Press”

“Additional data were also presented by a group of Japanese doctors including the recently published results on randomized, controlled clinical trials in colon cancer with liver metastases, which was presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology meeting and published in the Annals of Oncology”

“Attached are 25 abstracts of interim data on clinical trials, basic research and some case reports that were published in Neuro-Oncology from October 2003 to September 2012”

“These abstracts are available in libraries all over the world and through the Internet”

“In addition, there was a Japanese presentation published in the Annals of Oncology (attached)”

“There were five interim results articles on Phase II clinical trials with the last one published in 2006, and three review articles”

“There is also a book chapter on both basic and clinical research on Antineoplastons published in 2006, one recent article on basic research published in June 2012, and two articles on targeted therapy, published in 2011”

“Attached is a non-exhaustive list of the articles that were spoken of”

“Highly respected peer-reviewed journals are unlikely to accept interim results on clinical trials”

“We tried to submit such data, but were rejected”

“This is one of the reasons why we did not publish additional articles on clinical trials since 2006, because we decided to wait for the completion of the clinical trials which occurred just a few months ago”

“Since July 2012, we have prepared numerous manuscripts which describe the results of clinical trials, and we continue this process at present”

“These manuscripts are at various stages of peer review and submission to medical journals, and it is beyond our control when they will be published”

Why could I take the time to locate this on the Internet, and the “esteemed” Orac couldn’t ?

“4. The Japanese are on the verge of publishing definitive clinical trial evidence that antineoplastons work!”

” I can’t evaluate this claim until I see a publication in the peer-reviewed medical literature other than to say that most scientists frown on discussing one’s results in a propaganda movie before actually…oh, you know…publishing them in a decent peer-reviewed journal—and with good reason”

Wow, Orac

How about I provide a link for you ?

Randomized Phase II Study of Hepatic Arterial Infusion with or without Antineoplastons as Adjuvant Therapy after Hepatectomy for liver Metastases from Colorectal Cancer

Annals of Oncology 2010;21:viii221

Click to access 8774.pdf

“5. Skeptics are evil meanies who cackle evilly as they terrorize cancer patients online and delight in crushing their hope”

“Apparently we’re also so all-encompassing that Merola didn’t do what he had promised and actually name names”

“Burzynski material out of Wikipedia. I will give Merola credit for one mildy funny line that our Skeptics remembered, namely that the only neutral information about Burzynski in Wikipedia is his date of birth and prior education”

“Apparently the audience thought it was funny too”

“I really wish I could have seen this part, because according to our Skeptics many Tweets and blog post excerpts were flashed on the screen, all designed to make The Skeptics really, really bad”

“And I’m sure Merola could find some, too”

“I have seen the occasional Skeptic go too far in my opinion in what he or she says about Burzynski patients”

All in good time, Orac

But in the meantime, you can always go HERE:

Where Burzynski critics resorted to adolescent name-calling, misinformation, disinformation, and misdirection:

“trolls,” “spammers,” “disingenuous,” “dishonest,” “profoundly dishonest,” “sheer stubborn stupid,” “stupid,” “spambot,” “fools,” “shills, “conman”

Orac gets about to wrap it up:

“Merola’s retort?”

“He mentions a 2008 Wall Street Journal story about M.D. Anderson charging cancer patients $105,000 up front to begin therapy”

“Googling located the article quickly, but I can’t get access to the original article”

How about THIS, Orac ?

Orac, I agree with at least these 2:

“No shame whatsoever.”
“Don’t care about the truth.”

“The underlying lessons”

“One problem with trying to write about a movie that you haven’t seen through second hand accounts is that you just can’t get the whole experience the film maker intended because all you have to go on are discussions and other people’s accounts”

“asked him about how he has funded his movies, Merola reportedly looked none too pleased. It was at this point that I think we get a full lesson in where Merola’s at”

Maybe they should have looked HERE:

“It’s sad that he offered up this boldness and risk taking in the service of someone like Burzynski, who, if Merola is to be believed, didn’t trust him at first and had to be won over by a rough cut of footage about patients from the first movie”

Maybe you should have viewed THIS:


1 thought on “My 1st-hand Review of Orac’s 2nd-Hand Review – Burzynski: Cancer is Serious Business, Part II

  1. Pingback: Critiquing the Critics on Orac’s Respectful Insolence blog: Part I | Didymus Judas Thomas' Hipocritical Oath Blog

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