Pete talks with Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski
December 2011 (1:02:30)
How did you kind of get into this, into this field in the 1st place ?
Uh well, it was a coincidence, ’cause obviously I made discovery of new chemicals, peptides which is in blood, and I noticed that they were deficient in patients with cancer, and there was a curiosity, why there was such deficiency, and I was interested what these peptides that I discovered, are doing in the body
So the connection with cancer was quite obvious
He, healthy people have abundance of these chemicals in blood
Cancer patients have varied to none
So could be that cancer is another deficiency disease
So when you found this out
Yes. Mhmm ?
how did you feel ?
I mean, did you not just want to shout from the rooftops, and could you believe that you’d actually discovered something ?
Of course I was skeptical, and I found something that was interesting, but obviously, it was just the very beginning and when I shared this news uh with some other guys, who are obviously much older than me, who, other guys who were professors, who ever, so (laugh) they began to laugh so much they almost died from laughing
Wow, this guy would like to kill cancer
That’s just not going to happen
What are you doing ?
Yes sir (laugh)
Well how did that affect you ?
Well it didn’t affect me too much because I knew that uh the science uh requires uh some successes and uh setbacks and I felt, well I still would like to know, what these peptides can do, and I would like to know what they can do, not only regarding cancer but in various aspects of body function
For instance, the activity of the heart, the activity of the uh uh G.I. tract
I needed to expand this knowledge
Suddenly I found some like 119 new peptide fractions
Nobody ever heard of them
So I wanted to know
What do they do ?
And when I was in Poland I couldn’t have really do any further testing, because I didn’t have such possibility to require different group of people who would do the testing, and simply by working in the biochemistry laboratory I did not have such capacity, and obviously the budget for doing uh research was extremely small
Besides, I was continuously harassed by the communists and they were sending me to, eh, the military, so I couldn’t do much
I still did whatever I could
Then I came to U.S.
Oh so you came to U.S.
What, what year was that ?
It was 1970
I heard you came with not very much money in your pocket
Uh well it was better than where I came first to the U.K., because when I came first to U.K., I came practically with nothing, and uh, when I went to British uh Medical Student Association, they were going to give me 7 pounds for one month stay in U.K. (laughing)
You were supposed to get this money in Poland
(laughing) Sorry about that
So ultimately they decided to give me 7 pounds, and obviously at that time it was a lot of money, so with 7 pounds I was able to survive a month
(laughing) Good luck (laughing)
But in U.S., I was allowed by the communist government to $15, which again, was equivalent probably to 7 pounds, whatever (laughing)
So you came here with $15
I smuggled another 10
So the proper balance was like
So what did you do when you got here ?
Well, ehhh, when I arrived I was uh, uh, uh, trying to get ahold of my relatives
My uncle that lived in Bronx
And uh I officially came to visit him and uh I was expecting him to see me at the airport, and surely enough he came to the airport but uh at the time he was an elderly man
He was close to 80, and eh, he probably went to a different part of Kennedy airport, so he couldn’t find me
So I was stuck in the airport
This was Holiday
This was 4th of uh September, which was a Labor Day, and so I couldn’t get uh uh to his apartment
So finally I spent most of this money for the cab, the taxi rides to his apartment
Some, like $13 worth
You had $2 left
Plus the $10
Well, so then I stay uh I, I was obviously in the family’s, I couldn’t
I, I don’t need to worry about it
So obviously I had a food and lodging, and uh, still I was trying to get hold of some of the people whom I knew were doing the research in the area, whi, which I was interested
which was peptide research, and uh trying to see if I can advance my research
And then I thought, well, if I go back to Poland, I didn’t expect to stay
And in the meantime uh my job at the university in Poland was terminated, and I wondered they needed my position for the woman who was the wife of the 3rd Secretary of the communist party
Finally when I was terminated from my job, uh, there was no need for me to go back, because I would not be able to find job anywhere in Poland, because obviously everything was controlled by communist
So that I decided to stay and to look for the possible, possibility for me to find a job in the U.S.
And wha, what job did you find ?
So you were in New York ?
Yes, I was very active, of course since I was involved in the research
I knew the key people who were involved in peptide research
There were not many of them, but at least there was one good team in New York and Columbia
Um, there was another one at, uh, Cleveland Clinic, and there was another one in Houston, and so, uh, I check with all of them and, uh, the place in New York was unavailable because they hired, um, somebody, um, about a week before I came
Uh but uh, uh, I was invited to the interview to Houston
I was surprised but uh, prepared for my trip and I arrived to Houston and had interview with a professor at Baylor College of Medicine and he gave me the employment, and so it was relatively simple
And then what were you doing on like a day-to-day basis ?
Uh, well, uh, when I arrived to Houston I uh, obviously received a job
I received the job as “Research Associate,” and um, obviously this was associated with a reasonable salary, but the salary was paid once a month, so I had to think, what do I do for the 1st half of the month, because I came in the middle of the month, and didn’t have any money (laughing: both), but some good people loaned me some money so I, I have enough money to rent the apartment, and finally after I got my pay, I was able to do quite well, and I was able to advance, uh, in peptide research
So were you able to do your own research or
that they wanted you to do ?
Absolutely, and uh, I was quite lucky to join the team of the famous professor
Professor George H
er, uh, who was initially professor of Sorbonne in Paris
Then in World War II he emigrated to U.K. and he was professor at Oxford, and so finally he came to U.S., and, uh, he put together the peptide research team
He needed people who know how to do analysis of peptides, so that’s why he hired me
And uh I uh told him that I have my own project, which is peptides, and if you wouldn’t mind that I do some research of mind, and he agreed
So basically this was gentleman agreement that I will spend 50% of my time working for him, and spend 50% time, working in my area
Uh, the equipment and the instruments were the same, so it wasn’t too difficult
And then you, and then when you had something to show then, when. when you had even more of something to show them, how was that received, because you see, I’ve really got something here ?
