Antineoplaston Therapy

“The body itself has a treatment for cancer,” says Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski. The Polish-born physician-biochemist, based in Houston, Texas, discovered that a group of peptides (short chains of amino acids) and amino-acid derivatives occurring naturally throughout our bodies inhibit the growth of cancer cells. In his view, these substances are part of a “biochemical defense system” completely different from our immune system. Unlike the immune system, which protects us by destroying invading agents or defective cells, the biochemical defense system reprograms, or corrects, defective cells. It carries “good” information to abnormal cells, instructing them to develop normally.

Dr. Burzynski named these peptides “antineoplaston”s because of their ability to inhibit neoplastic, or cancerous, cell growth. He discovered that cancer patients have a drastic shortage of these compounds in their bodies-blood samples of advanced cancer patients reveal only 2 to 3 percent of the amount typically found in healthy individuals. By simply reintroducing the peptides into the patient’s bloodstream, either orally or intravenously, he brings about tumor shrinkage or complete remission. In many cases, just weeks after the start of treatment, tumors have shrunk in size or disappeared. Most types of cancer reportedly respond to the therapy, which is safe and nontoxic. The natural substances used are well tolerated by the body, even in high doses, without any of the disastrous side effects routinely associated with toxic chemotherapy and radiation.

Since the Burzynski Research Institute (BRI) opened in 1977, Dr. Burzynski has treated some 2,000 cancer patients, most of them in advanced stages. He has saved or prolonged hundreds of lives with his innovative approach. A significant number of persons treated have been in complete remission for five years or more, even though they were pronounced “terminal” or “incurable” by their conventional doctors. However, Dr. Burzynski advises that antineoplaston treatments are not effective against all types of cancer nor for all patients.

A front-page article in the July-August 1990 issue of Oncology News was devoted to antineoplastons, “a completely new type of antitumor agent that is nontoxic and seems to make malignant cancer cells revert to normal.” Dvorit Samid, Ph.D., a Bethesda, Maryland, researcher, was quoted as saying, “Such a dramatic phenomenon is seldom seen…. I am very excited about these findings.” This report on the Ninth International Symposium on Future Trends in Chemotherapy, held in Geneva, Switzerland, presented favorable preclinical and clinical results achieved with antineoplaston therapy by researchers from Japan, Poland, China, and the United States.

A complete remission in a Japanese patient with inoperable metastatic ovarian cancer and complete remissions in American patients with advanced prostate cancer were among the results presented. These types of cancer are very rarely cured by conventional forms of treatment.

Some of the most exciting results obtained with antineoplastons have been with the tumors that usually do not respond to chemotherapy, radiation, or immunotherapy. These include malignant brain tumors (astrocytoma, stages III and IV, and glioblastoma), advanced cancer of the prostate, certain forms of lung cancer, bladder cancer, and even cancer of the pancreas. For example, in a Phase II trial involving astrocytoma, a highly malignant form of brain cancer, twenty patients-nearly all of them in advanced stages of the disease — were treated with antineoplastons. All but one had received and failed prior standard therapies.

Four patients achieved complete remission, and two others, partial remission. Ten other patients showed objective stabilization (less than 50 percent decrease of tumor size). Since the end of this study, in May 1990, some of the ten patients classified as stabilized have achieved complete or partial remission.1

Clinical studies are also underway with patients in Poland. Researchers in Japan, Great Britain, Italy, the United States, and China have reproduced and are expanding Dr. Burzyoski’s preclinical work. In September 1990, the Burzynski Research Institute entered into a letter of intent with Ferment, a major Soviet pharmaceutical firm, to conduct clinical trials with antineoplastons on cancer patients in the Soviet Union.

