Pete Cohen chats with Richard A. Jaffe, Esq.

4/2012Pete Cohen chats with Rick Jaffe
(33:59) 11/9/2012
Richard A. Jaffe, Esq.
How did you meet Dr. Burzynski?

A long time ago in 1988, um, he hired us to represent him in his Medical Board case, so, uh, started working for him then, and then there got to be more and more work, and, uh, at some point it was so much work, it was just easier for me to be down here
So I moved from New York to Texas, mostly just to, to represent him, and my wife was in the oil industry, so, it was a “no brainer” for her to move down here too

And how, were you intrigued by this whole case ?
I mean, did you work out straight away that this guy was genuine, and there was really something here ?

No (laugh)
How do you know, you know ?
At the time we represented, uh, a number of a alternative health practitioners around the country, and we heard a lot about Burzynski, but you don’t really know
I mean, um, um, there are a lot of stories out there
Every doctor seems to have a few patients, uh, that were helped
So initially, I mean, how do you know ?
His operation was larger than most of any, uh, health practitioners, alternative health practitioners in the country, and, uh, seemed a lot more sophisticated, but, uh, it’s not really until you dig in the medical records of the patients that you really see what’s going on
I mean, that’s what you really need
I mean,
It’s not really even, it’s
’cause this whole thing about anecdotal evidence, that everyone has testimony
so every doctor
You know what I mean ?
Even charlatans have testimony
one or two people
or 3 or 4 that’ll come, and say w
they were cured, and maybe, maybe the patients really believe that to be the case, but, um, oftentimes there’s other explanations
Prior treatment, um, the nature of the disease
Sometimes it’s such that their natural, the natural history is not straight linear, um, but after looking at some of the medical records, I mean, you know, I think
it’s just,
uh, anybody would become a believer, and indeed, I mean, government, government doctors have come down here and looked at

some of the records, and they were convinced that, that the treatment was causing remissions in some brain cancer patients

So, I mean, obviously lawyers, I imagine many lawyers all over the world would often take on a case, when they know, possibly the guy isn’t telling the truth, but they can see there’s still a story, and they, they, they, they, uh, represent that person, but for you, I suppose
that when you realized that there really was a story here, did you kind of get, emotionally caught up in this whole thing and think: “Right, th this guy’s got a cure for cancer, and I I need to bring this to, bring him to just, not bring him to justice, but, clear his name
Well, I think with Burzynski, more so than any client I’ve ever represented
He represents a unique constellation of medical services
He’s the only guy in the world doing what he’s doing with antineoplastons and now with this treatment, so, it’s really different
Uh, you know, with Burzynski, most of the patients, are in bad shape
They’re either dying, uh, they, or they have a disease for which there is no known cure, you know, like a lot of these brain tumors
So, even from the beginning, what’s different is their are many, many patients back then who were on the treatment, that uh, that felt that without this treatment they were going to die, and so that, that’s much different, than the average, any kind of lawsuit
Right ?
So th th these lawsuits, the Burzynski cases back then and now, uh, these cases matter, in a, in a deeper, and fundamental, and personal way than most anything, well I think that any lawyer does
I mean, any criminal defense lawyer, who defends an individual, is defending that person’s, uh, liberty
Alright ?
Versus incarceration
But here it, it wasn’t so much, or, it wasn’t exclusively about Burzynski, it was really about all these other patients, and they certainly believe they needed him, and, uh, uh, many of them, obviously did
So, so that, that, that’s a whole ‘nother dimension, which typically we lawyers don’t get involved in
So, I mean, it’s a responsibility but also a great privilege to be working on these kinds of cases

You’ve been representing him for how long ?

For a long time
Since 1988, continuously

And can you believe this is still going on ?

Well, you know, uh, it’s, you know, it’s, it’s just ongoing
I mean, until there’s a cure for cancer, for all cancer, either done by acknowledged

or, uh, uh, to be Burzynski’s cure or somebody else’s
I mean, this is ongoing
And I guess the problem is, you know, ultimately, there’s nobody yet
Not even Burzynski has the cure for every cancer or
even every stage, or even ev, every, ev, ev, every person that had cancer
So, because it’s such a tough battle, and because, it doesn’t work on everyone
So you have these open questions
Ah, so, so,
Yeah, I mean, I guess, I, I can’t believe he’s still messing around with these clinical trials
I mean, I think that if the drug didn’t have his name attached to it, it’d probably would have been approved by now
So, and I think, so that, that’s unfortunate, I think, that when you fight the FDA, and even if you win, you know, the F, the repercussions, you know, you know I, you know I
Hopefully the drug will be approved, sometime in the future, but, but who knows ?

So, um, why do you think, why was it, I mean, obviously I came over here as you know, for this case, which is now not going ahead at the moment
Why, why, why is that ?
Wha, what has the judge, said ?

