Cancer Complementary and alternative medicine Medicine Quackery

A strange honor for Stanislaw Burzynski from and order authorized by the Catholic Church

This is a post that is about Stanislaw Burzynski but not about Stanislaw Burzynski. Obviously, regular readers are more than aware who Stanislaw Burzynski is, but even though I just blogged about him a few days ago, I still feel obligated to recount briefly who he is, for the benefit of readers who might have arrived here through Google searches or other means. Stanislaw Burzynski is a famous “cancer doctor” (I use scare quotes because he is not an oncologist and has no clinical training in medical oncology yet practices as a medical oncologist) who discovered something he called “antineoplastons” over 40 years ago and has been using them to treat cancer patients, first off clinical trials, but since the 1990 on clinical trials for which patients are charged tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

All you really need to know about him (more than you probably need to know, actually) is encompassed in a few of my old posts, including my reviews of a propaganda film by Eric Merola released in 2010 and its sequel released just last month (still viewable here), my analysis of his claims to be able to do “personalized gene-targeted therapy” better than M.D. Anderson and other cutting edge cancer centers (he can’t, and his claims that he can reveal his utter arrogance of ignorance about genomics), and this description of how he’s cleverly appropriated an orphan drug as a prodrug that produces antineoplastons in the body. The bottom line from my perspective is that Burzynski long ago ceased to be a science-based practitioner and that his numerous clinical trials are nothing more than a sham to allow him to keep treating patients with antineoplastons. (If you don’t believe me about this, listen to what his lawyer says about them.)

However, over the years, Burzynski has garnered the support of some heavy hitters. Oh, sure, it’s easy to make fun of celebrity bubble brains like Josh Duhamel and Fabio Lanzoni promoting Burzynski, but it’s not so easy to make fun of how powerful Congressmen like Joe Barton abused their power to pressure the FDA to lay off of Burzynski. Fortunately, of late either such efforts have ceased or are now less public and less effective, as evidenced by the partial clinical hold placed on antineoplaston therapy that prevents the Burzynski Clinic from signing up any new patients on antineoplastons since the FDA showed up there to investigate in January and for several months before that for children. Indeed, I’ve been looking for an excuse to use this picture I found to show just how tight Burzynski has been over the years with some powerful people:

Burzynski and JPII (small)

Yes, that’s Pope John Paul II with Stanislaw Burzynski and his wife. The picture was taken September 1996, a few months before Burzynski’s trial in 1997 for insurance fraud and violations of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. For unclear reasons, Burzynski was summoned to Rome, and he went. There were rumors at the time that he had been summoned to treat the Pope, but those rumors turned out not to be true. Other rumors were that he had been summoned to treat a prominent Cardinal, but that’s probably not true, either. More likely, the Pope just liked Burzynski because he was (and remains) a prominent Polish Catholic, just like John Paul II was, who appeared on the surface to be doing cutting edge cancer research.

All of this is why I didn’t immediately dismiss as hopelessly implausible reports that were Tweeted at me on the #Burzynski hashtag recently that Burzynski had again been honored by the Catholic Church. There’s even an official-looking framed certificate and everything posted right here on a blog entitled Network for the Science of Healing and Spirituality. The link is nearly a year old; so I’m not sure why it’s popping up again now other than that another woo-credulous blogger posted it in response to a real blog about Burzynski, namely my bud Bob Blaskiewicz’s The Other Burzynski Patient Group. Whatever the reason, like so many claims of dubious provenance on the Internet, this one bubbled to the surface again a year after it was first posted. So what’s it all about? Well, someone named Kiran Schmidt:

It is my great honor to have Dr Burzynski, the world renowned Cancer therapist of Houston/ Texas , join the Medical Order of the Knights Hospitaller and his work honored by the Catholic Church by being initiated as:

“Commander of the Knight-order of St.Gregory the Great”

It sure sounds official, doesn’t it? And maybe it is official. As I said, there’s even an official-looking certificate. However, if you look at the Wikipedia entry provided for the Order of St. Gregory the Great, things start looking fishy immediately. What immediately stood out to me is that there appears to be no such thing as the Medical Order of the Knights Hospitaller, at least, not as described in the entry that Schmidt quotes and seemingly not as an official order in the Catholic Church. Don’t get me wrong. There is an order of Knights Hospitaller:

From 1113 to 1309 they were known as the Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem; from 1309 to 1522 they went by the Order of the Knights of Rhodes; from 1530 to 1798 they were the Sovereign and Military Order of the Knights of Malta; from 1834 to 1961 they were the Knights Hospitaller of St. John of Jerusalem; and from 1961 to the present they are formally known as the Sovereign Military and Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes, and of Malta.

