Mary Jo Siegel
Update February 19, 2014
I am happy to report that I am now 63 years old and healthy, happy, and very grateful to Dr Burzynski!
I have 3 wonderful grandchildren and my husband and I have been traveling and enjoying life!
I am sad to say that antineoplastons have not yet been approved. We will not stop the fight for medical freedom of choice, and we are planning for another congressional hearing in the near future.
However, Dr Burzynski is having great results using PBs (approved) and targeted drugs. Soon, there will be another site listing those patients who are in remission!
Mary Jo Siegel
Update February 2, 2011
I am so happy to tell you that I just
celebrated my 60th birthday!! I am so grateful to be able to say I feel well and am able to live life to the fullest! I have 2 wonderful grandchildren,lifes biggest blessing!!!
Dr. Burzynski saved my life all those years ago, and his non toxic treatment is still saving lives.My prayer is that antineoplastons will be approved soon,
(antineoplastons are in phase 3 clinical trials), and everyone will be able to have access to them.
The Burzynski movie is out now and available to everyone!
It is amazing. Good things are happening.
I wish you all good health and love,
Update February 19, 2008
Whoopee, this year I will be celebrating my 58th birthday!! I still thank God and Dr. Burzynski, (and his staff), every day.
Recently, I visited the clinic and I am so happy to report that more and more miracles are happening there everyday!!
I wish you all good health and love,
Update August 4, 2006
Well I am very happy to report I just celebrated my 56th birthday!!! I feel very grateful and I thank God and Dr. Burzynski every single day.
Steve and I recently moved to the Santa Rosa Valley and we are really enjoying the slower pace here. However, it is never slow when my 2 year old grandson is here! There is nothing like being a grandmother!!!
I love it!!!
I wish you all a lifetime of love and good health,
Update July 30, 2003
I am very happy to share with all of you that I have just turned 53 years old!!!
In 1991, I was diagnosed with non Hodgkins lymphoma, a fatal cancer. A bone marrow transplant was prescribed for me. After doing research on the BMT, I was sure I didn't want to go through that, unless there was absolutely nothing else for me to do. I thank goodness that a friend told me about Dr. Burzynski. I flew to Houston immediately and the rest of my story follows!
There was a time in my life that I didn't think I would see my children graduate high school. Now, not only have I seen all three of my children graduate college, but they all have great careers and ---- the best for last----I will be a grandmother this Christmas.
Not a day goes by that I do not thank God and Dr. Burzynski for my life.
Mary Jo's Story
Testimony Before the US House of Representatives Government Reform and Oversight Committee on February 4, 1998
Seven years ago, I was stricken with a fatal cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, for which no conventional cure yet exists. This disease is treatable for periods of time with chemotherapy and/or radiation, but the outcome is always death.
My husband Steve and I were devastated by my prognosis, but determined to find a cure. Our research took us to top lymphoma specialists at esteemed medical institutions like UCLA, USC, Stanford, and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. All the experts confirmed our worst fears: with existing therapies, my disease was incurable.
At Dana Farber, a ray of hope emerged with the recommendation that I undergo an autologous bone marrow transplant. This highly controversial procedure would require that I receive extremely high-dose chemotherapy and as much radiation as people who were within 1 mile of "ground zero" at Hiroshima. I would lose my hair, experience severe nausea and vomiting, and the threat of bacterial and viral infection would keep me in complete isolation for 6 weeks. My quality of life after treatment would be drastically diminished. From the chemotherapy, I would become sterile. There would be damage to my heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and bladder. Collateral radiation damage would affect my eyes, salivary glands and thyroid, with a greater than 50% chance that I would develop leukemia if I were lucky enough to survive just 10 years. I was frightened and suspicious because only a handful of patients had survived this procedure with good long-term results. One such person was the late Senator Paul Tsongas, who eventually died of complications caused by the procedure.
Fortunately, we discovered the work of Stanislaw Burzynski MD, PhD, who was treating patients who have advanced cancer with a gentle, nontoxic therapy he had discovered. As I began Dr. Burzynski’s antineoplaston treatment, my lymphoma had progressed to a stage IV (there is no stage V). Malignant tumors were growing throughout my body. My bone marrow was infiltrated, and there was a large tumor growing on the side of my neck.
After only 3 weeks on this medicine, that tumor disappeared! Subsequent scans performed at UCLA showed continued reduction in tumor size.
During antineoplaston treatment, my quality of life was excellent, virtually free of side effects. I was an active and involved mother, an absolute necessity when you are raising three teenagers. More importantly, the drug stopped my supposedly terminal cancer. Within 12 months I was pronounced in remission, not by Dr. Burzynski, but by the same lymphoma expert at UCLA who had originally diagnosed me and told me I faced certain death from this disease.
I went off treatment and remained in remission for 2 years, when a follow-up scan revealed a possible return of the disease. Immediately, Dr. Burzynski prescribed a regimen of antineoplaston capsules. Within 5 months, I was once again in remission and have remained cancer free to this day.
That’s the end of the good news. The tragedy is that our government, namely the FDA, has been keeping what author [of The Burzynski Breakthrough] Tom Elias calls "the century’s most promising cancer treatment" from becoming widely available to cancer patients. The agency has spent untold millions of taxpayer dollars in a systematic attempt to harass, discredit, stonewall, and even imprison Dr. Burzynski.
