Dr Karol Sikora (born 1948) is a controversial and outspoken British physician specialising in oncology. He is currently Medical Director of CancerPartnersUK, Director of Medical Oncology at the Bahamas Cancer Centre, a partner in and dean of the University of Buckingham's medical school.
Karol Sikora was born in 1948. His father was a Captain in the Polish Army who arrived in Great Britain during World War II. He was brought up in Edinburgh, Stafford and London. He had a London County Council scholarship to Dulwich College before going to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge where he became a Foundation Scholar and obtained a double first. He received his PhD at Stanford University where he also served a clinical fellowship.
After leaving Stanford, Dr. Sikora returned to Cambridge to direct the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. From 1985-1997, he served as the clinical director for cancer services at Hammersmith Hospital in London, where he established a cancer research laboratory and still serves as an honorary consultant oncologist. In 1997, he accepted a position as the Chief of the Cancer Program of the World Health Organization, which he held for two years. He served as the Vice President of Global Clinical Research in Oncology at the Pharmacia Corporation from 1999 to 2002. He has also been a member of the UK Health Department’s Expert Advisory Group on Cancer, as well as the Committee on the Safety of Medicines.
He is currently Medical Director of CancerPartnersUK and dean of the University of Buckingham's medical school; the only private medical school in the UK. He is an unpaid member of the Meat Advisory Panel, an industry-backed group of researchers, scientists and health care professionals that provide information and advice about meat as part of a balanced diet. He is a member of the Oncology Scientific Advisory Board at biopharmaceutical company Cyclacel Limited, and serves as an oncology consultant for AstraZeneca. Dr. Sikora will also serve as the Interim Director of Radiation Oncology for the newly constructed Cancer Centre Eastern Caribbean in Antigua, filling in after the original director, Dr. Arthur Porter, was diagnosed with cancer.
Sikora has co-authored or edited twenty books, including Treatment of Cancer and the Economics of Cancer Care. Sikora is known for his outspoken views, and has written for the Times, the Observer, the Daily Mail, the New Statesman, and other publications.
Criticism of National Health Service
Sikora is very critical of cancer care available on the National Health Service. During President Obama's campaign for healthcare reform, he appeared in a Republican Party attack ad in the United States criticizing the NHS. Sikora told The Guardian that he did not know he would be used in the ad campaign, and that he agreed with Obama about the American health care system.
Promotion of Alternative Medicine
Sikora and the School of medicine at Buckingham have in the past been supportive of alternative medicine. Buckingham for a short time offered a diploma in "integrated medicine" (a relatively recent euphemism for alternative medicine). Sikora was a Foundation Fellow of Prince Charles' now-defunct alternative medicine lobby group The Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health and Chair of the Faculty of Integrated Medicine, which is unaffiliated with any university and also includes Drs Rosy Daniel and Mark Atkinson, who led Buckingham's "integrated medicine" course. Sikora is also a "professional member" of the "The College of Medicine", a patient-oriented healthcare lobby group also linked to the Prince of Wales that appeared shortly after the collapse of the Prince's Foundation. The College has been criticised extensively in the British Medical Journal for its promotion of alternative medicine. These claims have been contested by the College. He is on the advisory panel of complementary cancer care charity Penny Brohn Cancer Care, formerly the Bristol Cancer Help Centre of whom the Prince of Wales is patron, and is a patron of the Ian Rennie Hospice at Home. Statements by Sikora have been critical of unproven methods of alternative medicine, after Parliament member Lord Maurice Saatchi proposed a bill allowing doctors to use unproven experimental therapies, and when he spoke out against claims that an alkaline diet can cure cancer.
Release of Lockerbie bomber
In September 2009, the convicted Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was released from a Scottish prison on compassionate grounds. It was common knowledge that Sikora was one of three different doctors hired by the Libyan government to report to them about Megrahi's condition. Sikora's report concluded that Megrahi had only 3 months to live due to terminal prostate cancer. Sikora's medical diagnosis was not used by the Scottish Justice Minister and his diagnosis agreed with the medical evidence that was used. Once released, Megrahi returned to Libya and though he outlived the 3-month prognosis Megrahi subsequently died from his illness.
- Interferon and cancer, 1983
- Clinical Physiology (with Campbell, Dickinson, Slater and Edwards), 1984
- Endocrine Problems in Cancer (with Roland T. Jung), 1984
- Monoclonal Antibodies (with Howard Smedley), 1984
- Molecular Biology and Human Disease (with Sandy McCleod), 1984
- Cancer – what it is and how it’s treated (with Rob Stepney and Howard Smedley), 1985
- Cancer – a study guide (with Howard Smedley), 1985
- Cancer (with Howard Smedley), 1988
- The Molecular Biology of Cancer (with Jonathan Waxman), 1989
- Fight Cancer (with Hilary Thomas), 1989
- Treatment of Cancer (with Keith Halnan and Pat Price), 1990, 1995, 2002, 2008
- Genes and Cancer (editor), 1990
- The cancer cell (with Gerard Evan and James Watson), 1991
- Human genetic therapy (with Jonathan Harris), 1994
- Cancer: a positive approach (with Hilary Thomas), 1995
- Handbook of oncology (with Victor Barley and Jeff Tobias, 1998, 2004
- The Realities of Rationing (with John Spiers et al.), 1999
- The cancer survival kit (with Rosy Daniel), 2004
- Cancer 2025: The future of cancer care (editor), 2005
- Economics of Cancer Care (with Nick Bosanquet), 2006
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- "Professor Kenneth Harrap, Professor Stanley Kaye, Professor Michel Marty, Professor Enrico Mihich, Professor Karol Sikora | Cyclacel Scientific Advisory Board". Cyclacel.com. 2011-07-29. Retrieved 2013-03-13.
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- Sikora, Karol (4 April 2006). "Stop, think, rebuild; a prescription for the NHS". London: The Times. Retrieved 27 November 2008.
- Sikora, Karol (1 October 2006). "It's time to take the politics out of cancer". London: The Observer. Retrieved 27 November 2008.
- Sikora, Karol (18 December 2007). "Why shouldn't cancer sufferer pay to prolong her life?". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 27 November 2008.
- Sikora, Karol (15 January 2007). "NHS: Can this patient survive?". New Statesman. Retrieved 27 November 2008.
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- FIH Foundation Fellows
- Sikora's profile is on the College of Medicine website.
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- Edzard Ernst (12 July 2011). "College of Medicine or College of Quackery?". British Medical Journal 343: d4370. doi:10.1136/bmj.d4370. PMID 21750062.
- Nigel Hawkes (2010). "Prince’s foundation metamorphoses into new College of Medicine" 341. British Medical Journal. p. 6126. doi:10.1136/bmj.c6126.
- George T Lewith, Graeme Catto, Michael Dixon, Christine Glover, Aidan Halligan, Ian Kennedy, Christopher Manning, David Peters (12 July 2011). "College of Medicine replies to its critics". British Medical Journal 343: d4364. doi:10.1136/bmj.d4364. PMID 21750060.
- Vice Presidents and Senior Team Penny Brohn Cancer Care
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