This doesn’t appear to be the same thing as the “Medical Order of the Knights Hospitaller” to which Burzynski was apparently inducted. In fact, it’s not entirely clear to me what the relationship is between this order and the Catholic Church. From what I’ve been able to gather, apparently Kiran Schmidt has received some sort of honor from the Catholic Church, having been inducted into the Pian Order. He even has a letter from a Cardinal named Angelo Sodano, who’s pretty high up in the Catholic hierarchy, that makes him Grandmaster of the Medical Order of the Knights Hospitaller, complete with language like this;

It is hereby made known to the world that we consider disease not as a dysfunction of the body but as a call for the spirit to rise higher and to make new efforts to realize the divine plan that God has made the sole purpose of this world. We wish to to re-affirm the ancient tradition that understood healing in the context of religion and that did not divide between healing of body and mind — a tradition in which the priest was a healer and the healer was a priest. We are aware that in the last century this tradition was weakened by some initial success of chemical and other physical medicine. It is obvious to many today that theis success has been superficial and another temptation to build “one’s house on sand” on the hope for human ability to control fate and give security. It is our wish to give support to those who promote the understanding that it is neither pills nor the knife of the surgeon that will ultimately bring healing, but rather the spirit that is determined to make use of sickness and suffering for a betterment of the soul, for a transformation of fear into the glorification of the Lord, for the molding of the spirit from belief in itself to the belief in its role as a servant to the greater glory of God.

Whatever the relationship of this medical order, such as it is, and the Catholic Church, the language above is quite ironic to me. First, it could very easily be appropriated by just about any quack, particularly the part about “chemical and other physical medicine.” You can almost feel the contempt for science-based medicine (SBM) oozing from the words, with the successes of modern SBM being “superficial.” In the case of most quacks, it’s because to them SBM isn’t “holistic enough.” In the case of this Catholic order, it’s because modern SBM doesn’t rely on God or Jesus for healing. Particularly odious is how Cardinal Sodano castigates “chemical and other physical medicine” because it alleviates the sickness and suffering that are good for the soul and result in the glorification of the Lord. One can only suggest that Cardinal Sodano refuse to see any real doctors if he has health problems and rely on the Lord—or maybe John of God.

Speaking of John of God, the above passage explains why virtually anyone can join the order, or so it would appear, as well as why Schmidt is so enamored of faith healing quack John of God. I, of course, have a different opinion of John of God, as you might imagine. Not surprisingly, it also turns out that Kiran Schmidt is into some serious woo of his own. He’s the founder of Inergitix, Inc., which advertises itself as being about “energy information” and markets a number of what are in my not-so-humble opinion, quack devices, including Rife generators, bioresonance (whatever that is), a health navigator, among other things. Particularly amusing is a device called the Bio-LaesEr, which appears to be a variation on the old familiar quackery of an Orgone accumulator.

Indeed, I see a very, very, very—shall we say?—target-rich environment here. I’ll save the website for future reference, but in the meantime let me provide you with just a little sampling of the tasty woo that resides therein, a little wafer to cleanse the palate, as Mr. Creosote might say. It’s Schmidt’s introduction to Eigen-resonance. There’s a lot there, but I picked only the best of the best for your amusement:

Until recently the body’s own frequencies were exclusively used to monitor body function like in ECG or EEG. The Bioresonance-LaesEr fundamentally changes this by feeding those frequencies back to the body in an amplified form or transformed into light, sound or magnetic frequencies. This is what we call Eigen-frequency therapy, an energetic analog to Eigen-blood or Eigen-Urine therapy and most generally to the basic “Similimum” principle of Homeopathy, one’s own frequencies are the perfect energetic homeopathic remedy – the Panacea.

An energetic analog to “Eigen-blood” and “Eigen-urine” that makes one own “frequencies” the “perfect energetic homeopathic remedy”? Pure genius! It’s such awesome woo that I think it might require its own post at some point.

But back to the honoring of Burzynski by Kiran Schmidt. It amuses me that Schmidt has apparently persuaded a Cardinal that his brand of quackery represents the highest ideals of Catholic physicians and healers over the last two millennia. It amuses me even more that, for all this order is apparently dedicated to “healing the spirit” and disparaging “chemical and physical medicine,” it’s honored a man who has taken advantage of the same “physical” model to administer chemotherapy to patients. That chemotherapy is in the form of his “antineoplastons” or the chemotherapy that Burzynski administers as “low dose” based on his “personalized gene-targeted cancer therapy.” Clearly, Schmidt knows not whom he honors. He thinks Burzynski is doing “informational medicine“:

He was one of the first to realize that a patient specific combination of peptides has the power to reverse even late stage cancers. And from the point of view of Informational Medicine he is doing exactly this – he is influencing the control-process of the body at a very high point in the hierarchy, at the point of genomic switches.

Just like with any other modality of Informational Medicine it has to be highly client specific but once found even minute amounts (in this case peptides) will do almost instant healing without the inertia and actio-reactio side-effects of massive dose or energy intervention which both have to follow Newton’s law.