While Burzynski’s breakthroughs are being eagerly pursued abroad, here in the United States, where he lives and sees patients, the doctor has been the target of an ill-informed, multipronged attack aimed at discrediting him and closing down his clinic. Despite the fact that he has published 150 scientific papers and holds twenty patents for antineoplaston treatment covering sixteen countries, his work has been dismissed as quackery by such interlocking government agencies and private-sector vested-interest groups as the Food and Drug Administration and the American Cancer Society. Close-minded oncologists, when asked by their patients about Dr. Burzynski, have said that he has published nothing. Some insurance companies have sent pleasantly worded form letters denying all payment for his services.

The American Cancer Society in 1983 put Burzynski’s antineoplaston therapy on its Unproven Methods blacklist, where it remains to this day. Yet, as Ralph Moss notes in The Cancer Industry, the ACS’s condemnatory report on the therapy “included data which undercut its own conclusions,” such as the fact that 86 percent of far-advanced cancer patients treated with antineoplastons showed clinical improvement in one 1977 study! Four patients (19 percent) had complete remission, and another four had partial remission. Yet the ACS twisted the facts and said it “does not have evidence that treatment with antineoplaston results in objective benefit.”2

The FDA filed suit against Dr. Burzynski in March 1983 in an attempt to drive him out of business. It ordered Burzynski and his institute to stop all further research, development, manufacture, and use of antineoplastons. A federal judge allowed the doctor to continue his research and treatment within the state of Texas but ruled that he could not ship the drugs across state lines.

In July 1985, FDA agents and federal marshals, armed with an illegal search warrant to look for vague “violations,” raided the Burzynski Research Institute and seized over 200,000 confidential documents, including private medical records. They went through Dr. Burzynski’s personal correspondence and rifled his briefcase. The federal officers loaded eleven of his filing cabinets onto their truck in an outrageous violation of his (and patients’) constitutional and civil liberties. Dr. Burzynski sued the FDA for the return of his records, but all the documents remain in the FDA’s hands to this day.

The Texas State Board of Medical Examiners tried to revoke Burzynski’s medical license in 1988 on hairsplitting technical charges that had no connection whatsoever with the quality of care he provides. Hundreds of letters of support were sent to the board by Burzynski’s patients and their families and friends. The following letter from a Midwestern teenager was typical:

I am 13 years old and I have a 7 year old brother. We love our father very much. Thanks to Dr. Burzynski’s treatment, my father’s tumor has stopped growing. All of the doctors in my home state of Missouri said there was no cure for my father’s disease. Dr. Burzynski gave him a chance for life again. Please don’t take that away from us.

The board’s investigation has been slowed but not stopped.

For five years, the Justice Department has unsuccessfully sought an indictment against Dr. Burzynski on trumped-up charges of mail fraud. This investigation has been centered not on the treatment’s efficacy but on how insurance is billed by the clinic. The charges are not based on any patient’s complaint nor on harm caused to any patient. BRI and Aetna Life Insurance Company have sued each other; the outcome is pending.

To the American medical monopoly, Dr. Burzynski and his therapy are a threat in at least three ways. First, if his theory about a biochemical defense system separate from the immune system is correct, the biology textbooks will have to be rewritten. His theory is revolutionary in its implications. Second, although he is an alternative healer, Burzynski plays by the rules, publishing his findings openly and widely in the peer-reviewed medical literature, which makes it much harder to smear him as a quack. Third, and most important, his safe, nontoxic cancer treatment, with its tremendous promise, is perceived as a threat by the mega-billion-dollar cancer business with its vested monetary interests in toxic chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. Orthodox doctors and the huge drug companies would not welcome a safe, relatively inexpensive cancer cure- such as naturally occurring peptides, an herbal brew, or something similar-that can’t be marketed to reap superprofits.

At present, antineoplaston therapy is not cheap. The monthly minimum cost of outpatient treatment is between $3,000 and $5,000, excluding the expense of room and board in Houston, transportation, and so forth. The minimum length of treatment time is averaging from four months to one year. The costs are spelled out in detail in the Burzynski Clinic’s patient brochure. A number of insurance companies accept antineoplaston treatment for full or partial reimbursement.

