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What is antineoplaston therapy?

This page tells you about an alternative therapy called antineoplaston therapy. There is information about

 

What antineoplastons are

Antineoplaston therapy is an alternative therapy. Antineoplastons are chemical compounds found normally in blood and urine. They are made up of amino acids and peptides.

 

What we know about antineoplastons

Some people promote antineoplaston therapy as a cancer treatment. But available scientific evidence does not support claims that antineoplaston therapy is effective in treating or preventing cancer. Antineoplaston therapy was developed by Dr. S. R. Burzynski in the 1970’s. He believes that antineoplastons are part of the body’s natural defence mechanisms against cancer and that people with cancer don’t have enough of them. At first, he took these compounds out of urine and blood. Now, it is possible to make them in the laboratory. There are several types of antineoplastons. They are known by the letter ‘A’ and a number.for example, A10, AS-25 and AS2-1.

You take antineoplastons as a tablet or have them as an injection into the bloodstream.

There have been a number of phase 1 and 2 trials in different types of cancer. These early phase trials test what dose of treatment people should have, how safe the treatment is, and how well it works. Early trials only give the treatment to small numbers of people. Although Dr Burzynski’s own clinic have reported positive results for these trials, no other researchers have been able to show that this type of treatment helps to treat cancer. Other researchers have criticised the way the Burzynski Clinic trials have been carried out. Despite researching this type of treatment for over 35 years, no phase 3 trials have been carried out or reported. A randomised clinical trial is the only way to properly test whether any new drug or therapy works.

The American Cancer Society says that a year’s course of treatment at the Burzynski Clinic costs between 30 and 60 thousand dollars.

 

Side effects

In trials antineoplastons have been found to cause some side effects including

  • Low numbers of red blood cells (anaemia)
  • Wind
  • Tiredness
  • Headaches
  • Feeling and being sick
  • Feeling sleepy
  • Skin rashes
  • A high temperature (fever)
  • Fits (seizures)

Trials are ongoing in America at Dr. S. R. Burzynski’s clinic. Other cancer centres are carrying out some laboratory research. But it will be some time before we know whether antineoplaston treatment works as a cancer treatment, what effects it has on the body, and how it interacts with other medicines.

 

More information about alternative and complementary therapies

It is important to talk to your cancer specialist before taking any alternative cancer treatment, especially if you are having other treatments for your cancer.

There is general information about alternative therapies in our complementary therapy section. The National Cancer Institute website in the USA has very detailed information about antineoplaston therapy and clinical trials.

For more information about antineoplaston therapy, please visit our science blog.

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Updated: 4 February 2013