Also and possibly even more important in my personal communication I became aware that Dr Buzynski is a deeply spiritual person and takes an active role in the Catholic Church…

Yes, Kiran Schmidt definitely amuses me. I see much potential for Insolence there, and I might not have discovered him, had it not been for Stanislaw Burzynski and my interest in him that led me to set up Google Alerts for his name.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

39 replies on “A strange honor for Stanislaw Burzynski from and order authorized by the Catholic Church”

Hard for me to believe that Eigen-frequency therapy has any actual Eigen-value.

Little math joke there.

Just like with any other modality of Informational Medicine it has to be highly client specific…

So all Burzynski’s treatments with antineoplastons, before he decided to go with “personalized gene-targeted therapy” were worthless because not client specific? I think we’d all agree they were worthless, at least.

@ palindrom:
Ha ha.

A couple of things:
First as a person whose recent ancestors and relatives have been largely atheist or agnostic ( the last 100 years or so), these orders, knights and saints are like something out of the distant past or science fiction to me. Like a Renaissanace Faire almost. I can see the flowing purple velvet robes, encrusted golden embroidery and oddments of weaponry re-configured as costumry. How appropriate for Dr B who is so well-versed in masquerade.

Then, re KIran Schmidt, I find it fascinating how you can surmise the extent of a woo theorist’s education in actual bio, med, physio etc by the characteristics his or her woo takes- it’s like peering inside their minds to observe the inner workings ( that’s purely a metaphor: “minds” are not mechanical or machine-like). It gives us staggering insight into the paucity of material with which they work.

Whenever their magnificent hypotheses have holes in their holism, they’re apt to toss in Spirit. Or computer analogies.
I’ll have to look at his site.

You know what, in my opinion, is a true honor? A peer-reviewed published paper in a reputable journal.

This is what we call Eigen-frequency therapy, an energetic analog to Eigen-blood or Eigen-Urine therapy

Schmidt is blatantly abusing terminology here. “Eigenfrequency” arises in some fields of physics (quantum mechanics being one of them), and it’s a legitimate term of art in those fields. It seems much more likely to me that Eigen-blood and Eigen-urine therapies were named after the concept of eigenfrequencies (or eigenvectors or eigenvalues, mathematical concepts which are related to eigenfrequencies) than the reverse derivation that Schmidt claims here. IOW, Schmidt can’t even parrot quantum woo competently. And while the concept of a resonant frequency is physically sound (the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge was a famous demonstration), I don’t think the resonances in a human body, if they exist, are sharp enough for there to be much effect from a so-called resonant frequency compared to other frequencies.

Language note: eigen is German for “[one’s] own”. So Schmidt is comparing his “Eigen-frequency” therapy with treatments involving the patient’s own blood or urine.

On Schmidt’s site, the Mission/ Vision page has a 3 minute video that illustrates his “otherworldiness’..
or whatever it is.

It’s risky for Burzynski to be linked with the Knights Hospitaller, and the Pope on top of that – given what the paranoiasphere thinks of those folks.

They’re part of the freemason/Catholic/Illuminati/Jewish conspiracy to rule the world, doncha know.

Could there be microchips hidden in those antineoplastons?

I wonder if Burzynski gets a commission from the church for each unfortunate soul he sends to heaven.

@ Dangerous Bacon:

re freemasons:
according to one of the minions who looked into it, a particular epi master’s candidate is being sponsored by the Scottish Rite, IIRC.
Narad? Was that you?

Burzynski was twice “summoned to Rome” to meet Pope John Paul II, according to this cancer cure board.

“Tributes to the Polish-born Burzynski Saturday night came not only from political allies in Congress and Canada’s Parliament but also from the Vatican secretariat of state, who sent Pope John Paul II’s greetings. (Burzynski has met with the pope twice, but he denies rumors that he treated him.)

BTW, If you donate enough money to the local diocese…or a friend is a major benefactor of the Catholic Church, you get to participate in a “pivate” Audience with the Pope. ..

Hard for me to believe that Eigen-frequency therapy has any actual Eigen-value.

Little math joke there.

What do you call an eigen-sheep? A lamb, duh.

[asymptotic rim shot]

without the inertia and actio-reactio side-effects of massive dose or energy intervention which both have to follow Newton’s law.

Uh, what?
Drugs and radiations work by gravity?
Radiation and kinetic energy, I could see some relation, but even so…

John of God? I thought that was the name of the “throne” in the Papal Bathroom.
@Helianthus: Sure, Newton’s laws – a body at rest tends to stay at rest. And what does a Burzynski patient become but a body at (eternal) rest?
@Ren: Well and succinctly said.