I think I’ve got something here
Absolutely, it was received with great curiosity, and, um, and obviously he needed people who could use, the cutting edge, uh, methods for peptide analysis, and that’s what I knew about, but I couldn’t use this for him because I didn’t have funds to do it, but I knew exactly what needs to be done, and on the other hand, uh, this was great surrounding because just across the corridor, another team receive a Nobel Prize for working on peptides
The only problem is, uh, one of these researchers uh was of Polish origin who received Nobel Prize for peptides (laughing)
began, uh, fighting with the other one and finally his job was terminated because he punched (laughing)
Punched him ?
the other guy in the nose (laughing)
So, but the good thing about it is that ultimately I inherited uh, their equipment
for peptide research, so
Wow. So that must have been like a, like, a, a child in a sweet shop
Absolutely, so was a great coincidence so
So then you were really able to, to, to, to look at it in more detail, and ?
Absolutely, so then of course I was really out of work uh, and the team of Dr. Unger, and also, uh, I was spending a lot of time, uh, progressing in my research, which was very important uh, of course it means long hours uh, ’cause of, uh, 8 hours I would spending working for Dr. Unger and probably not 8 hours until midnight working on my uh, project, but uh, I enjoy it
In the meantime I need to prepare for exams because I wanted to have a license
So I was lucky because uh, within 3 months I was able to pass exams to uh, to naturalize my diploma, and then uh, just, uh, the day, on the eve of my birthday, on January 22nd, President Nixon had a speech in which he promised American people that by 200th anniversary of America, they would have a cancer cure, and no limits would be set on the funding
So then I thought, well, if that’s the case, perhaps I should apply for the grant also, and I did
It was crazy idea because I could barely understand when the people were talking to me (laughing: both)
Well I decided to put together grant application, in to the National Cancer Institute, and include the project on the peptides which I discovered, and I was surprised when this was approved
So then in uh 1971 I get approved as Principle Investigator, to do the project, which included eh, the top people from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and from Baylor College of Medicine, um, and I was supervising this
I was at that time 28 years old, but I was supervising the guys who were famous, and who were some like 60 years old (laughing)
and so the money was coming to me from the National Cancer Institute, and I was uh daily uh, running the project, sharing, obviously with the guys from M.D. Anderson, so, and going ahead with the research, so
and of course at that time I was disappointed to have to (work ?) with M.D. Anderson and Baylor, and then I could move independently what I was doing
So at what point were you actually, able to start testing on people
It took a long time because
I mean you couldn’t wait, right ?
Yeah it took a long time because obviously um, initially you have to go through a lot of pre-clinical testing
The 1st time it was uh, around the beginning of ’77, yeah
So then we began phase I clinical trials, and this phase I clinical trials were approved by one of the very good hospitals in Houston, which is part of the hospital chain American Medical International, and they interviewed my project and their Institutional Review Board approved it for clinical trials
Well then I did my 1st clinical trials, phase I clinical trial, with a medication that I am not using at this moment because we made further progress of course, at a hospital, and this hospital at that time was called Twelve Oaks Hospital
At this time it’s called River Oak Hospital
And then, at what, at what, was there a time where you realized: This is actually working ?
Well, now this was in 1977, and (laughing) surprisingly, uh, uh, perhaps one of the 1st successful case where you can really, document a clear-cut improvement by doing the scan before and after
It shows tremendous decrease of uh, uh, tumors which corresponded to colon cancer which spread to the liver
(This guy was ?)
And uh, his case was so interesting, that when I sent it for press, the editors decided to put us on the cover, of the journal, the scan
They decided to put on the cover of Science, showing the tumor before, and, after the treatment
Eh, so this was uh , obviously
And then what happened ?
Didn’t that m kinda, didn’t word spread like wildfire and people, more and more people want to come and see you ?
Ah, Absolutely, well the 1st excitement occurred, basically what the President Nixon promised ok
That he would deliver
cancer cure uh, by ’70, uh 6, 1976, and we did, ok, and we did deliver cancer cure
by 1976, 1977 ok, and um, the um, main uh event was the presentation of uh our theory on our research, on perhaps one of the largest uh scientific (congress ? conference ?) in America, involved 19,000 uh, researchers attended
Eh this was annual meeting of the Federation of the Societies of Experimental Medicine and Biology
It happened that at that time it was in Anaheim, California
Uh, I sent uh, uh, the abstract of my presentation, and I was simply, patiently waiting until this would be shown, which was in ’76
In June ’76 right before 4th of July, and uh, I was surprised when they notified me that um, my abstract was selected out of one of few, which was in great interest of the news media, like Associated Press, for instance, and then when I did my presentation, then Associated Press decided to make a release of this, and then you can read about it in newspapers all over the world
In uh, (laughing) distant places like Buenos Aries, receiving CBS newspaper clips from all corners of the world
And what was that like for you ?
I mean, how did that feel, just to see that your name was, all over the world ?
This was the 2nd time, what (?) this happened to me, because 1st time it made such news, by working on brain peptides with Professor Unger; this was around ’72, and suddenly, this wasn’t so much of my
Yeah, but still it was your (interest ?)
involvement, but I was working together with Professor Unger, and we made a great news, by discovery of, certain peptide in the brain, and then it spread all over the world, and then again, uh, uh, CBS
What was that like ?
I mean, how did you feel when you saw ?
Well, uh, it was surprising because uh suddenly we got uh news people coming, and the TVs from various countries, especially from Europe, for instance, from variety of corners, like from Europe, from New Zealand, from Brazil
You name it ok ?
Eh, so there was a great excitement about it, but 1st time that this excitement happened was, is around ’72, uh, really, eh, is typically what happened after such excitement, is the ? iation ?)
Well, uh, (laughing) the uh, establishment is and this um will attack you and will try to destroy you
Did you know that was going to happen before ?