The treatment costs reflect the enormous expenses involved in developing and manufacturing the drugs, which are produced by BRI without the advantages enjoyed by the big pharmaceutical companies. However, if antineoplastons ever gain wide acceptance and are mass-produced by a big pharmaceutical company, the cost to the patient would drop drastically.

Ten-year-old Ryan Werthwein was diagnosed by doctors in August 1989 with advanced (Stage IV) thalamic glioblastoma, a brain tumor with the highest grade of malignancy. Under conventional care, persons with this type of cancer usually don’t live longer than six to nine months after diagnosis. This cancer is considered incurable.

Orthodox doctors told Ryan’s parents that the boy, an identical twin from Marlboro, New Jersey, had six months to a year to live. If Ryan took a highly toxic experimental drug, the doctors said, he might survive a year, just possibly a year and a half, but in a progressively debilitated condition. Ryan underwent radiation therapy for five weeks starting in early October, but it proved ineffective. The tumor remained the same size, as indicated by a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan of the brain in January 1990. “The radiation burnt out most of Ryan’s pituitary gland, stunted his growth, and hurt his mental functioning,” according to Sharon Werthwein, the boy’s mother. “We were never told about radiation’s possible long-term effects.”

After reading up extensively on alternative therapies, Ryan’s parents decided to forego chemotherapy and take their son to Houston for treatment by Dr. Burzynski. “The doctors really beat us up over not doing chemo. We were discouraged at every turn from pursuing a safe, nontoxic alternative. They also told us Burzynski was a quack,” recalls Sharon. “The American Cancer Society said they have an arrangement with the Hilton to keep rooms available for cancer patients’ families, but when we mentioned Dr. Burzynski’s name, they said to ‘forget it.’ The Corporate Angel Network, which boasts in TV ads how it flies young cancer patients around the country for free, refused to fly our son because the National Cancer Institute won’t let them fly Burzynski’s patients. The system is a disgrace.”

Ryan’s treatment with antineoplastons began in mid-April 1990. One month after the intravenous infusions were started, there was a major breakdown of the tumor mass, and from then on, it steadily shrank as the therapy continued. “It felt as if a miracle had occurred,” says Sharon. An MRI scan of the brain on May 15-after four weeks of treatment-showed only barely visible tumor remnants. On November 1, 1990, Ryan displayed complete remission. Subsequent MRI scans have shown him to be cancer-free.

“When I called the radiologist to tell him the good news, he said, ‘I thought you were calling to tell me your son had passed away,'” says Sharon. “In utter disbelief, he begged me to come in the next day with my son’s brain scan. After inspecting it, he admitted that he had never seen anything like this before but refused to discuss his earlier negative evaluation of Dr. Burzynski.”

Ryan continues to receive antineoplaston treatment, but the dosage is gradually being reduced. He wears a miniature infusion pump, carried in a waist pack, that injects antineoplastons through a catheter in his chest twenty-four hours a day. There is no pain or discomfort. The ambulatory pump, similar to the one used by diabetics, is reloaded with medicine every two to three days. A patient can inconspicuously carry it in a moderately sized shoulder bag or waist pack. Patients can function and walk about with minimum inconvenience.

Ryan’s physical growth and metabolism have slowed. At the age of thirteen, he is over three inches shorter than his identical twin brother, which the Werthweins attribute to the radiation therapy. “The thing that attracted us to Dr. Burzynski’s approach,” explains Sharon, “is that it is safe and nontoxic, without the horrendous damage and pain that chemotherapy and radiation cause. We figured, ‘Our boy is dying. What have we got to lose by trying this method?’ It is criminal that the American medical system would attempt to suppress Dr. Burzynski’s therapy, which has saved our son’s life. It is wrong that we can only get this treatment for our son in Texas, rather than right here where we live.”

Dr. Burzynski reports that he continues to see very encouraging results in the majority of his patients with advanced, high-grade malignant brain tumors.

Some of Dr. Burzynski’s patients receive the antineoplastons orally, through capsules. For others, the treatment is administered intravenously, through a catheter. The insertion of a catheter is a simple procedure, performed by a qualified medical doctor outside the clinic.

