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Comment put up or shut up (Score 1) 515

We don't instantly dismiss, at least I certainly don't. I look for the published records of properly carried out trials, don't find any reputable ones, and then I dismiss.

In this case Burzynski apparently doesn't even have a proper trial protocol, and no credible statistics could result. He's also been at it for quite a long time (30+ years!), much longer than it should take to do some proper testing. Hence.... quack.

Look, you don't get to reverse the burden of proof on treatments, where we should accept any claims unless they've been disproven. There are far too many wacky claims to be able to use that approach, even if it was appropriate. If the proponents of any treatment want it to be labeled as genuine rather than quackery, then carry out proper trials and produce reputable publications. Choosing not to do so suggests that the proponents themselves know that it's quackery.

If someone wants to do testing on the effects of chewing a measured amount of certain roots -- go ahead. I suggest you not smear your submitted papers in goat blood, though, and be careful about dosages if you haven't isolated the compound.

Comment why to draw attention (Score 1) 515

An advantage to blogging about the new victims is that it can provide some sort of external record of at least some of the patients. Since we know about them before they sought treatment, they aren't cherry-picked "success stories" like the other anecdotes.

Meanwhile, the UK government is currently looking into reforms to their rather chilling libel laws (burden of proof is reversed from the US laws, with the defendant having to prove the truth of their statements), so this set of threats and the attention it's getting is potentially helpful.

Comment Dead men don't buy Viagra (Score 3, Insightful) 515

"big pharma" isn't a monolith, it includes multiple competing companies. Any of whom would be happy to buy up a likely cure and make large amounts of money from it. Over the patent life of a drug, you shoud be able to make much more money from a cure than an ongoing treatment, because you can charge a lot more for it and you get all of it upfront.

And then, once they're cured of the fatal disease, you can still sell them all of your other drugs!

Comment Re:Are his customers happy? (Score 2) 515

It has been determined that, in some breast cancers, there is significant and complex genome rearrangement.

Feel free to explain how electromagnetic therapy is supposed to do anything about that.

As for the "drug companies don't want a cure" argument -- if any company, drug or otherwise, could get their hands on a cure, they'd be over the moon with joy, thinking about the license to print money that they'd found. If a drug company really thought Burzynski was onto something, they'd try to buy him out, not supress him.

Comment Re:Are his customers happy? (Score 1) 515

Technically I think the critics (of which I am one, though I don't blog) are judging on the *lack* of scientific method.

His "clinical studies" don't have the proper controls, which means that they cannot produce anything more than anecdotal results. At my university, the ethics board would not approve any type of experiments on human subjects in such a situation; potential for scientific advancement is required to justify any risk.

At best it's a fishing trip, not a scientific study.
And saying so shouldn't lead to libel threats and I-know-where-you-live intimidation attempts.

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