Well, of course, you have to (under)stand, this case involves a different type of treatment
It doesn’t involve antineoplastons,the drug Dr. Burzynski invented, and your friend is receiving, and it involves a new approach to cancer, which is sort of like personalized medicine, where they take a bunch of FDA approved drugs, that have shown some promise, on a particular cancer, but are not, uh, approved for that indication, and based on these early clinical trials showing promising results for genetic testing they give these combinations of FDA approved drugs, off-label to patients, and that’s really what the, this case is about, and, uh, you know I think, I don’t think they, they never had a case
I mean, they never had a case
The, the main allegation, in each, of the 2 patients involved, is that they used this treatment, which wasn’t sufficiently tested, and was non-therapeutic, and whatnot, and we had a, what I would call a dry run
We presented the evidence to the Board, or 2 members of the Board, in both of these cases
In each, in each case, the Board members felt that the treatment, was within the standard of care, given the advanced condition of the patient, or one patient, and given how rare the other patient’s tumor was
So, we had our dry run in each case, and the Board found in our favor on the main charge
They had some technical issues with medical records or whatnot, and, uh, the Board basically said, they took the position, ok, agree to some kind of sanction on these little charges, or, or we’re going to go after you on everything
So, we refused the honor, and, uh, the Board then charged him with the same thing that they already cleared him with, or on, and, and so we had to do, you know, basically the same case again, and, uh, the irony in, is in these 2 cases Burzynski wasn’t even in the country
He was, he was, he was away for, uh, in both, for both cases, when the patientscame
So, uh, the question is how do you hold someone responsible
Even if you own the clinic, for treatment administered and prescribed, by other doctors, and that concept of vicarious liability does not, uh, exist in jurisprudence, and in the law governing professional re, responsibility, anywhere in this country
So, the Board’strying to start that
You know, I think they just got in over their heads, they
Most people just knuckle under
You know, most people don’t, are afraid to go to court, so they’ll sign anything just to, you know, not to go forward, but, you know, Burzynski faced serious stuff
I mean, he set, faced, 5, 10, 15 years in jail
So he wasn’t going to be intimidated, by the Medical Board, and he refused to give in
So when I told the Board at the time, and I told them all along, they have no case, and o on the merits they have no case
We already won, and they have no case now, and, and slowly I think, the Board is starting to understand that

And what sort of a person would you say Dr. Burzynski is ?

Well I think he’s a complicated person
I mean, I think, uh, uh, you know, he, I think like a lot of mavericks; I represent a lot of mavericks around the, uh, uh, country
One of the main characteristics of these guys, is that they have absolute and total certainty, in what they believe in, in what they do, um, and no doubt
Uh, they all think they’re right
They all think that history is going to vindicate them
Now, I’ve represented some people where I personally doubt (laugh) that, uh, uh, that belief, but not in Dr. Burzynski’s case
I mean, I think he’s all, he’s definitely helping people
He’s definitely, uh, uh, uh, making, extending people’s lives, and curing some people that otherwise would have died, and so I think he, and so I think he happens to be right
So, uh, you know, so, but, but he’s a human
He’s got a big ego
He thinks he’s, uh, he thinks he has made an important, contribute to medicine, and he’s not shy about sharing that sentiment
So, uh, I think, and I think that he’s, uh, not American
So he comes with a completely different mentality towards, say, the government
Alright, he grew up in communist Poland, where everyone, where everyone, has to work around, the government, and I think that’s much harder here, and, you know, I think he has expectations that, that he would have a lot more freedom, than it turned out he had, too, and he thought he would not have to deal with the kind of government, uh, rigamarole that you have to deal with in communist, Poland

And, and how do you think it might all pan out for him ?
I mean, I know you don’t have a crystal ball, but if you could look, 5 or 10 years down into the future, and, do you think that he will have got somewhere, to be accepted in the medical (?) of oncology ?

Well, I certainly hope so
I mean, 5, 10 years from now
I mean, I think, at a minimum, what’s going to happen, there will be many, many patients who will be alive, and continue to be alive because of him
Some, will have their lives extended
Some will be cured
Some wi, won’t be cured, and will die
So, I think that’s for sure, going to happen
You know, is there going to be an end to, uh, all this ?
We had a period of maybe 10 years where there was very little action with the Board, but, uh, you know, it’s hard, frankly, I mean, just in, and again my perspective, like I’m in a, like a, a sergeant in the trenches, in trench (laugh) warfare
So, it’s hard for me to see the big picture
I mean, I just keep fighting these battles, and there’s one, after another, after another
So this is really just the latest, and on there’s civil lawsuits, and then there are people on the Internet, and then, you know, there could be more Medical Board investigations
So, lo, look there are a lot of people who don’t like what he’s doing
They think what he’s doing is either unethical or wrong, or shouldn’t be giving drugs, these drugs to people, except under clinical trial conditions, and, you know, he has detractors, and he has a lot of supporters
I mean, uh, mostly amongst the patients he’s cured
So, I don’t know that, that, that is gonna resolve itself
I mean, ultimately, he’s one of the few people in the country, that, or maybe the only person in the country that does what he does, and, it’s not the way medicine is practiced, in this country, typically
Right, and, you know, I think what he does, is, is more, is more patient oriented, in a sense that, once you’ve been told you’re terminal, why should you just get the palliative care that a medical oncologist thinks, you know, they should be given
even though when, no one ever gets cured of chemotherapy, once it’s palliative, once you have stage 4, solid tumor