Another of Dr. Burzynski’s patients was a thirty-six-year-old female diagnosed by the University of California Medical Center with advanced (Stage IV) astrocytoma of the brain stem. The patient was initially treated with radiation therapy but showed clear, debilitating progression of the disease before starting on an antineoplaston protocol. She was given oral doses of Antineoplaston A10 (one of the specific peptide compounds) as well as intravenous injections of Antineoplaston AS2-1. She did not show objective response to the treatment, however, and was switched to Antineoplaston A10 and AS2-1 infusions. After six months on this regimen, she was documented to be in complete remission, and she continues to be cancer free three years later.3

There’s a telling irony in the saga of a scientist fleeing Poland for the United States in search of freedom to do his work, only to encounter harassment and repression by the government and medical establishment. At age twenty-five, Stanislaw Burzynski graduated from the prestigious Lublin Medical Academy in Poland, ranked first in his class of 250. The next year, in 1968, he received a Ph.D. in biochemistry, becoming one of the youngest people in Europe ever to receive both advanced degrees. It was in 1967, at age twenty-four, that Burzynski discovered the cancer-growth-inhibiting properties of peptides.

When Burzynski refused to join the communist party in Poland, his position became precarious. He emigrated to the United States in 1970, becoming an assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. A research grant from the National Cancer Institute allowed him to continue his investigation of peptides part-time.

Over the next few years, Burzynski isolated 119 peptides and classified them according to activity. He elaborated on his original finding that “messenger” peptides bond to potential cancer cells, feeding them the complex information they need to revert to normal and perform their intended function. Without this corrective biochemical defense system, asserts Burzynski, we would soon succumb to the cancer-causing forces that continually trigger abnormal cell development, such as carcinogenic chemicals, radiation, and viruses.

Burzynski’s work on peptides convinced him that cancer is “a disease of information processing.” Some peptides spur cellular growth, others inhibit it, but they all accomplish their mission by sending messages the body can obey. The peptides in the bloodstream, which he named antineoplastons, are said to correct the DNA’s chemical program inside the cell and force the cell toward normal development.

Dr. Burzynski discovered that antineoplastons exhibit three di~stinct modes of action. In the first mode, the antineoplastons inhibit the incorporation of glutamine (an amino acid) into the protein of cancerous cells. In the second mode of action, the antineoplastons intercalate (insert) themselves into the double-helix strand of DNA.

Since carcinogens also do this, the antineoplastons are believed to work because they pre-emptively take up the carcinogen’s “parking spot” on the DNA strand. This mechanism is not new; some conventional anticancer drugs act in precisely this manner, but they also bind with normal cells and are highly toxic. In the third mode of action, the antineoplastons inhibit methylation (introduction of a methyl group) in the DNA and RNA of cancer cells, thus inducing malignant cells to differentiate and enter a normal cell cycle.4

At first, Burzynski derived the antineoplaston compounds from blood serum. Then he discovered that the body eliminates these peptides in the urine. Today, most antineoplastons are synthesized from off-the-shelf chemicals, but some of them are still derived from purified human urine. Critics have twisted these facts to paint Burzynski’s therapy as bizarre. In reality, the investigation of urinary peptides and amino acids in human urine has been pursued by researchers for over half a century. As Dr. Burzynski observed, “Urine is not really waste material, but probably the most complex chemical mixture in the human body, and therefore it can deliver us virtually any information about the body. So from the cybernetic point of view it is just a treasure of information. Blood is not such a complex mixture. It contains fewer chemicals.”5 Far from being bizarre, Burzynski’s method of isolating antineoplastons falls squarely within mainstream science.

