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"These are the very people who stand to lose the most if Burzynski's drug is proved," he says. "These are the people who radiate kids' brains at St. Jude's regularly...These are the people who are the enemies of this drug, because they have the most to lose from it...If this drug is approved, it will basically say that what they've been doing for all these decades is junk, and wasting money and lives."
Elias says that he did not set out with the intent of writing a book hailing Burzynski, but the more he researched, the more the data pointed to one conclusion. He says he randomly selected patients throughout the country to interview and follow up on. Most of those who followed the treatment plan were alive and improving, he says. "But the ones who gave up on the treatment, they were dead. Without exception."
While Elias believes Burzynski tried from the beginning to work within the system, Gorski believes otherwise: "The guy's like Leona Helmsley," he says. "Medical research and doing things by the book and having evidence and facts and so on, that's for the little people. Burzynski can do as he pleases."
And, Gorski says, claims of a drug's potential ring hollow without scientific support.
"Let's put it this way," he says. "Until it's really thoroughly tested, there's potential that when you take an antibiotic, if you jump up and down when you're taking it and say, 'ollie-ollie-oxen-free,' then it'll work better than if you don't do that, right?"
Gorski believes that, at this point, Burzynski is so convinced in his treatment's infallibility that "he is no more going to stop using his antineoplastons than the Pope is going to convert to Islam...It's an ideological commitment that has got nothing to do with facts and reason."
Generally, Burzynski's patients pay a $6,000 deposit before beginning treatment. Technically, the drug itself is free because it's only used under Phase II trials, but patients pay for incidentals, including consultations, supplies and classes on how to administer the drug. This runs about $7,500-$9,000 a month — out of pocket. Ostensibly, after paying salaries, this money goes straight into more research.
But in recent years, the Burzynski train appears to have gone off the tracks. Namely, he has taken it upon himself to rescue patients afflicted with the other Big C: Crow's-feet.
Burzynski has launched a line of creams and capsules under the brand name Aminocare, which is described as "The Genetic Solution for Anti-Aging." Aminocare Cream has allegedly been subjected to rigorous clinical trials, although the resulting publication looks a bit different from his cancer articles. For one, it contains photographs of smiling middle-aged couples, basking in the glow of their new-found freedom from wrinkles. The study indicates that Aminocare showed a reduction of "complexity," "wrinkle depth" and "wrinkle volume."
The study was commissioned by Aminocare, and Burzynski settled on an unexpected choice in the scientists he trusted: researchers at the University Victor Segalen in Bordeaux, France. It appears to have been led by the university's Alain Jacquet, whose title is listed as "toxicologist." However, according to Jacquet's CV, he is what in Europe is called a "stomatologist" and in the U.S. is called a "dentist." (Jacquet later blessed another antiaging miracle drug, manufactured by Inversion Femme, that involves using shark cartilage to "combat the excess of free radicals.")
Burzynski presents his fountain-of-youth breakthroughs at worldwide conferences held by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. The Chicago-based organization was founded by Ronald Klatz and Robert Goldman, who received their medical degrees in Belize but are not legally allowed to identify themselves as "M.D.s" in Illinois, per orders by that state's Department of Professional Regulation.
While Goldman may not be able to call himself an M.D. in Illinois, his credentials are still impressive. According to the academy Web site, he is a Chinese weapons expert with the ability to perform "13,500 consecutive sit-ups and 321 consecutive handstand pushups." For proof of the latter, Goldman has included photos of himself standing on his hands, clad in a snug stars-and-stripes-patterned swimsuit.
As for Klatz, he is the developer of the "Model of Practical Immortality," in which he predicts that by 2029, people will have lifespans of at least 150 years.
While Burzynski told the Press that Aminocare does not sponsor these conferences, the company is listed as a sponsor on the academy's Web site.
And it's best not to push the subject. In speaking with Burzynski, you need to understand some basics: If you in any way question his methods, remark on his affiliation with dubious doctors or try to understand why, after 30 years, antineoplastons are not accepted by mainstream medicine, you're in for trouble.
In his first interview, Burzynski is cordial and accommodating.
After a brief wait in his clinic lobby, lined with photographs of celebrities who were never Burzynski's patients, such as Mel Brooks and Gregory Peck, the Press follows an assistant to the doctor's well-appointed office. Burzynski may not be tall, but his white doctor's coat and impeccably managed dark brown hair and mustache lend a presence of authority. He speaks softly, in a thick accent, often punctuating sentences with a smile.