I mean, they give chemotherapy for what they call palliative reasons, which means, not curative
So, this concept of giving, just conventional chemotherapy to make you feel better, extend your life 9 weeks, I mean, y, not everyone wants to do that
Some people want a shot for a real cure, and, you know, based on the evidence with antineoplastons
, I mean, he seems to be giving people that shot, and curing some of the people
So, you, you know, I don’t see how, this thing gets resolved
Up until the time that the
treatment, the
antineoplastons is approved by the FDA and, you know,
it’s, it’s hard to see a clear path, for that, for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is financial
I mean, it takes dozens of 10’s of millions of dollars


or 10, 100’s of millions
So, I mean, someone has to finance the clinical trials
The drug companies aren’t interested right now
They’d just as soon, buy a drug that’s been fully tested
So, I mean, the drug company response has not been overwhelming, because, even though this phase 2 phase, have resolved, and, and, uh, they have excellent results, the drug companies want to wait and see
So, uh, it’s, it’s big money
I don’t think there’s any way in the world Dr. Burzynski, himself, can fund phase 3
I mean, he, he funded everything else now, but phase 3 are, is a much bigger stage involving dozens and 100’s of patients, and that’s just within the financial means of any individual

it seems like it’s unlikely that its going to happen right
I mean, even from the point of view of, what, with phase 3 trials, they’ll be with children

with brainstem gliomas, right
and the FDA’s saying they’ve got to have radiation

Yeah I, um,
I unfortunately, I haven’t been involved in that process
I just see the result, and I, I, I just don’t see how any parent agrees to that, you know

I don’t see how any parent agrees to it
I don’t see how clinical investigator, agrees to do it
Um, I don’t know
I got so, I got some questions of the FDA as to, why they forced him into this particular protocol
I mean, I don’t know
I don’t have any facts or evidence, but I, I, just doesn’t make any sense to me

what’s you’re about that ?

I don’t know
I mean, I, it just doesn’t seem to me, that it’s a, that it’s a fair clinical trial that


either an investigator would find ethical, or a patient, or a family, would agree to have their patient treat, their, their kid treated under
I mean, it just doesn’t make any sense to me
I mean, it’s worse than
I mean, both phases, both phases, both arms of the study, you get radiation
It’s radiation alone versus radiation with his stuff
So, I mean, it just doesn’t make any sense to me, given, given the clinical, the phase 2 clinical trial results

So just a, so just a few things, like, you know I’m going to talk about big Pharma, and then talk about the FDA


They talk about the many people as if they’re one person, but, you know, they’re obviously a collective group of individuals who work for an organization, right ?

Well, I mean, I think, the concern is, that the FDA now, by statute is, in no small part funded, by the pharmaceutical industry
It’s like “Pay as you go”
So the, the pharmaceutical ind, industry now, pays for, the processing of the clinical trials by the FDA
So, and then you have the whole concept of the revolving door
You have a lot of government officials going into the drink, uh, drug companies
So I think that’s another problem
So, I mean, you know, I think conspiracy is too strong of a word, m, but, you know, I will say, I don’t think the system’s set up, for an individual like Burzynski, to get a drug approved
I, I, I just don’t see
There’s no support for that
I mean, the days
I mean, it’s like, Einstein, you know ?
He sat in a patent office, and, and doodled, and had his little theory
He could never get his, stuff published today, you know ?
Where did he go to school
Where was he teaching, you know ?
So Burzynski has a lot of the same problems
They say he doesn’t publish, but, they won’t let him publish
So, uh, or they won’t let him publish , in, in the mainstream journals
So, I, I, I think though, I think the, I think the system, has a strong bias, against a guy with a discovery
So, that’s not quite saying, there’s a conspiracy, but it’s, it’s sort of along the same lines, and, you know, the conspiracy implies some kind of, um, intentionality on the part of one or two, or some small group or coterie of people, and I don’t know, I don’t think that’s really the case
I think what happens is, the institutions are such that, they allow certain things, and disallow certain things
Alright ?
I think that’s just
there’s no
I don’t think there’s any 2, 3, 4, or some, coterie of Rocka, they’re like a Rockefeller conspiracy
People are saying that there are 12 industrials
That they control the world
I mean, I don’t see that happening, but, the whole system is such that, you know, it’s, it’s
I guess what, uh
The, there’s a book by, uh, a, a, Thomas Kuhn, the Structure of Scientific Revolutions, and he talks about, normal science, and how science progresses, in terms of paradigm shifts
So, normal scientific medicine, works, uh, by big institutions doing, studies about combinations of drugs, after drug companies, invent mostly, modifications of existing drugs, and, less commonly, completely new drugs, and, uh, less commonly, different classes of drugs
So, you have a whole, you have a whole pipeline from a drug company, a whole, uh, uh, mechanism of testing, by the universities, funded by the pharmaceutical company, uh, all the pharmaceutical companies, and that, that just doesn’t lend itself, to one guy, sitting someplace in Houston, or wherever, and having a drug, put through that process
That just doesn’t happen
Burzynski is, so far as I can tell, the only person, to ever completed, a phase 2 trials on a drug he invented
I don’t think that’s ever happened, before, and I don’t think it’ll ever happen again

