on November 1, 2002
I am the best evidence that the conclusions drawn by Lauren Seiler in his Oct. 20, 2002 review of this book are completely wrong. I hope he reads this and seeks out the Burzynski treatment for his son, whose life it might well save. I was diagnosed with an inoperable anaplastic astrocytoma (Grade 3 brain tumor) in May 2000. Doctors told me that I had somewhere between 6 and 18 months to live. I am alive and cancer free today in large part because of "The Burzynski Breakthrough," the book and the treatment. Shortly after my diagnosis, I learned of this book and, unlike Seiler, contacted the author with questions that were in some ways like his, and in some ways different. After reading the book and hearing Elias' answers, I sought out the treatment and was symptom free within less than four months - just when my other doctors had told me I should be on my deathbed.
When I read Seiler's review, I telephone Elias and asked him to provide me responses to some of his criticisms. Here is a summary of what he told me, going through the Seiler review point by point:
There is no bibliography in the rear of this book because every source is identified specifically in the text. Elias said his publisher did not wish to list all Burzynski's publications because they number more than 500, and he has cited the most relevant ones in the text of the book.
Elias does indeed describe his methods for choosing patients included in the book. In both the prologue and epilogue, he details the cases of patients he met in the waiting room of the Burzynski Clinic on his first visit there, a completely unannounced visit. He included histories of all patients present who were willing to be interviewed in the epilogue and the prologue. As for the choice of which patients to use as full-length case-history chapters in in the book, Elias said they were chosen in a method he described as akin to the stratified random sampling done by political pollsters. Since he wanted broad geographic distribution (and got it, with patients from CA, AL, NY and points in between), he selectd at random from a list of Burzynski patients from various regions - the South, West, Northeast, etc.
Seiler wondered about the authenticity of the tables in the rear of the book and asked how long those in complete remission had been at that category. As he would have seen had he read the charts in detail, all information came from Burzynski's submissions to the U.S. Food and Drug Aministration. He would risk criminal prosecution if any such information was falsified. The definitions of complete remission, partial response and stable disease are precisely those the FDA uses in all clinical trials of cancer drugs. Those listed in complete remission have been in that condition for varying lengths of time. The best evidence for the truth of positive results reported in the charts is the fact that negative results are also reported in the same charts. Neither Burzynski nor Elias has ever claimed this treatment is 100% successful.
Seiler also notes that there is little critical comment in the book. In point of fact, the book contains an entire chapter detailing criticisms of Burzynski, his methods and his Antineoplastons, rebutting them in detail. It is simply false to say Elias has ignored the critics when he has specifically responded to the most prominent of those critics. As for criticisms by patients, Elias reports that even among prosecution witnesses at Burzynski's criminal trial in 1997, he found none.
Elias also responds to Seiler's concluding comments, one by one:
1. Elias admits on Page 8 not being an expert reader of MRIs. But, Seiler suggests, he should have brought an expert with him. Elias notes that on Page 8, part of his acknowledgements, he was discussing the news story he wrote on strict deadline about Burzynski while still a correspondent for Scripps Howard. He says he did seek expert readings of scans later, while researching the book.
2. Seiler says Elias mentions a Stage 2 astrocytoma on Page 280, when these tumors are designated by grades, not stages. Elias responds by noting that the "Stage 2" reference came ina direct quotation from a physician, adding that he at no point changed even a word in any direct quotation included in the book.
3. To Seiler's objection to one of Elias' conclusions, the author responds that "facts are facts. I describe the situation as it is, not what I or anyone lese wishes it to be."
In short, I am living evidence that Elias does not offer false hope in his book, as Seiler claims. To the contrary, anyone who sees me (and hundreds of other long-surviving Burzynski patients) will know there is real hope with the Burzynski treatment for cancer patients of all kinds, and especially for brain tumor patients, for whom nothing else works at all.
Jodi Gold - Los Angeles, CA
on November 26, 2002
Some say that Burzynski is a quack, but this book establishes that the reverse is true -- he's actually a hero who has discovered a way to save untold numbers of lives, while the establishment doctors who have ostracized him are the real phonies. Like many scientists who defy current paradigms, Burzynski has been subjected to ridicule and fierce opposition. Arthur Schopenhauer once wrote that "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident." My guess is that Burzynski's treatment is nearing stage 3 and will eventually be accepted as a standard treatment.
In this very readable book, Elias establishes beyond much doubt that this treatment works on many cancers. The charts in the appendix are the only place I have ever seen comprehensive statistics reporting how well a particular drug performs against any specific type of cancer. Why don't the other drugs report their numbers? Probably, because they don't work nearly as well as this one. What's more, Elias establishes through very meticulous documentation that the top scientific agencies of the U.S. government have known for years about how effective and non-toxic the Burzynski treatment usually is.
In short, this book is a must read for anyone with cancer or anyone with a relative or friend suffering from any form of the disease.
on March 12, 2003
I am a previous patient of Dr. Burzynski. I was going through the antineoplaston treatment when Mr. Elias wrote his book. So, my details were not mentioned in his book, nor were my results included in the statistics he references.