Antineoplastons, being species-specific, are not generally effective in experiments on laboratory animals. Because of this, Dr. Burzynski received permission to do clinical trials on cancer patients at Houston’s Twelve Oaks Hospital. The results were extremely impressive, with the antineoplastons having a pronounced effect on cancers unresponsive to chemotherapy and radiation. But, just as the doctor was proving the efficacy of antineoplastons on human patients, the hospital withdrew its permission for him to do further tests, the National Cancer Institute got cold feet and cancelled his funding, and the American Cancer Society refused him research money.

So, with entrepreneurial spirit, an undaunted Dr. Burzynski quit his job at Baylor University in 1977 and struck out on his own, establishing his own laboratory so that he could manufacture antineoplastons and treat patients himself. His only savings was $5,000, and he was forced to turn to bank loans to keep the operation alive. Today, the Burzynski Research Institute has three facilities in Houston, including a large pharmaceutical plant, and employs a staff of doctors, engineers, and lab technicians.

In 1983, Burzynski submitted an Investigational New Drug (IND) Application, which took the foot-dragging FDA six years to approve. As a result of the approval, the doctor is currently seeking funding to do a Phase II trial on the effects of Antineoplaston A10 on patients with advanced breast cancer, to be conducted at an institute independent of his clinic.

Perhaps the most important preclinical study on antineoplastons, according to Dr. Burzynski, was done by the pathology department of the United States Department of Defense in Bethesda, Maryland, in 1989. Researchers there demonstrated that using Antineoplaston AS2-1 in tissue culture changes cancer cells into normal cells after approximately two to three days. These “corrected” cells behave completely like normal cells until they die, unless the medicine is removed from the culture medium too soon.6

“This means that when we are treating a patient who has cancer . . . we have to maintain a certain consistent concentration of antineoplastons in their body, in their blood,” comments Dr. Burzynski. “If we slow down too soon, then we have to start from scratch, because the cell will begin to multiply again and simply go toward the cancerous way of life.”

Antineoplastons appear to be remarkably effective in the early diagnosis and prevention of cancer. Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta demonstrated that Antineoplaston A10 significantly delayed the appearance of inborn tumors in mice.7 Low doses of synthetic Antineoplaston A10 administered orally can prevent lung, breast, and liver cancer in animals, according to research carried out at the University of Kurume Medical School in Japan and the Burzynski Research Institute. Antineoplastons show great promise as part of a preventive program against cancer in humans. Seemingly healthy individuals who have low levels of antineoplastons, such as smokers, would be prime candidates for that type of program. The possibilities of Burzynski’s “new medicine” appear endless since, in addition to cancer, errors in cell programming can lead to such diverse disorders as benign tumors, certain skin diseases, AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome), genital warts, and Parkinson’s disease.

All patients at the Burzynski Clinic are treated on an outpatient basis. The initial patient response to treatment can be evaluated by standard medical tests, usually within the first three to six weeks of care. While patients receive treatment, clinical evaluations are made, including tumor measurements, radiologic studies, and a total laboratory profile. Most patients show virtually no side effects; a small percentage experience just minor adverse reactions such as skin rashes, slightly changed blood pressure, chills, or fever. In contrast to toxic chemotherapy and radiotherapy, antineoplaston therapy can actually create beneficial side effects, including increases in white- and red-bloodcell counts and decreases in blood cholesterol.

According to the clinic, the treatment does not interfere with surgery, radiation, nor various forms of conventional chemotherapy or immunotherapy. In fact, for some types of cancer, antineoplastons are used together with a small dose of chemotherapy. Such combination treatments are usually free of chemo’s adverse reactions because the dose of chemotherapy given is very small. In addition, the depression of bone marrow that occurs under chemotherapy is offset by the antineoplastons, which actually stimulate bone-marrow function.

In addition to the successes against brain tumors, the clinic reports its most favorable results are obtained against lymphomas, such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; prostate cancer; certain forms of breast cancer; and bladder cancer. The clinic claims an objective response in treating advanced cancer of the pancreas, with two patients in remission for three years. Certain types of cancer do not respond well to antineoplaston therapy. For instance, the clinic does not accept patients with childhood leukemia or testicular cancer.