Ah, was it ’98, was it the chairman, uh

Kessler ?

I saw, an interview he gave, press, a press conference where he was explaining about, being able to fast-track
The FDA trying to make it possible to fast-track, you know, drugs that have shown, you know, positive, rather than going through all of this sort of clinical trial, and there’s a guy in the, in the press conference who started asking questions about Burzynski


and you could just see quite clearly he was very uncomfortable


asking questions about, uh, about Dr. Burzynski
How do you think someone like him,
would view, someone like Dr. Burzynski ?

Not favorably
I think that, uh,

Do you think they must know ?
Do you think they must, even he, let’s just say, if he were on his own, he, he knows there’s something there
That he’s obviously got something

I don’t know, uh
I think, that, the guys in conventional medicine, because Burzynski came from orthodox medicine
He was at Baylor
He was a researcher at Baylor
So, I think, they’re not going to Burzynski, is that, he didn’t go about it, the way, other physicians would have done it, other scientists would have done it
So normally what would happen, is, uh, uh, I mean, I think the critical, point in his story is that, when he was at Baylor, and his, uh, professor was supporting him, this Unger, left, you know, they had space for him
They wanted him to go in the Oncology, uh, Department, but, they wanted the patent, to his drug, and he wouldn’t do it
So, that would have been the more conventional approach
You give up the patent rights, you become part of the team, then some big institution, uh, uh, shepherds the drug through, and then they find some drug company support, who will split the patent with the university
So, had he done that, uh, you know, I think the drug woulda been approved by now, but, you know, it was his drug
He came to America with it, and he wasn’t going to give it all away
So, I mean, I just think that’s, you know, I mean and that’s, you know, I think he wasn’t expecting that kind of thing in America
Maybe in communist Poland, but not in America
So I think that really, you know, set him down the path of being a, a, an alternative health practitioner

And wha, wha, what was it like for you when, uh, winning, the case, in was it, 199, 3, 1998 ?



Well, you know, there wasn’t just one case
I mean, I mean, it was everyone
I mean, I analogize it to, like whack-a-mole, or whack-a-rat, you know
You have, like a rat come out of, of a hole, and you bang him, and one comes out of this hole, and all of a sudden you’ve got 2, and then 3, and, so, you know, during the early ’90’s, I mean, I mean, there were 3 grand juries, uh, we had the Medical Board action, which went to hearing in ’93
The Texas Department of Health sued him in ’92
Half a dozen insurance companies had sued, uh, uh, sued him for, for some, for Racketeering
Uh, Texas Air Quality Department went after him
I’m trying to think who else
So, all of this happened, over the course of 3, or 4, or 5 years, and it was just, continuous, and so, one agency would, would get active, and then, they get beaten down
Then somebody else would come, uh, come up, and surface, and indeed, I mean, you know, it, you know, some of them flat out said they were waiting to see what happened, with this oth, wha, what happened with this other agency, and they weren’t gonna do anything, and then when they got tired, they decided, that this new agency had to do something
So, I mean, that was flat out, what happened
So, yeah, I mean, it culminated in the criminal case, I suppose, but even there it was up and down
I mean, the judge ordered, uh, ordered, prohibited him from giving the treatment to anybody else, because the Texas Medical Board case, ultimately went against us, and then we had to go Congress, and Congress forced the FDA to put all his patients on clinical trials which made the Medical B, Board case moot, and then we won the criminal case
So, after we won the criminal case in, uh, ’97, things got quiet for a little bit
So that, that, that was good
I mean, it was quiet
I mean, relatively quiet, and then, uh, lately in the last couple years it’s been very active again

So the worst case scenario would have been
What would have been the worst case scenario ?

For when ?

And this, this
What could have happened this week if the case had gone ahead ?