I had a glioblastoma multiforme grade 4. Given less than a year to live I searched all over for any kind of hope. I found hope in the form of Dr. Burzynski and his antineoplaston treatment. My story is located on the web at cancerguide.org and can be found under the inspirational stories section.
I really did not pay too much attention to all the controversy surrounding Dr. Burzynski until I read Mr. Elias' "The Burzynski Breakthrough". Elias details very accurately the treatment I was on and the process at the Burzynski clinic.
As a patient that actually completed the antineoplaston treatment I can say that Thomas Elias has done an excellent job in describing the potential benefits of antineoplaston treatment as well as chronicling the persecution Burzynski has endured to keep his medicine available to us all. (Even though severely restricted by the FDA).
Thank you Thomas Elias.
on November 1, 2002
Thank you, Thomas Elias, for bringing the Burzynski story to the public's attention in a big way. I know this book has already saved lives -- my neighbors' son was diagnosed two years ago with an untreatable brain stem tumor, given less than three months to live -- but is alive today because they read this book and acted on it.
But I didn't know until I read the book myself that the government has tried for years to stifle this drug, even tried to put Burzynski in prison. It's an incredible story of governmental malfeasance, very well told.
Bravo, Mr. Elias, both for writing this book and for making it such a good read!
on August 19, 1998
Elias has FINALLY gathered ALL the information about this wonderful man and his devotion to the truth about cancer research, cancer treatment, and the government's full-scale vendetta against him. This book shows the depths to which bureaucrats will stoop to keep their consitutents - specifically, the large parmaceutical companies - happy.
Conventional cancer treatments often don't work, and consistently place added strain on the patient, but use of these drugs is bringing millions of dollars into the coffers of those same large companies that have brought pressure to bear on the government to eliminate Dr. Burzynski. Dr. Burzynski's treatments are non-toxic, therefore eliminating the horrendous side-effects of conventional therapies, and it has been proven OVER and OVER that they DO work.
Elias is not a credulous neophyte, swept up in a fairytale. When he began research for this book, he was a clear-eyed skeptic, and I believe the book shows he maintained his objectivity throughout.
The book nails every issue with clarity, and logic.
If you, or someone you love has cancer, PLEASE read this book - it could SAVE A LIFE!!!
on October 28, 2002
This book is written by Thomas Elias shows him as an advocate for Dr. Burzynski. This is not some book report. It is a relatively complete story of how Dr. Burzynski was man-handled by the FDA. The Burzynski Breakthrough talks of a system that subordinates the potential virtues of a new and exciting cancer treatment for the rigid and sometimes caustic bureaucratic requirements of the FDA.
He also takes the time to detail several individuals that were positively impacted by Burzynski's treatments. There are also instances that recount treatments that were not successful.
If you are interested about discovering what his anti-neoplastin treatment is or what the FDA did to him at our expense, this book is for you.
If you need hope, this book may give you hope. I would not deny my child hope because some bibliography was not filled out correctly or some documentation of some report was not done to some random individual's liking. The fact is that his treatments have made a difference in many people's lives and the ones that they love.
on April 3, 1999
This book is a great accounting of Dr. Burzynski's struggle with the FDA and the patient turmoil imposed by the FDA and NCI's fumbling of this treatment. My wife and son testified at Dr. Burzynski's Federal trial in 1997, so we experienced this story first hand.
This isn't a book about the efficacy of the treatment or the scientific rationale or basis for using Antineoplastons.Readers who want more scientific information should obtain the articles published by Burzynski on Antineoplastons. Also, the published Phase I clinical trials on Phenylacetate (one component of Antineoplastons) available from the University of Virginia independently verify the lack of toxicity of these substances, plus they alude both to the efficacy of the treatment (tumors regressed during the trials), and one motivation for cutting Dr. Burzynski out of the history books (they were funded by Elan Pharmaceutical).
Most of Ralph Moss's books have chapters on Burzynski. A very well balanced chapter is in Choices in Healing, by Michael Lerner, although I don't know how recently these books have been updated.
This book portrays quite well the real drama we have experienced. Other reading is extensively available for readers interested in the full picture about this treatment. It is simply a case where our federal government has done just the opposite of what cancer patients require.
on February 2, 2002
This book is as much about the tyranny of the United States Government against freedom of choice for medical treatment of its citizens, as it is about a new cancer treatment.
Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, M.D., Ph. D., a very brilliant and courageous medical doctor from Poland, and the subject of this book, has been vilified by the medical orthodoxy of the United States, including the United States Food and Drug Administration. While his new cancer treatment is not perfect, neither is the orthodox cancer treatment. While his cancer treatment does not work on all types of cancers, neither does theirs. While some of his patients die, so do many of those given the orthodox, and largely untested treatments of dangerous, toxic drugs, dangerous surgery and cancer causing radiation. While his treatment is expensive, so is theirs, except that insurance usually only pays for their treatment even if it fails and the patient is harmed or ultimately dies.
