What is it with KHOU getting on its knees for self-mythologizing "cancer doctor" Stanislaw Burzynski, a man who charges vulnerable families a fortune to treat dying loved ones with a dubious potion that's never been proven to be effective?
The latest round of fluffing came courtesy of KHOU reporter Jacqueline Crea's piece on Burzynski reminiscing about his meetings with Pope John Paul II, a piece that highlighted Burzynski's "strong religious beliefs" while glossing over the questionable claims he offers parents of dying children.
Mercifully, the brief spot was not as odious as Great Day Houston's veritable Burzynski infomercial in 2010, but we're absolutely perplexed about the pass Burznyski gets from the majority of local media.
Although Burzynski, a Polish native who likes to tell people he's a "hereditary count," once sought a patent for cancer-bustin' toothpaste and claims to be on the forefront of eradicating the other C-word (crow's feet), he's mostly known for his invention of synthesized peptides he calls "antineoplastons."
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When Burzynski fiddled about and saw his magic potion might be able to cure AIDS, cancer, and neurofibromatosis, he did what anyone with "strong religious beliefs" did --
he gave away his cure for free and shared his findings with the rest of the world, so that dying children everywhere could live healthy, productive lives, he patented that shit. (Because patients in clinical trials don't pay for experimental drugs, Burzynski's clinic charged families for incidental costs, including in many cases expensive meds sold by a pharmacy in which Burzynski held an interest.)
The Texas Medical Board and the Food and Drug Administration have battled Burzynski for decades, and antineoplastons, having never been FDA-approved, have only been provided via clinical trials. The FDA suspended the trials in 2013, after the death of a six-year-old patient. Also that year, the FDA accused the Burzynski Research Institute of misreporting patient outcomes, failing to report adverse events, destroying case history records, engaging in false advertising and other violations.
Yet in a move that astonished Burzynski's critics (i.e., real doctors), the FDA in March allowed a handful of patients to resume antineoplaston treatment, as long as Burzynski does not administer them. (Although Lisa Szabo's exhaustive USA Today article neglects to mention Burzynski's kaffeeklatsches with past pontiffs, we still recommend taking a gander.)
With Burzynski's publicity machine apparently in full force these days, we're sure to see more local puff pieces. We'll keep you posted. We just hope KHOU and other outlets allow their reporters to expense those knee pads.