A small number of AIDS patients have been treated at the Burzynski Clinic. Most of them reportedly had marked improvement in their white-blood-cell counts, with their T4 cells (the white blood cells particularly affected by AIDS) increasing after the first four weeks of treatment. Most AIDS patients take Antineoplaston AS2-1 orally, in capsule form. According to Dr. Burzynski, “Antineoplaston AS2-1 will block the ‘AIDS program’ which is in the DNA of the cell. The cell will undergo specialization and function normally. The virus will not be able to multiply in a cell which is not dividing, and when the cell dies, the virus will die also. Hopefully, this will be the main benefit for the patient.”

While scientists in countries such as Japan, Poland, and the Commonwealth of Independent States (formerly the Soviet Union) actively pursue antineoplaston research, the American medical establishment has been dragging its heels. At the time of this writing, the National Cancer Institute finally agreed to conduct four independent Phase II trials of antineoplaston therapy on patients with brain tumors.

Dr. Burzynski maintains a calm, single-minded perseverance in the face of opposition. With philosophical detachment, he once said, “Most medical breakthroughs have happened because there was some lack of suppression by the supervisors of people doing some innovative work. For instance, the introduction of insulin happened after experiments were performed by Dr. Banting in the absence of the head of his laboratory. He went for a vacation to Europe, and this allowed Dr. Banting to have some freedom to do the experiments….

“That they leave you alone-this is the best you can hope for, yes. Louis Pasteur’s discovery was suppressed for about 22 years, and the reason why it was finally accepted was because Louis Pasteur was allowed to do a final experiment to indicate the effectiveness of his vaccinations. The experiment was constructed in a way that his adversaries thought would never succeed, and they set it up this way to prove that the discovery was not working. But they made an error. They allowed a certain degree of freedom. They allowed him to do the experiment, hoping that it would fail-but it succeeded.”8


1. S.R. Burzynski, E. Kubove, and B. Burzynski, “Phase II Clinical Trials of Antineoplaston A10 and AS2-1 Infusions in Astrocytoma,” 17th International Congress of Chemotherapy, Berlin, Germany, 1991.

2. Ralph W. Moss, The Cancer Industry (New York: Paragon House, 1989), pp. 307-308.

3. Burzynski et al., op. cit.

4. S.R. Burzynski, M.D., Ph.D., “The Body Itself Has a Treatment for Cancer,” lecture presented at the 1990 World Research Foundation Congress, Los Angeles, 7 October 1990, published in Health Consciousness,June 1991, pp. 31-32.

5. Avis Lang, “The Disease of Information Processing: An Interview With Stanislaw R. Burzynski, Townsend Letter for Doctors, June 1989, p. 294.

6. Dvorit Samid, Lin Ti Sherman, and Donata Rimoldi, “Induction of Phenotypic Reversion and Terminal Differentiation in Tumor Cells by Antineoplaston AS2-1,” abstract, Ninth International Symposium on Future Trends in Chemotherapy, Geneva, 26-28 March 1990.

7. T.G. Muldoon, J.A. Copland, A.F. Lehner, and L.B. Hendry, “Inhibition of Spontaneous Mouse Mammary Tumour Development by Antineoplaston A10,” Drugs Under Experimental and Clinical Research, vol. 13 (supp. I), 1987.

8. Lang, op. cit., p. 292.


Burzynski Clinic

6221 Corporate Drive

Houston, TX 77036

Phone: 713-777-8233

For further information on antineoplaston therapy and details on treatment.

Reading Material

Gary Null’s Complete Guide to Healing Your Body Naturally, by Gary Null .

The Cancer Industry: UnraveUing the Politics, by Ralph W. Moss.

Burzynski Clinic, written and published by the Burzynski Clinic (see above for address and phone number). Patient brochure.

From Options: The Alternative Cancer Therapy Book by Richard Walters, © 1992. Published by Avery Publishing, New York. For personal use only; neither the digital nor printed copy may be copied or sold. Reproduced by permission.

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Written by Richard Walters

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