The False Hope of Stanislaw Burzynski’s Cancer Treatments, in ‘Skeptical Inquirer’

February 12, 2014

Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski has been hawking unproven cancer treatments to desperate patients while facing repeated investigation by the authorities for
decades. Skeptical Inquirer reveals the truth behind his dubious claims, and details the efforts by activists to rein him in and contain his


On the heels of a recent USA Today exposé of Burzynski’s unsound practices, Dr. David Gorski digs deep into the life of Burzynski and his scientific background, revealing both the genesis of his work and the facts that undercut
Burzynski’s claims, describing him as an expert in “donning the mantle of science” for his own purposes, all the while operating under “nearly constant
investigation by medical authorities.”

“There is little doubt that Burzynski started out trying to be a real scientist,” Gorski writes, but he eventually turned to an “ethical slide into
oblivion,” sacrificing scientific rigor and the health of his patients. We learn the truth about Burzynski’s “antineoplastons,” mysterious compounds that
Burzynski claims can be used to target and destroy cancer cells, that Gorski says “almost certainly do not have significant anticancer activity.”

Robert J. Blaskiewicz
details the battle to challenge Burzynski’s questionable claims, and to provide reliable information about them to the public. For example, as a form of
protest of Burzynski’s clinic, skeptics worked to raise funds for genuine cancer treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, even as they weathered
legal threats from allies of Burzynski. Meanwhile, activists have formed The Other Burzynski Patient Group, which tells the stories of the Burzynski
patients who did not survive treatment. “While skeptics cannot perform the protective and punitive roles that regulators and courts have been unable to
serve,” writes Blaskiewicz, “we can step up and do the investigating, reporting, and editorializing that the media have failed to do.”

Also in this issue
: Joe Nickell investigates the truth behind the alleged hauntings portrayed in the new movie The ConjuringBryan Farha looks back on the terrible record of late “psychic” Sylva Browne; Richard E. Wackrow
characterizes the threat of a terrorist “dirty bomb” as overblown; and much more.

The March/April 2014 edition of Skeptical Inquirer is now available on newsstands, in the Apple App Store, or on Pocketmags for Android, Kindle,
and other platforms. For more information, visit


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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at