As incredible as it sounds, in November 1995, the FDA indicted Dr. Burzynski on 75 criminal counts, most having to do with alleged technical violations of the Interstate Commerce Act and none having to do with his practice of medicine or the effectiveness of his drug. Dr. Burzynski had been legally treating patients under Texas State law for some 20 years, and not one patient in all that time had ever filed a complaint. If Dr. Burzynski had been convicted on all 75 counts, he could have been sentenced to 290 years in a federal prison.
Are antineoplastons effective? Ask the FDA. Apparently, the FDA believes the answer is "Yes," because it fought tenaciously to keep the question of the effectiveness of antineoplastons out of the trial. Dr. Burzynski tried to make it a part of the trial. Apparently, both the FDA and Dr. Burzynski believed he could prove the drug works. The FDA also fought to keep the full truth from the jury by preventing Dr. Burzynski’s patients from testifying, while Burzynski asked the judge to allow the patients to tell their stories.
In the end, Dr. Burzynski was acquitted on all counts. But I ask you in Congress, and particularly my representative, Mr. Waxman, how you can allow the FDA to squander taxpayer money in an idiotic prosecution, the success of which would mean the deaths of hundreds of cancer patients? The FDA was unable to find even a single patient to testify against Dr. Burzynski!
Peter Barton Hutt, a former FDA Chief Counsel, has said "If you beat the FDA in court, you have an angry FDA that is willing to slit your throat." Indeed, although the FDA lost the courtroom battle against Dr. Burzynski, it continues to wage war against him and his patients. The agency interferes in his practice by telling him whom he can and cannot treat. With many types of cancer, the FDA requires patients to have failed not one but two rounds of chemotherapy before they can be treated with antineoplastons. In many cases the chemo has so ravaged their immune systems that they literally have nothing left to fight with, and they die.
The FDA forbids the use of steroids in the treatment of Dr. Burzynski’s lymphoma patients, even when they are needed to temporarily shrink tumors and relieve pain, as in my own case. Because I was on treatment prior to the FDA taking over his practice of medicine, Dr. Burzynski was able to inject me with Medrol to relieve the pain and tightness in my neck caused by the tumor. Now, however, the FDA is not concerned with patient comfort, rather, their twisted logic dictates that good data collection outweighs humane medical treatment.
The FDA demands that Dr. Burzynski’s patients with lymphoma stop treatment if they have not achieved 50% tumor reduction within 6 months. The absurdity of this typically arbitrary FDA requirement became clear when one Burzynski patient--Frances Langham--was to be forced off treatment because she had only a 44% reduction after 6 months! She is lucky to be from Arkansas and politically connected. She received a "special dispensation," allowing her to continue treatment. But the FDA removed her from the clinical trial, meaning that even if cured in the future, the FDA will count her as a "treatment failure" in determining how effective antineoplastons are! These treatment "restrictions" are only applied to Dr. Burzynski’s clinical trials, whereas lymphoma patients involved in Idec Pharmaceutical’s C2B8 and Elan Pharmaceutical's phenylacetate trials, do not have to meet these same treatment criteria. Is it possible that FDA has a bias against Dr. Burzynski and his patients have to suffer as a result?
Who gave the FDA the right to play God? Was it the intent of Congress to give the FDA the kind of power it exercises over life and death decisions with no accountability? By denying terminally ill patients with cancer access to antineoplastons, this agency literally decides "who shall live and who shall die."
I have had to watch as children and adults suffer and die as a result of FDA intransigence. Patients plead to be allowed into antineoplaston clinical trials; however, the FDA says "No. You don’t qualify." Shouldn’t it be the doctor, in concert with the patient, making these important medical treatment decisions, rather than an FDA official who does not even know the case? Clearly, the FDA is denying these patients their freedom of medical choice. Because conventional FDA-approved remedies have failed to work for the majority of Dr. Burzynski’s patients, often their only choice is antineoplastons or death!
It has been 26 years since President Nixon declared the War on Cancer. Public expenditures now exceed $30 billion, and private research and development funds must total at least 10 times that amount, yet the death rate continues its relentless climb. It is time for a new approach to treating cancer. The only way this will become a reality is by allowing patients with cancer expanded access to new, experimental, and innovative treatments. Until we have a cure, all treatments, conventional and alternative, are experimental!
Dr. Nicolas Patronas, Chief of Neuroradiology at the National Cancer Institute, testified under oath that antineoplastons are the most effective treatment for brain tumors he has ever seen. Top oncologists have lauded Dr. Burzynski’s work, including those at the University of Washington and Georgetown University. Doctors and scientists around the world eagerly await the approval of antineoplastons. [In 1991,] Dr. Michael Friedman, [past] commissioner of the FDA, wrote that "Antineoplastons deserve a closer look…the human brain tumor responses are real." So why is the FDA so determined to impede the progress of a drug with such promising results?
Congressmen, we implore you to restore the right to choose our own health care. You have the power to give us back our freedom. Mr. Waxman, as your constituent I know you staunchly support both the FDA and a woman’s right to an abortion. But can you really condone a government policy which grants a mother the right to choose death for her fetus, while denying a dying cancer patient one last hope for life?
In his March 29, 1996, press conference, President Clinton announced new initiatives to expedite the approval process for innovative new cancer drugs like antineoplastons. Since then, the FDA has bluntly stated that the President’s initiative has changed nothing. It is time for congressional oversight to ensure that this mandate is carried out. Patients with terminal illnesses deserve the chance to win their personal War on Cancer, and it is up to Congress to ensure they have the weaponry with which to fight.
Submitted by Mary Jo Siegel to the Burzynski Patient Group website.