Well, the worst case scenario would be, there would be a finding, that, that it’s a depart, it’s a departure from the standard of care to use, uh, off-label drugs, that haven’t been approved by the
FDA for an indicated use, and you can’t use the combination of the drugs until someone gives the stamp of approval saying that their safe and effective, which means, you know, you couldn’t, it couldn’t, you couldn’t give the treatment anymore to patients
So you have 100’s of patients that are on this multi-agent gene-targeted therapy, and ultimately that form of treatment is only available at the Burzynski Clinic
I mean, I don’t think that even clinical trials
Burzynski, depending on how you look at it, he’s a few years ahead of, of, uh, well, even the clinical trials
I mean, they’re some clinical trials now on different kinds of cancer where they’re doing 1, 2, or 3 agents
He’ll use 4 or 5, albeit, lesser dosages
So he’s treated 1,000’s of patients like that, but there’s no place else in the world where people can get, the treatment
So it’s kinda the same thing as back in the ’90’s
We have people on drugs, uh, which are unavailable, uh, and, only available through Burzynski
So, if he couldn’t give them, to people, then they wouldn’t get ’em, and, they’re terminal, and, they’re doing well
I mean, or they’re not going to do as well, or they’re going to die
So, it’s, I guess it, it’s sort of the same thing here, ah, uh, only, uh, the irony is all these drugs are, approved by the FDA, and most cancer patients get off-label, uh, drugs
Drugs off-label
So that’s, very common in cancer
It’s just that not common with the drug used on these patients, and in the combinations used

So, this finally
Whe, when you’ve, uh, won these cases, I mean, there must be, it must be good, right ?
It must be good feeling

I had a good feeling last week
I mean, I mean, you know, or I’ve been working non-stop, for months, every day
I mean, there’s no day off in this kind of stuff
It’s just constant
It’s just, his war
There’s always something to do, and then I’m a solo practitioner
So, when the judge cut the heart of the Board’s case out, I’ve been telling the Board, that they can’t, that they have no basis to, to, to bring charges against him, for several years, since 2010
, 2009, and they’re not listening, and, and, I was pretty sure that once you had a judge look at the case, they would, rule in our favor, you know, but the problem is the Board is, like a law unto themselves, and they think they can do anything, and, uh, they just changed the law, in September
So actually, the Board has no recourse
They, they used to be able to change findings of facts, and conclusions of law, but as of September, 2011, they can no longer do so
So, if the, judges’ ruling s, uh, stands, as I think they will, their only remedy is going to be to appeal to a State District Court, and they’re not used to that, because they, like exercising, uh, complete authority
So, they’re in a new position, and I’m sure this is the 1st case, that they’ve ever, not gotten what they want to, from, from a judge, administrative law judge, and not being able to correct it
So, I mean, that, this is a good ti, completely new experience for the Board, and I feel bad for them (both: laughing)

You, you, you do
As a Board they all sit down, and as a group of people, and talk about Dr. Burzynski, and, and, and work out how they’re gonna bring him down, and then ?

Well, that’s more the conspiracy
I, I, I, I think that, some of the Board members, may know of him
He, but, but, but like I say, he’s appeared in front of these informal settlement conferences, and basically, individually they, I mean, exonerate him, of, of the main charges, but I, I, I think that, you know, when we talk about the Board, the Board other than these a, acting informal settlement conferences, where you have one Board member, and one member of some district disciplinary review committee, we’re not really talking about the Board members, these doctors, and lay members of the Board, we’re talking about the Board staff, and that’s the lawyers and administrators of the Board, and I think, you know, I don’t know
I have some, uh, uh, they need to clean house
I mean, they’re getting some very, very bad legal advice, and I, I just think the legal advice at the top, is, is, is horrible, and, and they need to make some dramatic changes, and I think it would be better for the people of Texas if they, just did some house cleaning with the administrative staff there

And what do you think about the way that, uh, Dr. Burzynski’s been , what’s the word, in England, he’s got a very bad press there

(Alright ?)

and, um, why do you think that is ?

Uh, why, well, I mean, look
I mean, I think, people have opinions
they have the right to express opinions
I mean, I think, uh, some of his agents did some things that I think, were not wise, in retrospect
I mean



The stuff with the, this kid, this blogger



And I think that, uh
I think you have to be very careful, about what you tell people that are expressing opinions, and, you know, I mean, I, I, I think, you know, I think there’s a reason why, lawyers get involved in these cases, and should be involved, and I think what happens is, you know, I think there was a, you know, a well meaning, individual, who just went too far, and I think stirred things up unnecessarily so
You know, I mean, I think someone who had some legal training, acting on Burzynski’s behalf, might not have made some of the, you know, just faux pas that were made
So, I mean, that stirred, some things up, and I think