I knew it would because in Poland, uh, my father’s, uh, gave me the book of um MIT Professor, uh, Thomas Kuhn
(here’s a guy ? try to translate to (?)
and then uh, this was uh, the book which was titled eh, Structures of Scientific Revolutions
It happens that this book was translated to Polish language as couple of years after it was printed, in U.S.; which was around uh, I think 19 uh, 64 probably, ok
So then I read the book, and the book shows uh, how, eh, the paradigm shift occurs, ok, and the, it never fails
It always goes through the same stages
1st it’s short period of excitement, and the a long time of harassment and persecution, and then finally the brief period when uh, uh, if you survive, then uh, the other people say
well it’s obvious
We always knew (laughing) that this
was going to happen, ok ?
So I knew what was going to happen, uh, but uh, it was hard for me to believe it uh that, uh, in the 20th century, 21st century it could happen, ok, but then uh, when uh, I began going through this, it was like going to some uh, unpleasant disease
You read about it in the books and
then uh, you finding one symptom after another, and it affects you
and you know that it could be deadly,
Well you could have ended up in prison, right ?
You may die before uh, you be able to do anything
So the advice of the author of the book, was that you have to start early to make some medical discovery, because you probably have years of harassment in front of you, and probably the best chance that uh, you get accepted if you live longer than your opponent, because some guys will never accept you (laughing)
until they die
So that’s what happened
Well then, of course, I witnessed what happened with Professor Unger
Yeah, he made the great news, and obviously I contributed to what he had, but he was uh, my boss, and then obviously I did not much, suffer much from retaliation, but he did, ok
So there was retaliation, and uh, they accused him of everything possible, uh, finally causing for him to move from Houston to Memphis, Tennessee, eh, zzz, about year later he died
So unfortunately his research was never brought to the time when it was accepted, ok
It was great research, ok, and if had really to more resource and time I can bring this to be accepted, because this isn’t a completely different field
This is brain function, memory, and peptides working in the brain
But at that time unfortunately the project was killed, which is great loss for humanity, eh, ’cause the discoverer passed away, and the product was gone together with him
It can be still resurrected, and I think it will be
Eh, so then, for me, eh, it meant only advancement, unfortunately, because, uh, when uh, uh, he was stripped from the funds, I received funding from the National Cancer agency funding from the university, and I was able to support him, because he was stripped of his grants and funds
So he was able to move forward with his research, but finally when he moved, I inherited very large laboratories
My laboratory was located in 3 buildings
So the lab space and uh, uh, some prime location, in the medical school
So then I did very well, then, of course, the publicity occurred, and this publicity was centered around me, not around both of us
at that time, in ’76, and then again there was about 1/2 a year when there was a great enthusiasm, uh, good wishes, whatever, and after that, a retaliation occurred, ok
So then obviously
And what was, what, what was at the heart of the retaliation ?
The fact that their people didn’t want this to come to the fore ?
Initially there was some overtures to take away the discovery from me, and uh, for instance, uh, uh, uh, Baylor College congratulated me
I received diploma, so suddenly became superstar, ok (laughing)
and then, of course, uh, the wise people, the business people from the university said: “Look, probably we should talk now about patents, we should talk about pharmaceutical companies, we should try to, somehow, put this to motion,” ok, and that’s what we did
So then uh, we talked to some of the best lawyers in the country
Of course, uh, the university uh, are in control of this
There were visits of uh, pharmaceutical companies
I remember one of them came from the research center in U.K., from High uh, Wycombe , and this was so (encouraging that ?) was very interested, what we do
But then uh, the intention was just to take uh, my, uh, in, invention away from me, and obviously
I would have very little to, to, do to promote this, to develop this any further
So I thought about it and I felt that I’m not going to do it
There then uh, I was offered to join the mainstream cancer research at Baylor cancer medicine, and obviously uh, I would receive much better title, of professor
and obviously there would be much better equipped laboratory, but again eh, they wanted me to, completely quit private practice of medicine, ’cause at the same time I was practicing medicine, which many researchers were doing
I was working at Baylor College and then I was practicing medicine uh, outside Baylor College, in the group of the other doctors
So in this way I had some independence, because obviously, I could always practice medicine (laughing)
And did you always want to keep your independence,
and did you know that was always a good thing ?
That’s right, that’s right
Because I, I did not want to be uh, at the mercy of the university or the government
Uh, but I still wanted to stay in academic surrounding, because obviously I came from a family which has great tradition of academic careers
So that’s something which obviously my father was always telling me that I should be really staying in the university, ok
Eh, uh, uh, but finally I decided that I was not going to accept this offer because uh, why should I resign from my private practice
It didn’t hurt my research in any way
So I decided to continue, and uh, then that’s when the retaliation occurred, and uh, I was (crazy ?), harassed, and attacked, and finally
And how were you harassed ?
I mean, letters or (peop ?)
Mmm, well, as I could do the research for such a long time, because really, this was some like 7 years at the university, because uh, very few people in the university knew what I was doing, because I was only responding to the National Cancer Institute, and uh, I was not part of the mainstream cancer research center
What happened is that uh, (laugh) I was employed by the Department of Anesthesiology, which obviously, on the surface has nothing to do with cancer, but, who cares ?
I was receiving grants from the National Cancer Institute, and so Anethesiology was a very wealthy department, and they had a lot of space, but they were doing very little research
So they wanted to do some type of research, and uh, the chairman of the department was supportive of my doing cancer research
So basically I conducted uh, Anethesiology
laboratory into cancer, into cancer research laboratory, and very few people knew about it
They learn about it
when uh, the Associated Press (laughing) broke the news
So then uh, the retaliation happened
and then they wanted me to join the mainstream, but obviously I was enjoying very much (laughing) working, in peace and tranquility, and responding only to the National Cancer Institute
So then uh, what happened at that time was that uh, obviously Dr. Unger, moved to another university, and um, uh, the chairman of the department uh, his uh, uh, employment was terminated, because it uh, he was involved in uh, the war between 2 superstars of (the ?)
