Burzynski clinic issues press release

Yes that’s right, a press release. They’ll be doing the Colbert Report next.

Marc Stephens no longer has “a professional relationship” with the clinic. The clinic thinks it was inappropriate – yes that’s right, inappropriate – to send “a blogger,” meaning Rhys Morgan, a picture of his own house. The clinic apologizes.

But apology or no apology, the wheels of justice grind exceeding fine: attorneys will be contacting UK bloggers about what the press release says is “inaccurate information.” UK bloggers…why UK bloggers? Could this be another case of libel tourism?

This, as the saying goes, ain’t over.

Update 11/30 morning: Jen dug into the clinic’s list of publications and found it wanting. A must-read.






  1. John Morales says

    UK bloggers…why UK bloggers?

    Perhaps too subtle, since readers may be unaware of the relevance of English defamation law and the recent Simon Singh case.

    (Ophelia has blogged on this)

  2. eNeMeE says

    Anyone have access to the article that isn’t authored by Burzsjkjk? Best I can find is this, which isn’t exactly fully fleshed…

    Or supporting his ideas as a frontline treatment.

  3. says


    There’s no access to the article because there is no article. That’s a title of a presentation made at a conference (the 2010 European Society for Medical Oncology). Which means the research is not peer reviewed at all.

  4. Humphery Osmond says

    Yes that’s right, a press release.


    That’s the “official” PR henchperson, I was going to post a picture of her house, but…

    But apology or no apology, the wheels of justice grind exceeding fine: attorneys will be contacting UK bloggers about what the press release says is “inaccurate information.” UK bloggers…why UK bloggers? Could this be another case of libel tourism?

    Mr. Morgan has posted that he’s already heard from “Dozier Internet Law” – http://www.cybertriallawyer.com/

    More info on these weasels:


  5. Scote says

    So, Stephens was working for Burzynski, and he was hired by Burzynski as an independent contractor to do stuff one would normally expect a lawyer to do–sounds like Stephens may have crossed the line in to unlicensed practice of law, and that Burzynski was trying to do their legal threats on the cheap.

    It is BCA all over again–Burzynski is playing the “evidence” card, where he claims his crappy “evidence” makes anyone who says there is no evidence of efficacy is a liar. Sorry, Burzynski, that gambit already failed in BCA when they sued about the “not a jot of evidence” claim. IIRC, the court found that one can presume “evidence” to mean “good evidence”. And AFIK there is no **good** evidence that Burzynski’s treatments work, especially given that after 30 years he hasn’t even started a phase III trial.

  6. Zombie says

    So, I looked up Neuro-Oncology on the web (in which several of B. references were published) and it appears that the journal publishes abstracts of presentations or papers presented at various scientific meetings. (Their web site archives old issues of the journal.)

    My question for the experts is whether this really counts as a peer-reviewed publication. I would be surprised if journal editors or reviewers were able to look at everything presented at an event, but I don’t know what it takes to get into these events in the first place. And it appears what the journal publishes is just an abstract, not an actual paper.

    So far all four that I looked at are like this, refs. 9, 10, 12, and 13 in the letter.

  7. Zombie says

    Same with 8, 7, 6, 5, and 4 which is all the references to Neuro-Oncology. They are all abstracts from symposiums, conferences, and such.

  8. says

    The accepted standard for evidence is a double-blind randomised trial that shows that your proposed treatment works. Like, you know, Penicillin. Or Morphine. Or Tamoxifen. You don’t get to rake in 200 grand from a dying cancer patient without first proving that your treatment works. At this point, even recruiting patients for further trials on “Antineoplastons” would be unethical, and would get you into trouble at any University hospital.
    But I have a feeling that this particular fraudster is going to find himself out of business sooner than anyone can say “antineoplastons do jack shit”.

  9. Zombie says

    Tracking down the rest of the references in the press release:

    Ref 11 in Annals of Oncology is another symposium abstract.

    Ref 1 from Pediatric Drugs sounds like a real paper (not just an conference abstract) but full text is not freely available. The abstract sounds like its a review of current treatment, though, although it mentions antineoplastons.

    Assuming these don’t “count” (again I’m no expert), that leaves:

    Ref 2 from Integrative Cancer Therapies (which describes itself as explicitly about “alternative” therapies) also seems like a real paper, and this one does claim to offer evidence of safety and efficacy.

    Ref 3 in Cancer Therapy (annoying web site) is a “Case Report”. Full text is there.

  10. eNeMeE says

    No, it generally doesn’t. Unless it was the presentation of a peer-reviewed paper and then it’s the paper that counts, not the presentation. The one I was referring to was #11, so 4-13 aren’t relevant (I didn’t even bother looking at ones where he was the lead/only author).

    Now taking bets on 1-3! Place your bets here! Now taking bets! Place your bets here!

  11. eNeMeE says

    Also, not an expert. Know that much, though, since some stuff I wrote ended up presented at a conference and it sure as hell wasn’t peer-reviewed. And having attended the conference, most (all?) of that stuff was speculative “here’s where we’re going and this is where we think we’ll end up so far” sort of stuff.

  12. says

    Whoops. I was so focused on digging through the journals and writing that I had no idea you guys were doing the same thing. Would have saved me some work!

  13. Sajanas says

    So, I had heard that after the BCA vs Singh debacle that the UK was working on reforming their insane libel laws, and that the US had passed a law that prevented US citizens from being attacked by libel suits from other countries. Has anything much happened with libel reform in the UK, or has all the austerity stuff really pushed it to the back burner? The whole scientific establishment needs to really put its weight behind getting it fixed… surely they can see that it threatens the intellectual integrity of everyone working there.


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