(?) stirred something up that was already there ?
You know, ’cause, I know, I’ve spoken to so many people in the U.K., and, uh, and you find very few people that have anything positive to say
In fact, a friend of mine who’s a famous doctor on television, when I was here, he was on British television with a little girl, and her father, who were trying to, uh, raise money to, um, come over here and, um, in fact, they couldn’t come anywhere, come, they couldn’t come anyway, because, the, uh, FDA said that this type of brain tumor, she couldn’t be treated anyway
But this doctor, who’s a friend of mine said, uh, Dr. Burzynski is, you know, he’s a medical pioneer
He’s, uh, uh, he said that and then literally, for 2 months, non-stop, I think especially on Twitter, they said that he never should have said this, and the guy is a quack, and he’s a, he’s a fraud, and

So your, your friend got in trouble for saying that he’s a pioneer ?

He didn’t get in trouble, but I mean he got a lot of bad press, for speaking on television with this child next to him, saying that, Dr. Burzynski was, you know, a pioneer, and pioneers often have a hard time, and

Right, right

And, you know, you look at Twitter, uh, you probably don’t
You could be (laugh) and you just see, it’s probably, probably the only, 30, hard, hard core people, who spend, all of their time, trying to

Yeah, I think that’s right
I think it’s a very small group, of people, that are making pretend it’s a big movement
I mean, we’ve looked, at some of the traffic
We’ve analyzed some of the traffic
I don’t even think it’s 30
I think it’s more like, 3, or 4, or 5, that are creating things, and then someone had some friend who’s an actor, who has, you know, 3 million followers, and all
So it’s really a very small group of people, but historically, medical doctors who have stood up for Burzynski, have had negative consequences
We had, someone from the National Cancer Institute, NIH testify, this Nick Patronas, and he got in a lot of trouble for doing that
So, you know, it’s not, it’s, unfortunately, you know, speaking up for Burzynski can have, uh, negative career consequences, or, or just some bad P.R., but that’s, part of being a pioneer
It doesn’t mean that, uh, Burz, I mean, if anything, I mean, it shows, it shows that’s like the medical mafia
So, that’s what I call, the church of medical orthodoxy
So, that’s what I call

Well I, I think it’s gonna be so interesting when I get this film broadcasted, to see what kind of reaction we get
It, it’s just a story I felt I had to (?)

Where are, where are you going to try and get it ?

I’m going to try and get it
I know people at the BBC


I’ve worked in television
So I’m going to try

Oh really, (?)

I’m gonna try those avenues, but you know what ?
Even if it doesn’t

You have cable
You have some kind of public access ?

I’ve, I’ve worked in television for years
So I’ve, I have a very good stab at getting it out there, but if I don’t, I’ll get it broadcasted on the Internet

Oh sure
You do, do a YouTube or something, or do what Merola did as a documentary


That’s had an amazing impact

He’s making a sequel
Eric was just over in England

Oh really ?

I looked after him when he came over

He wanted to talk to some of the patients and doctors

Eric, I said, ah, you know, so, we’ll see
But listen, I really appreciate the opportunity to ah

Ok, no problem

really, to be able to talk to you



5/24/1993 Court Testimony Of Nicholas Patronas, MD

Dr. Nicholas Patronas, is currently the Senior Clinician, Chief. Section of Neuroradiology, Radiology and Imaging Sciences, National Institutes of Health, NIH Clinical Center
Court Testimony Of Nicholas Petronas, MD

(Board-Certified Radiologist Professor of Radiology at Georgetown University, and Founder of the Neuroradiology section of the National Cancer Institute)

Discussing the effectiveness of antineoplaston treatment vs. chemotherapy and radiation treatment in brain cancer

May 24, 1993

Administrative Hearing Docket .503-92-509

License No. D-9377

In The Matter Of The Complaint Against Stanislaw R. Burzynski, M.D.

Before The Texas State Board Of Medical Examiners

Before Earl A. Corbitt, Administrative Law Judge

Volume I of II

May 24, 1993

Pg. 113

Direct Examination

Q: Dr. Petronas, what is your profession?

A: I’m a radiologist, a medical doctor specializing in radiology

Q: Would you tell us briefly your educational background?

A: Well, after the medical school we have a year internship, four years residency in radiology, and in addition I had an entire year of training in neuroradiology

So my subspecialty is neuroradiology

It is the evaluation of the regions of the central nervous system

Pg. 114

Q: And would you relate your work experience, please?

A: when I finished my training I was at the University of Chicago for seven years as a staff radiologist at the University Hospital

And then I moved to the National Institutes of Health where I worked from ’81 to ’85as a staff radiologist at the clinical center, which is the hospital of the National Institutes of Health

Then I moved to Georgetown University where I became full professor of radiology

And the National Institutes of Health contracted Georgetown radiological services, and I was sent from Georgetown back to NIH to cover the section.of Neuroradiology

Q: And so you work at the National Institutes of Health hospital; is that where you work?