One of Dr. DeBakey
and the other one was Dr. Cooley
They were 2 famous, eh, eh, cardiovascular surgeons, who were competing with each other
Ehhh, Dr., eh, the chairman of the department, was on the side of Dr. Cooley, but the boss of, uh, Baylor College was Dr. DeBakey
So after Dr., Dr. DeBakey
learned that, uh, the sympathy of Chairman of the Department; which was Dr. Cooley, his job was terminated
So then they, took another man; very old, professor, who was already retired, to be the chairman of the department
They, he knew nothing about, any type of research (laugh), especially cancer research, and, uh, once I decided to not join the mainstream, Baylor Research Center, eh, the people who are in charge of Baylor Research Center, they put a pressure, on the new chairman of the department, and they frightened him, saying look, you are, uh, in a charge of anesthesiology, but here’s a guy doing cancer research, eh, and see this was a great, uh, like liability to you, and pretty soon he may be sued, uh, without knowing what he’s doing
So then, uh, they, they, um, brainwashed the old man, and he decided to strip me, slowly from my laboratories, eh, and, and, harass me
Ok, uh, ultimately, he sent me the letter that, uh, in which he informed me that he does not see any connection between, uh, my research and anesthesiology; which was obvious, eh, but obviously I was doing the research which made the university famous, more or less
So then one thing to another, and I decided, no, I am not going to work with, in this environment anymore, and I decided to do, try to do on my own, to start my own laboratory
So that’s what happened
And then you did that ?
You had your own, laboratory ?
Yes, and then I decided, this was just the beginning of 1977, and, uh, e, we put together a laboratory; of course I already had private practice, and, uh, I was still working
In your private practice
you were still seeing patients ?
Seeing any results ?
Yeah, seeing patients, getting results
I began phase I clinical trials
in the hospital where I was seeing patients
I had patients at that time, in about 2 or 3 different hospitals, uh, but the hospital, where I get permission to do clinical trials, was a most supportive, and that’s why I did it this way, and, uh, obviously it was necessary for me to build from scratch, the laboratory, the research laboratory
I decided that I just, uh, I just, uh, make some funds in, our private practice, and at that time, of course, this was just, um, general (?) private practice, internal medicine private practice, em, and, uh, the funds which I produced in private practice I can use to, put together the laboratory, and that’s what we did
Step by step we build the laboratory, and we expanded our private practice
So basically, I switch from the government and then I found it best to fund the research, just privately funded research, which nothing unusual, thhh, some like 50 years before everyone was doing it
Everyone is doing this
Yes, and there’s still some people, especially in the U.K., who are doing this
Um, the most of the discoveries were made through the, sss, through the research that was funded, by the researchers
There are also some, wealthy people who donated the money to do it
So only after World War II, this was, um, the system was created where, the researchers became, um, really became the slaves so, the government
and pharmaceutical companies, and new companies, and if they do not receive the money, they couldn’t do anything
This way I could have independence, and, uh, do whatever I want
So at what point did it get to where, action was taken against you, and you knew that you were going to have to go to court ?
The action, um, um, started very soon, and the, and began at the lowest level, which is like, county level, and then you go obviously
higher as you move along, and when, uh, I was leaving, uh, the university, the chairman promised me that (laugh) when I leave, uh, the obviously, quote, unquote, “They will bust my ass”
When leaving the university
When I was leaving the university ?
And, uh, he promised me that, uh, they will trigger the action from Harris County’s Medical Society; which is probably the lowest level of harassment and just, the somewhat prestigious society if you are are a good doctor practicing medicine, in Harris County, where Houston is, then you should be a member of the Harris County Medical Society
Uh, if you are not a member of Harris County Medical Socity they won’t grant you privileges to see patients in hospital
So this was important to be a member of the Harris County Medical Society because I was practicing medicine
Why do you think
Why do you think they wanted to stop you ?
Why did’d they wanted me to stop ?
Well, probably just for the heck of it
I don’t know
Well do you think they were threatened by you ?
Well, I doubt it
Their probably some type of revenge
Ehhh, since I didn’t yield to their harassment, and I decided to do whatever I was doing, and decide to do it on my own
and they felt, well, let’s try to kick his behind if we can
Well I don’t think I was, uh, causing any threat to them at all, because this was really, large institution
So it escalated ?
Just starting at the lowest level
It was, eh, unpleasant because they were dragging me to like, holy inquisition proceeding, explain what I was doing, and basically they’re trying to force me to stop what I was doing by using various ways
Obviously they didn’t have any, uh, reason to do it because, uh, my clinical research; which I was doing in the most, done under the supervision of, Institutional Review Board, and before I started anything I asked, uh, I retained medical lawyers, and I asked them to check, if I can, uh, for instance, do the research to use medicine, and use it, in a patient, and they
checked with this, State authorities, Federal authorities, and at that time it was perfectly alright
So I was doing, everything, legally
So, they really couldn’t do much, but, they were harassing me, asking for me to give them a lot of documents, whatever, and suddenly, all of it stopped
It stopped because they were exposed by news media
So, when the article was written about it, they disappeared from, the horizon, and then they never, harass me since then (laugh)
I think it’s, lasted probably for, 2 or 3 years, and then it was gone, so
And then, and then how did that end up ?
How did you end up going to court for the 1st time then ?
Oh well, so obviously there was no, uh, issue of going to court at that time, it was only the issue that, I might not be a member of, uh
But you might not have been able to practice medicine
the medical society, and then I would not be able to see patients in the hospital
So this was deliberate, ok, and at that time, m, most of my patients were treated in the hospital, because I didn’t have yet the system to use treatment outside the hospital, like for instance the pumps that we are using now
They did not exist at that time
So it was necessary to use I.V. posts
and, uh, and heavy pump, heavy treatment
So then, uh, so this was, uh, it started around ’78, it continued for a couple of years, and then nothing happened after that
I was visited by, um, FDA people, but we have pretty constructive meeting
They didn’t bother me, and, uh, the next attack occurred in a 1983, and this was by, uh, Food and Drug Administration
So, suddenly I was sued, and, um, they really wanted to put me out of business
They didn’t just want to put you out of business
I mean, they wanted you, they wanted you to go to prison
No, in ni, 1983, they wanted me out of business
Right, just out of business
Don’t want you practicing
Shut down, what I am doing, and they did it, secretly (laugh)
Most of this actions occurred around, uh, just before say Passover, and Easter
It never failed
Ok (laughing), a, and a usually they were attacking, uh, uh
For instance it happened for instance I was away, and, uh, they were filing papers in court, like, um, around 5 p.m. on Thursday, ok, and Friday was day off, because was big Friday, Good Friday
So then, obviously, um, they then
realized I’d be away because I participated in some T.V. program, and they want to do it while I was away, but, uh, it so happens that
a one of the friendly lawyers was in court at the time, and he overheard whatever they were doing, ok (laughing),they were going for injunction, ok, and so then, uh, I would be stopped immediately
I wouldn’t be able to do much, ok, until the judge would reverse it, but, uh, he read about it and he prepared immediately temporary restraining order, and filed at the same time (laughs)
So then, uh, I could practice without any interruptions, but, uh, then, of course,
So do you think of all the people that were trying to stop you
Do you think any of those people actually, really, genuinely believed that you were causing harm to people
or do you think that they were just stopping you because ?
I think some stupid people,was at the lower level, like, uh, uh, some lower level FDA agents, they didn’t know what they were doing
They were manipulated, ok, but the guys who above, they knew very well (laughs) that, I was right
They knew what they were doing
They knew you were doing something
They knew very well, and that’s the reason why they attack me
So this 1st encounter, was relatively brief
Uh, we went to court, which was Federal court, and the judge, uh, would rule in our favor, and the judge, uh, uh, in the verdict, uh, cleared me from any, of the charges, and, uh, I found that I could, uh, I could treat anybody, by using my methods, but I cannot really, uh, sell medications outside the State of Texas, and that’s what I was not doing anyway
affirmed what I was doing
That I’m free to use my invention, and treat people in the State of Texas, which made, of course, the government, uh, people furious, and they threatened the judge
They send the judge a letter saying that, if the judge will not rule their way, then they will go after me with criminal investigation, uh, with seizures, uh, eh, grand jury investigation
That’s what they did as the next step
When was the next step ?
How many years later was that ?
Well again, there was some like couple of years when it was relative quiet
Of course, in order to be, eh, in, eh, in order to do what I was doing, it was necessary for me to have inspection, by the inspectors, approved by the FDA, who
check our manufacturing facility, and, ah, certify that what ever we do, we do right, and there are no discrepancies
So this was obviously something, very difficult, because obviously we knew that the FDA inspectors
will always find something wrong, you know
So these agents are trained to always find something wrong, but anyway, at inspection, uh, found we are doing everything perfect
So we were able to pass the inspection
Uh, we are in full compliance with what is called good manufacturing practices, and then everything was quite until about 3 years later when, uh, there was a raid on our clinic by the FDA, and seizure of, ah, medical records, and then there was another, uh, obviously, ah, another, uh, part of the war began, and then, uh, we file a lawsuit against FDA, and, uh, as a result the judge forced the FDA to give back some, of the documents, and permit us to, uh, be able to copy the rest of the documents, and so then, uh, FDA began a grand jury process, and, uh, there was some, like 4 different grand juries, uh, ah, which did not find me, guilty of anything, and then finally 5th grand jury was able to indict me, which was in ’95
So when you were, when you were going to court; because I remember seeing in the
Burzynski, the movie
I remember seeing in the photographs
there were lots and lots of people outside there (?)
What was that like to see that ?
Oh well, ah, this was, uh, going for ever, going to court, and obviously I was going before this grand jury investigation, whatever, but ultimately, their lawsuit, uh, the trial began, in, ah, January of ’96, and, uh, it took a number of months
So I was going to court almost every day, and the people realized what was going on, and they were giving us a lot of support
So then you can see people outside the court
What was that like to see your patients ?
Well it was, ah, it was, ah, very good, uh, uh, show of (laughs)
They wanted obviously, to help us, and they knew that, uh, they have the power, and, uh, they knew that they were fighting for their lives
So they, uh, were dedicated people
It wasn’t easy because this was winter, and it was raining, and so it was cold weather, but obviously
Were you prepared to, to face what you could have faced, you know, that you actually could have gone to prison ?
I, I knew, but I was, convinced that I am going to win
So, should I, obviously, statistically it was, uh, highly unlikely, but, uh (laugh)
Do you think that this will stop one day ?
That people will just get off your back, and (laugh)
and can see what you’ve done
and, and see that there’s really something there
This is just the (?)
That’s what I was convinced was going, to happen, and, uh, I was convinced that we are going to win, with FDA
Good, ’cause I mean, anyone does any research
I had this on here
which I’m sure you’ve seen, like on Wikipedia
and what it says
That there’s no convincing evidence
that a randomized controlled trial has, you know
That your work, that, that there’s nothing there
What’s that like when you come across that stuff
Do you just not read it, and just
Simply don’t pay attention to it, because it, it’s not true
You won’t be able to, do any, clinical research which we do, without convincing evidence, especially when you have the most powerful agency in the government which is against you
They’re against you, but you’ve been working with them for, for
Yes, so since 1997
Yes, but you see
Obviously they didn’t have any sympathy to us because they lost
So they would love to find something which is wrong with what we are doing
They would love to prove that the treatment doesn’t
So this is, very difficult
Ah, so the fact that they’ve, um, agreed that what we have has value, and they allow us to do phase 3 clinical trials, it means that we are right
Because, uh, uh, nobody who didn’t have any, concrete evidence that it works, would be able to go as far
So whatever Wikipedia says, well, I don’t care for them (laughing)
Ok, so, we, we talked a little bit about, what you, where you’ve come from, and what you’ve been through
As far as your treatment, um, to cancer, and this I’m very interested in, and why you don’t think high doses of chemotherapy is, is particularly helpful for the body, and what
Well it is generally wrong approach
It can help, some patients, wi, with a rare form of cancer, but only, eh, in limited capacity
Those who, are quote, unquote “cured”, usually die later on from adverse reactions, of chronic adverse reactions from chemotherapy or radiation, or they develop secondary cancer
So certainly, there is, this is not such a cure which you have in mind, that, use the treatment, patient recovers and lives normal life
Such cure does not exist for patients who are taking chemotherapy or radiation
They will always suffer, some problems
Either from cancer, or radiation, chemotherapy, and there is only small minority of patients who have advanced cancer who can, have long term responses
So obviously, this is unacceptable treatment
Of course, it was important at certain stage of development, but now, of course, uh, when we know more about cancer, it’s becoming, uh, unacceptable, and I think it will disappear, from the surface of the earth, in another 10 years, or 15 years, and, uh, in the medical textbook, this will be described as strange period of time, when people were using some barbaric treatment
You have a number of different ways of treating cancer
So, one of them is the antineoplastons
This, this, this is the peptides
The, the this is the thing that my partner is on at the moment
in the clinical trial, and, uh, you’ve had some real great success
But you also have
another way, of, of, of treating, which is, using, it’s using some sort of chemotherapy, but in low doses
Well, um, um, whatever we are using we are using treatment which works on the genes
Antineoplastonswork on the genes, and they work on about 100 different genes
So what are they doing to the genes ?
Well, they work as molecular switches
They turn off the genes which are causing cancer, and turn on the genes which are fighting cancer
So, that’s what they do, and they produce this in about 100 different genes
It’s not enough, to control all cancer
Actually you can control some cancers, but not all of them, because you may have, numerous genes involved, in cancer
Well, for instance, in average case of breast cancer may have 50 abnormal genes involved
Uh, in, uh, like grade 3 brain tumors, for instance, anaplastic astrocytoma you might 80, or might be 100, but if, uh, you go to highly malignant tumors like, glioblastoma, you have, probably about 550
Eh, if you don’t cover such a spectrum of genes, you won’t, you’re not going to have good results
So that’s why, we know from the very beginning that we have some limitations
We can help some patients but not all of them, because, they have involvement of different genes which are causing, their cancer
So then you can still have these patients who are combining the treatmentof antineoplastons,with different medications which are in existence, which work on different genes, and this includes also some chemotherapy drugs, which are available
Eh, so this means that, um, for the patients for whom we, cannot use antineoplastons, because they are not in clinical trials, then we are using combination treatment, which consists of medication which already, approved as prescription medications, and, uh, by using the right combination by knowing which genes we need to attack, we get much better results
Now this also includes chemotherapy, but we never use, high-dose chemotherapy
If necessary, we use low-dose chemotherapy, and when you use low-dose chemotherapy you don’t have, uh, toxicity, which is, bad
We use this for
patients continuously, without much problem
So, so one of the main reasons of using low-dose chemotherapy is to try and keep your immune system strong, as well ?
No, to try to quickly decrease the size of the tumor, in combination with the other medications
We can use, for instance, low-dose chemotherapy and another medication which will increase activity,of chemotherapy, and as a result, you can have, as good, uh, uh, decrease of the tumor, with the low-doses
when you use heavy-dose
Well, there’s nothing unusual about it
For instance, uh, many doctors are using medications which are quite toxic
And they, if they use the dosages, it’s helpful to the patient
The question is, what dosage will you use ?
If you use the dosages which are not toxic, it may still help the results, for instance, eh, the medication which was introduced, in mid, uh, 18th century for a particle for heart failure, in U.K. by
Dr. Withering, which was digitalis extract
Obviously it was highly toxic medication
It can kill people, in dosages much smaller than chemotherapy, but if you use the right dosage, it can help people
It was helping people for over 200 years
So those are the question
What kind of dosage do you use, and what combination do you use, and then, it can be useful
How did work that out then ?
I mean, how did you work out
that using small dosages of chemotherapy, could be effective ?
Uh, well, uh, it’s not only based on, uh, our research, it’s based on the research of the other, doctors
There are numerous publications on the subject, and in many cases the low-dosages can be used more effective than high-dosages, and, uh, on the other hand, by doing genetic testing, we can identify, which, uh, medications are the best for the patient
‘Cause you use
’cause you use a lab, in Phoenix
And, and how did you find out about them ?
Um, how did you ?
Well, uh, uh, frankly speaking (laughs), 1st time I find about it by, treating patients who’s referred to us by one of the best oncologists in the country
He was usually treating some movie stars (laughs)
and I found that this patient had, uh, genetic testing done, and I got interested in this, and I found about this laboratory
It was some time ago, but anyway, while we were doing genetic testing before, but, uh, we didn’t use this laboratory yet, we did it, through some other laboratories, and such testing was much, much simpler
So, we are using such testing, for a number of years, but in the capacity we are using now, this is really the last 2 to 3 years
So what happens is someone’s, bit of their tissue gets sent off to this lab ?
Yeah, the tissue is sent to the laboratory, and, uh, they do, testing on the entire genome of 24,000 genes
They identify the abnormal genes, and they go in-depth, by studying what happened to these genes?
Are they mutated ?
Are they amplified ?
And then from this, we have, a lot of information, and ultimately we like to know, which medications we can use to treat genes
What we are doing, we are treating genes, rather than, the tumor, as such
And, uh, if you identify all the genes that are involved, and find out which medications we can use, we can have very good results
And that’s what you found ?
So in some case you’re treating people that might have a certain type of cancer
with a drug that was designed for a different type of cancer
Uh, that’s right, because we are treating the genes, and, uh, if you find out that, this particular patient has, uh, an abnormal gene, which is not typical for this cancer but we have medication
that works on this gene, that’s what we use
So I would imagine that to treat, uh, that to treat people, this way, is obviously the future
Everyone’s genetics are d, d, different
genetic markers, but to treat them that way, would require a bit more work
That’s, uh, obviously (laughs) (a life’s ?) work
Uh, uh, we’ll, like, uh, not just simply for, eh, uh, 4 different types of lung cancer
Maybe 100,000 different types of lung cancer, each with, different, uh, genetic signature, ok, and once you identify this, then you can treat, such patients logically, and have good results, and if you do it on the scale of, uh, the entire country, this would, uh, give you much better results, and, uh, great savings, because
you won’t use expensive medications for everybody, but perhaps for 10% of the population, and then for this 10% of population is going to work
Which means that these people will avoid disability
They won’t spend time in the hospital
Uh, they will have short course of treatment, and then they go back to work
So the government would understand, uh, that’s something that can give them a lot of savings
I think they will go for it
Eh, gene testing, eh, at this time is still, uh, relatively expensive
It’s covered by, uh, the insurance of the United States, but for people outside, may cost 5500 euros, for instance, but I think it will be substantially less expensive in the near future
I think it will be below $1,000 for complete testing
So for running the test, uh, uh, eh, and, uh, finding out which treatment, has the best chance, you can save, 100’s of 1,000’s of dollars for individual patients
Yeah, but obviously pharmaceutical companies probably wouldn’t be too happy about that
People aren’t going to be taking their medications anymore
Well obviously be mostly happy that they can sell a lot of medications, but some of them are beginning to pay the attention, because they have to, because if they don’t, their competitors, will pay the attention
Obviously, they would like to have, possibly, the best possible results, in clinical trials, so now they begin to screen population of patients for clinical trials, and do some limited, genetic testing, but, so, of course, they do it, uh, for the better of clinical trials so have best results
Doesn’t mean that they’ll do, do it when they sell medicine, to millions of people commercially
They may forget about mentioning this medicine works the best for
this population of patient (laughs)
So what’s your, your vision ?
Wha, wha, what do you, striving to achieve ?
Well what I am trying to achieve is to introduce the way we treat patients, in, in various countries in the world, and, uh, what this would accomplish is, 1st of all, much better results of the treatment, much simpler treatment where perhaps only 1% of patient would need hospitalization, which would, uh, result in great savings
Uh, the treatment, uh, will be done for shorter period of time
For instance, few months to get rid of the tumors, then, uh, perhaps a year, to stabilize the results, and then go back, working and living, ok, without cancer
This, uh, genetic, genomic testing would be absolutely done for every patient who will come for treatment, to identify, what is the best treatment combination indication
So that’s what I would like to foresee, and then, of course, um, immediately, you substantially reduce, the expenditures for medical
For instance, if, you assume that in the mid, medium-sized country, will spend, for instance, a billion dollar, for, socialized medical treatment which will coincide with hospitalization
Uh, then, uh, most of the cost is for hospitalization, and services necessary for keeping the patient in hospital, then treating adverse reactions, which are, occurring because of the poor selection of medications
Eh, then if you switch to the outpatient treatment because you use medications which are not going to give such bad, side-effects, because you select this medication based on genomic testing, ok, and then immediately instead of a billion dollars a year, you cut down your expenditures to about $100,000
100 million dollars
Probably slash it 10 times
And then people will be happy because, ah, the don’t need to stay in the hospital for a long time
They have less adverse reactions
They can go to back to work, much sooner
So that’s what I, can foresee as, the treatmentin the future
Not really hospital-based treatment
for patients, and most hospitalization is required because of adverse reactions from chemotherapy, radiation, but outpatient treatment, much easier treatment, also
medication given in tablet forms, for instince
And that’s what you’re doing here, right ?
Correct, yes correct
Usually in hospital, only, perhaps, for, one or two percent of patients, and, we would like to avoid it because when the patient goes to the hospital, he can pick up, some in-opportunistic infection, and then we are talking about more problem
Of course, I believe detection of cancer will be very important, because you don’t want to, uh, have a patient who is so advanced that he is fighting for, life, and he needs to be in the hospital
If you had diagnosis in the early stages, then the patient does not need hospitalization
He can be treated very easily, then go back to work
So that’s the issue
And of course prevention is another important issue to us
To identify, changes in the body, which may indicate that the patient has already, early stages of cancer, also based on genetic tests, and get rid of this by using, behavior modification, by using proper diet, by using supplements, whatever, even without any medications
So, you’re obviously very passionate about what you do
That, that’s my question about that
Well, I think it can help s, people in a great way, and, uh,
Well it can, I mean
You have had so many su
I mean, I was talking to my girlfriend
the other day,
I mean, people, you know, you hear people say, this is a scam, and I was thinking, well the, if it is a scam
it has to be one of the biggest scams ever
because all you’ve gotta do, is look on the walls
and you look at those photographs
Perhaps, this won’t surprise you
I’ve spoken to some oncologists just in the U.K., and they say, all of these people that you have helped, they either ever had cancer in the 1st place
or they were misdiagnosed
or, uh, they went into spontaneous remission
or they, it was the chemotherapy or radiation
These people, they don’t know what they do
They never, have never seen our results, and obviously they can’t believe that something like this could happen, but suddenly (laughs), in this room we are in now, we have some of
the top experts in the country, like people from FDA, who are expert oncologists, specialists
They’re working with you
Oh, they came here to inspect what we have
They look at every scan of the people who are in clinical trials, and they decided that we have very good results
And is that stuff going to be published at some point ?