However, the author Thomas D. Elias makes every effort to present a balanced report and provides charts in the back of the book indicating the number of successes and failures of this cancer treatment.
In Chapter 7, he goes into much detail discussing the many false and misleading statements by one Saul Green, Ph. D., virtually demolishing each of them, although the quackwatch website, operated by one Stephen Barrett, M.D., still presents these false and misleading statements there, and others by Dr. Green seeking to use innuendo to vilify others as well.
In Chapter 8 Elias details the sordid, tyrannical, behavior of the FDA in the cases of Thomas Navarro and David Smith. He states: "Smith's ordeal, and Thomas Navarro's, represent clearcut cases of legalistic sophistry triumphing over the individual will of the patients whose lives were threatened..." "Strikingly, during each hearing Kessler, Robert Spiller, DeLap and other FDA officials who had spent years pursuing Burzynski left the room before patients could begin their often heart-wrenching testimony..." This statement followed testimony by Mary Michaels of Troy, Michigan during congressional hearings where she stated: "Without his treatment my son will die!"
The themes of this book are entirely consistent with other reports by distinguished investigators like Ralph W. Moss, Ph. D., who devoted about 50 pages to this subject in Chapter 14 of his book "The Cancer Industry Unravelling the Politics", Paragon House, New York, 1989. In fact, Dr. Moss himself has been vilified by the FDA when they sought to illegally subpoena information he had about Dr. Burzynski. This is documented in the book "The Politics of Cancer Revisited", by Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., East Ridge Press, 1998, page 556.
A distinguished United States Senator by the name of Barry Goldwater once said words to the effect: "A government big enough to give, is also big enough to take away." This excellent book by Thomas Elias documents how our own very elected and appointed government "leaders" fight, often hidden behind closed doors,against their own citizens who elected them, to take away our most fundamental freedoms; namely, the freedom to choose our own medical treatment!
Winfield J. Abbe, Ph. D., Physics
on October 10, 2005
I picked up Thomas Elias's book with a skeptical mindset and came away utterly convinced that Dr. Burzynski is the real thing: a dedicated scientist and researcher who has discovered a powerful nontoxic therapy for cancer. Instead of honors and awards for saving lives, a status that is just now, finally, accruing to him, the doctor attracted animosity and worse from vested interests in the cancer "industry." His offices were raided, and he was threatened with imprisonment. As Elias clearly describes in his beautifully rendered style, years of persecution became decades. Meanwhile, there was one group solidly behind Dr. Burzynski: his patients! These were people who had been given up on by conventional medicine --men, women and especially young children, with aggressive, often end-stage brain tumors and other cancers. Dr. Burzynski treated them with his antineoplastons, they lived, in most cases even thrived, and, shockingly, their doctors had one word to say: "Remission."
Over and over again, this same denial by doctors cropped up, as people were told that what they could plainly see, feel and touch was not reality. But how could anyone deny obvious long-term remissions, cures, and good quality of life people experienced from Dr. Burzynski's medicine, as Elias faithfully reported!
After I read this book the first time, I went to the patient website that Elias described, [...] Now I know why these past and present patients, or patient family members, adore this man and will do anything to keep him out of harm's way. He has saved their lives! Someday he may be called upon to save yours. If that time comes, I hope you will have read this book. Bravo Tom Elias! And bravo to Dr. Burzynski, for his remarkable work.
Slowly but surely (and this gives me hope for a cancer-free world, someday) the rest of the cancer establishment is catching up with this intrepid pioneer.
If I or anyone I care about would ever develop any form of cancer, God forbid, I can tell you that I will be on an airplane to Dr. Burzynski's clinic in Houston the same day. I know what chemo and radiation do to the body. And now, thanks to Tom Elias, I also know there is an infinitely better, natural treatment where the cure will not kill you. This, to me, is comforting beyond belief. I have bought this book for everyone I know. If it is not in your library, shame on you.
Judy Katz, New York City, email@example.com
on October 31, 2002
This is an absolutely incredible story. How dare the United States government not tell us, the people, that there is a cure which is extremely effective for most cancers!
I would have had know way of knowing about this if a friend hadn't given me this book. It was a young man whose son had been diagnosed with a hopeless brain tumor and went to Burzynski as absolute last resort. It is now eight years later, and the boy is alive, healthy and active.
This book has all the scientific information on what the drug is and how it works. It is written beautifully, but simply, with patient case histories intersperced within the narrative of Burzynski's scientific life and his persecution by the government and the scientific establishment. But maybe more important, there is very specific information about the government's deception and its outright persecution of Burzynski. We think of scientists as honest, objective people. This story shows they are more political than most politicians.
This book will save lives, probably already has. What's more, it should open our eyes to the unwarranted robbery of our freedoms that is pulled off daily by the FDA and other government bureaucrats. Who are they to tell any patient what drug they should try or not try when doctors have told them they are sure to die?