A: Yeah, at the hospital initially as a federal employee from ’81to ’85, and then on contract from Georgetown University

So I am one of the 17 radiologists who provide radiological services to the National Institutes of Health

Q: What is the function or purpose of the hospital of the National Institutes of Health?

A: As you know, there are a lot of research protocols that

Pg. 115

are going on, and people who are admitted to this facility are being admitted to try experimental treatment

As they are admitted to the hospital, the hospital requires an X-ray Department and radiologists to man the department

And so we evaluate the various lesions that are being admitted under these approved protocols, and we assess the effectiveness of the treatment given there, using imaging modalities such as MRI or CT scans and regular radiology

Q: And that would be for the various health departments or what’s called institutes?

A: Exactly, the various institutes, yes

Q: Like the National Cancer Institute, that’s one of them?

A: That’s the biggest of all, yeah

Q: What– Basically then, you do the, in layman’s terms, you do all the imaging work and interpretation for the National Cancer Institute testing of drugs?

A: Exactly

Q: Because– and what happens is, they give the drugs to the people and you have to get– they have to have a scan before to see what they had–

A: Exactly

Q: –then when they go into treatment they have to get scans to see what, if any, effect–

A: To see whether they are effective or not, yes

Pg. 116

A: That’s my job, to assess the effectiveness of the drugs that are given there and to provide the diagnosis at the initial stage, upon admission

Q: Dr. Petronas, did there come a time when you became aware of Dr. Burzynski?

A: Yes, it was when Michael Hawkins from NCI asked me to join a group of other physicians and scientist and come to Houston on a site visit to Dr. Burzynski’s Institute in order to assess the best case scenario that he had to present us of his patients who were treated with antineoplastons

So that was the first time when I was aware that there was an anticancer agent

And I was called as an expert in assessing the images to evaluate, together with the rest, the other five members of that team, to evaluate the effectiveness of his treatment

Q: And did you have occasion to actually go down to Houston, Texas?

A: Yes, we spent about seven hours at the Burzynski Institute and we reviewed the material that was given to us

Q: What material did you review?

A: Initially there was a presentation of the cases by Dr. Burzynski; each different case was studied seperately

We were given the history, the pathology, the previous treatment and the timing of these treatments, and we have someone who recorded these data

Pg. 117

Then the histological slides were presented to one of our neuropathologist, one neuropathologist who was also a guest consultant in the team

We reviewed the slides and confirmed the histological of the grade of the tumor that Dr. Burzynski was indicating in his presentation

Then there were assessments of the images, either CT scans or CAT scans, or MRI scans

They were serial studies in any given patient

So we were able to see how the tumor started and how it ended up under treatment

Q: How many patients did you concern yourself with at that time?

A : We reviewed the material of seven cases

We did not have more time to review more

These were the–

Q: So that basically took up the whole day?

A : The whole day. yes; one hour per case

Q: And what happened after you reviewed the cases?

A: Well, we took our notes and we discussed the findings, and there was a report that was issued indicating what we found

Pg. 118

Q: We have marked for identification Exhibit 27

Will you see if you can identify that for us?

A: Yeah, I have seen this


Q: And is this– What exactly is this?

A: it was a letter to Dr. Burzynski from Dorothy Macfarlane, one of the people who was part of the team

And the memorandum shows or summarizes are findings for each individual patient

And this is exactly document that we came up with

Q: What was the basic conclusion of the– that you indicated?

A: The basic conclusion was that in five of the patients with brain tumors that were fairly large, the tumor resolved, disappeared

Q: Was that just happenstance?

I mean, was that just by some miracle of–

A: Well, since the treatment given was started after the previous conventional treatments which had failed previously, we took the position that this probably represents the result of this new treatment

And so there was only minimal residual tissue at the tumor bed, which looked like a sca, and had no fissures to support that there was a tumor in the majority of the cases

Two of seven patients did not do very well

One of them deceased

The tumor dissolved at least

Pg. 119

microscopically; we could see it with the naked eye, but it recurred later, a year later

And the other, there was very, very minimal decrease in the size of the tumor

But the tumor was very big, the last one, the seventh, last two cases did not survive, although there was definite improvement in one of the two last cases

Q: I guess that would be called an objective response in that these patients–

A: exactly, because we were six people and we all looked at images and we saw the chronological order

We checked the names of the patients on the films, and the files were obtained at different institutions from the entire country, basically where the patients were located

And we had no reason to believe that these were not the results of the treatments

Q: Doctor, based on what you have testified to before about your background and credentials, it’s fair to say, isn’t it, that you have seen a lot of brain cancer patients?

A: Yes, in fact, we see a lot of these cases

Q: And that’s part of what you do at the hospital, is to evaluate treatments on brain cancer patients?