Ah, yes, we are publi, we are preparing this for publication, but, uh, obviously, in order to have the right results, you need, time, and most of our clinical trials began, approximately 10 years ago
So then we, if you would like to know what happen after, 10 years with these people
then you need to have a little time
So now we are preparing a number of, uh, publications, uh, and so this year we should have a number of publications, which will show final results
So far we didn’t have, final results, so were only interim reports, during the course of clinical trials
And with, uh, with brain tumors; because obviously, that’s an area that you’ve had
huge suc, success rate
What, why has that, do you think, as opposed to the other, types ?
Because that’s where we selected
We wanted to have something difficult
Because, uh, for the same reason that you mentioned
If you’d had something easier then, the doctors could say: “Well, this cancer usually disappears in its own”
And they are right
Some cancers may disappear on its own, in some higher percent than the others
But you know, brain tumors, you read, they never disappear on their own
So that’s why we, decided to select such type of malignancies which are the most difficult
So what’s that been like when you’ve seen, I mean, I’ve seen obviously Jodi Fenton’s story
Whe, whe, when you see these people’s
and you see that that tumor has shrunk
or broken down
wha, what does that feel like ? (laughing)
Well, we see this all the time
(?) it just happens almost every day
Even today that we saw the patient, uh, who has pancreatic cancer, and after a few months of treatment it’s practically gone, and she is the wife of a doctor (laughs)
They came together, and that’s, that’s what we see practically every day
That must give you great strength to
So that’s something which is gratifying (laughs)
What do you think the future is as far as drugs for cancer are concerned ?
I believe that, we are still at a very early stages of development in this area, but the future will be, with medications which are, highly specific, they will work on the genes that are involved in cancer
So, they will not harm normal part of the body, and, du, du, how to combine this medications will be established by, the special software, which will guide the doctors how to use proper medication for individual patient
I think this will be the, um, treatment that will be designed for, individual patient, and such design, it is not necessary to be done by the doctor
I think it should be, uh, certain computerized system which will put together, the best possible treatment plan, for a patient; which obviously needs to be checked and approved by the doctor
So I believe that this will be the future of medicine for the next, say, 40, and 50 years, coming up with better and better medications, which will be genomic switches, which will turn off, the cancerous process by regulating the genes which are involved; they simply will bring, the activity of these genes to normal levels, and finally, the new generation of medication which should work on cancerous stem cells, and, the medications which can kill cancerous stem cells without, uh, producing any harm to normal stem cells
So this will be the clue for, long-term control of cancer, because if you don’t eliminate, cancerous stem cells then the cancer will come back
And that’s why chemotherapy, usually is unable to control cancer for a long time because, it’s pretty much powerless, ah, uh, regarding action on cancerous stem cells
But then after that, I think that we will make another, jump, and there will be, uh, procedures that will based on biophysics
and by trying to get rid of, uh, the cancer and some of the diseases by effecting the body by using various, uh, wipes, which will be like magnetic wipes, it will be some other types of wipes, but using proper frequencies to, normalize all the cells in the body to normalize the activity of the genes
I think this will be a
probably the next, uh, say 50 years of, uh, the end of this century when such (?)
So no one’s getting funding really, unless they’re doing it privately to,
being able to, isn’t that being able to research these areas, because funding really comes from pharmaceutical companies ?
Ah, well, most of this funding is from pharmaceutical companies, and also it is coming from the National Cancer Institute but, I think it’s regulated behind the scenes by the pharmaceutical companies
Eh, but they are still some researchers who are trying to do it on their own
Very few of them
I think there’s articles, in the Science magazine, some time ago which was talking about, uh, few of these researchers who are still trying to do, research on their own, and, I think, uh, I think there were probably some 4 or 5 of them in U.K. (laugh)
still involved in research on their own
So what ah, what about the role of the mind ?
Do you think that, if someone has cancer and they wanna be well, do you think the way that someone thinks is important ?
Absolutely, that’s very important because, this, uh, can be translated, ah, to various biochemicals which can influence cancer
So obviously this is very important but, the question is how to, ah, direct this in the proper way
How to quantify this
So that’s something that should be done in the future
And nutrition as well
Yes, absolutely, yes
Why all have a lot of important chemicals in nutrition which can effectuate cancer, but regarding the mind you have to translate, uh, for instance, biophysical factors, in the brain, into biochemical factors, and certainly, that’s what the body’s doing all the time, but how to mobilize it, that’s a different story
So if someone wants, if someone came to the Burzynski Clinic, wh, wh, what could they expect, to happen here?
Well 1st of all, we would like to give a selection, and we don’t want the people who we cannot treat to come
Uh, at this time we rather avoid, uh, patients in early stages of cancer, because with such patients, uh, what is used is standard of care treatment, and we prefer to refer them to, ah, different doctors
So we prefer to treat it once cancer patient, because, uh, they cannot be helped by the other doctors, and, uh, when they come to our clinic, we try to find out 1st, see if we can really help them or not, and, uh, once they come to the clinic, in most of the cases we can try to, help them, of course, and, uh, we put together, the personalized treatment plan, which is (?)
But all of those go through you
You look at every single one of those
I’m seeing every patient, who’s coming, if I’m
if I’m around here, but, after that all the patients are really assigned to different senior physician and they’re responsible for daily care of patient here
How many people do you have, working here now ?
About 150 people here, yes
And you started with, well, just one (?)
Eh, I think really when we moved from Baylor College I had about 7 people at that time
Yes, because, some of these doctors who are working together at Baylor College decided to leave together with me, including my wife, because she was also working at Baylor College
Thank you so much
Thank you very much