I have not been able to look up everything (slow internet) but I was able to get to the website of the “Medical Order of the Knights Hospitaller.” It is NOT an official Catholic order. What it IS is new age trying to look respectable to uninformed Catholics. If Catholic prelates have done things that look like they support it, either they were conned or they are wrong. The Catholic Church, like any organization, has its share of whackos. And some of them are my friends. I do my best to set them straight, but websites like this confuse them.

I wonder if the real Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem can sue them?

Anyone can become a Papal Knight, all you need is a sizeable wedge of cash and a compliant priest and a Cardinal who is willing to look the other way.

Looking at who signed Kiran’s award (Knight of the Pian Order), I am surprised he wants to publicize the documents. The rumours surrounding Cardinal Sodano are legion and cover some of the foulest allegations made against the Catholic Church.

That the Holy See should be mixing with medical scam artists is no surprise, it is the biggest, longest running scam in history.

according to one of the minions who looked into it, a particular epi master’s candidate is being sponsored by the Scottish Rite, IIRC.
Narad? Was that you?

I’m too fried from moving-related stuff and trying to get out a manuscript to even parse this, but I’m pretty sure the answer is “no.”

Oh, and what Bonnie said. I thought we had done this before. It’s these clowns, at least according to the St. Kitts–Nevis Observer.

@ Narad:

Ok, someone posted that Jake had received moolah sponsored by the Scottish Rite when showing his name listed at GWU.
15K USD IIRC. Not sure if that’s total or per annum.

It’s such a delicious irony that a conspiracy nut is sponsored by Freemasons. My irony meter is purring, instead of exploding, which makes a pleasant change.

@ Krebiozen:

I find it hilarious! Imagine the tales we could spin about him if we were of a conspiratorial bent.

At any rate, I am trying to get my gentlemen- and possibly another friend- who work/ worked in real world business to read Jake’s essays…. just to get opinions from smart people who are not immersed in SBM or the woo-oeuvre.

I shall reimburse them with expensive hootch I think. Two of them are naturally funny and expressive.

@ Alain:

Altho’ I could make jokes I think you might be better off reading articles about the Scottish Rite and Freemasons on wikipedia.
why some of us are experiencing irony is because many, many conspiracy mongerers put the Masons at the heart of their most bizarre tales. That’s why it’s funny that Jake is getting money from them: he thrives on conspiracy.

BTW, If you donate enough money to the local diocese…or a friend is a major benefactor of the Catholic Church, you get to participate in a “pivate” Audience with the Pope. ..

My formative experiences include my maternal grandmother — a lady from the ancestral homeland who may have had friends & relatives in the Resistance — teaching me the most obscene and scatological insults that the German language can offer, because (as she put it) “You never know when you might meet someone from Hitler Youth”.

Probably it is just as well that I have never been offered a Papal Audience.

The idea of Master Jake’s conspiratorially ironic funding has, while bouncing around in my brain, dislodged the memory of Korean Airlines Flight 007, shot down by the Russians when it strayed into their airspace in 1983 resulting in the deaths of all on board.

It was a horrible incident of course, but one of the passengers was Lawrence Patton McDonald, M.D. an American politician, second president of the John Birch Society (odd for a Democrat?), a man committed to stamping out Soviet and other communist clandestine activities around the world.

If that’s not ironic, not to mention the flight number, I don’t know what is.

Appropriately enough for the spying/conspiracy theme, some people believe McDonald survived the crash.

Dangerous Bacon @8: Of course! That’s the missing piece of the puzzle. No wonder the FDA lets Burzynski get away with literal murder – he’s testing methods for them to deploy the mandatory Obamacare microchips that they will use to round us all up when they put us in the FEMA camps where the Grey Reptiloids will harvest our precious bodily fluids.

And you know what is really ironic about this thing? It’s the fact that the Catholic church can have a really positive influence on people accepting science-based medicine. One thing is – the late pope John Paul II was a great supporter of transplants and blood donations, he said they are “the greatest gift possible”. So if you meet a Polish catholic who is against transplants, you can always use the final argument “but our late great holy father was a supporter of transplants, how can you be against them?”

So if you meet a Polish catholic who is against transplants, you can always use the final argument “but our late great holy father was a supporter of transplants, how can you be against them?”

I see no reason to think that frothing opposition to Vatican II and its wake would be any less common among Poles than it would be anywhere else. Except that there’s got to be a joke to be had involving the Roman Rite that’s akin to the one with a bowling ball, a sink, and a confused Polish groom.

Narad, there’s one thing that you’ve forgotten (or are not familiar with). It’s the way that Polish catholics treat John Paul II (or JP2, for short). He’s always “OUR dear pope”, “OUR holy father”, “OUR saint”. Once a Polish journalist referred to him “the leader of the Vatican state” (which is technically correct and by no means offensive) and the result was general public indignation.
True, I suppose most Polish catholics do not understand Vaticanum II or do not care about it, but what JP2 said is almost like Scripture to them.

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