A: Well, different cancers, but since I am the neuroradiologist I see all brain tumors

And I see a large volume of then

Q: Now, with regard to at least the five patients, I think

Pg. 120

you testified that five of the patients had their tumors resolved, they all–

A: Disappeared

Q: —disappeared

Can you give us some kind of context of that?

How often does that happen with any– with no treatment, just by spontaneous remission, or by whatever it is that you–

A: I’m not aware that spontaneous remission occurs; I don’t think it does

And the available treatment only rarely produce results like that

The only medication– the only treatment, which I think is the last resort, is radiation therapy

Chemotherapy has very little to offer unless there is an experimental protocol somewhere

However, conventional chemotherapy is– provides very little, nothing, basically

Radiation, there are some reports indicating that radiation treatment in children particularly could lead to resolution of the tumors, although I don’t know whether it is a permanent one or temporary

So when this happens it is very rare

And I have seen only isolated here and there where that has happened with radiation

Q: With one case here or there–

A: Yeah

Q: –an isolated report, you are talking about on a case by

Pg. 121

case basis?

A: Yeah

Well, radiation should give these results, if it works at all, the first two months after completion of the treatment

In these cases, all the patients had already failed radiation because they were treated months, several months after radiation was
given and had failed

Q: What happens with these patients?

Lets say they failed radiation; what happens then to the patient with brain cancer?

A: Well, it depends on the grade of the tumor

If the tumor is low grade, astrocytoma, and we are talking about primary gliomas, if it is low grade, survival for years is possible

If it is an intermediate grade, the anaplastic, the mean survival is two years, and if it is the high grade glioma the mean survival is about 12 months

That’s it; they die in 12 months, they disappear

Q: Now– So are you saying basically for someone that’s failed radiation– It sounds like you are saying that if someone has already failed radiation, at least, that there’s not too much else–

A: nothing to offer, exactly

Q: –and that these people are going to eventually die of their disease, barring any unforeseen event or cure?

A: Exactly

Q: and there is nothing that any– that you could do at NCI?

Pg. 122

A: Nothing we can do, no; not at the present time

Q: All right

What about these five patients that are all basically doing– how come they lived?

A: Well, it’s amazing, the fact that they are living and some of them are doing well

They are not– they are not handicapped from the side effects of any treatment, and worse than the tumor itself

So these particular individuals not only survived, but they didn’t have major side effects

So I think it is impressive and unbelievable

Q: How many times have you ever seen this, in your experience, that someone comes with a drug like this, to have this kind of effect?

How often does that happen?

A: I don’t– I have not seen it at any time with the medication that is given systematically

We have done– we have an experimental protocol at the NIH where we inject a chemotherapeutic agent through the carotid artery, the artery that goes to the brain, and we have three survivals with this technique, by providing massive amounts of chemotherapeutic drugs to the brain that harbors the tumor

And we destroy the tumor, but we destroy a large part of the brain as well, and the patients became severely handicapped, and a life that’s not worth living

Pg. 123

And so I have three cases with this particular experimental protocol which resulted in killing the tumor, but a large part of the healthy brain as well

So overall the protocol was abandoned and is not any more in effect because of the serious side effects that we witnessed

Q: Now, let me ask your opinion or advice

Based on what you have seen from these patients– I mean, I think the opinion actually, or the letter actually concludes that the site team concluded that there was antitumor effect from the antineoplastons

What would happen, let’s say for some reason Dr. Burzynski’s brain tumor patients can’t get the medicine any more and have to go off treatment

What’s going to happen to them, in your opinion?

A: I think these patients will die

Pg. 124

Q: One of the patients you reviewed was F.M.; is that correct?

What happened in his case?

A: The tumor was very large and very involved the hypothalamus, a very sensitive part of the brain cannot be operated, and had both cystic components and fleshy components, mass like

And the lesion disappeared

This patient did not have previous treatment, if I recall, other than– previous chemotherapy or radiation, and the tumor disappeared under our eyes

It was a low grade astrocytoma, wich is comparable with long survival

However, even those low grade astrocytomas, when we see them, they don’t go away even though they may permit the person to live for many years

In this particular patients case the tumor disappeared, and there was a small, tiny remnant left, small percentage of the original size

And there has been several years since then and the patient is well, I’m told

Q: So at least for the patient you would not recommend that

Pg. 125

he go off the treatment, would you?

A: No
Critiquing: Dr. Michael A. Friedman, Dr. Mario Sznol, Robert B. Lanman, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic, Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), Public Health Service, Quality Assurance and Compliance Section, Regulatory Affairs Branch (RAB), Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (CTEP), Division of Cancer Treatment (DCT), National Cancer Center (NCI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Stanislaw Burzynski: On the arrogance of ignorance about cancer and targeted therapies:
Critiquing: National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) CancerNet “fact sheet”: