Karol Sikora

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Dr Karol Sikora (born 17 June 1948)[1][2] is a British physician specialising in oncology. He is currently Medical Director of Proton Partners International, Director of Medical Oncology at the Bahamas Cancer Centre, a partner in and dean of the University of Buckingham's medical school.

Early life[edit]

Karol Sikora was born in 1948. His father was a Captain in the Polish Army who arrived in Great Britain during World War II.[3] 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.[4] He received his PhD at Stanford University where he also served a clinical fellowship.[5]


After leaving Stanford, Dr. Sikora returned to Cambridge to direct the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research.[6][7] From 1985-1997, he served as the clinical director for cancer services at Hammersmith Hospital in London, where he established a cancer research laboratory. In 1997, he accepted a position as the Chief of the Cancer Program of the World Health Organization, which he held for two years.[8] He served as the Vice President of Global Clinical Research in Oncology at the Pharmacia Corporation from 1999 to 2002.[9] 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.[10]

He is currently Medical Director of Proton Partners International and dean of the University of Buckingham's medical school; the only private medical school in the UK.[11] 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.[12][13] He is a member of the Oncology Scientific Advisory Board at biopharmaceutical company Cyclacel Limited, and serves as an oncology consultant for AstraZeneca.[14][15] 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.[16]

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,[11] and has written for the Times,[17] the Observer,[18] the Daily Mail,[19] the New Statesman,[20] and other publications.

Criticism of National Health Service[edit]

Sikora is very critical of cancer care available on the National Health Service.[17] During President Obama's campaign for healthcare reform, he appeared in a Republican Party attack ad in the United States criticizing the NHS.[21] 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.[22]

In the attack ad, Sikora was referred to as professor of oncology at Imperial College. This led Imperial to seek legal advice to stop Sikora from claiming to be a professor of cancer medicine at Imperial; a claim that he had made repeatedly over the previous five years.[23]

On Newsnight in 2017, he described the NHS as "the last bastion of communism".[24]

Promotion of Alternative Medicine[edit]

Sikora and the School of medicine at Buckingham have in the past been supportive of alternative medicine.[25] 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[26] 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.[25] 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.[27] The College has been criticised extensively in the British Medical Journal for its promotion of alternative medicine.[28][29][30][31][32] These claims have been contested by the College.[33] 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.[34][35] 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 he has spoken out against claims that an alkaline diet can cure cancer.[36][37]

Release of Lockerbie bomber[edit]

In September 2009, the convicted Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was released from a Scottish prison on compassionate grounds. The Daily Telegraph revealed that Sikora was one of three different doctors hired by the Libyan government to report to them about Megrahi's condition.[38] Sikora's report concluded that Megrahi had only 3 months to live due to terminal prostate cancer. Sikora has since admitted that the "3 months" timescale was suggested to him by the Libyans. According to the Daily Telegraph, this was not the first time that Sikora had been economical with the truth.[39] Sikora's medical diagnosis was not used by the Scottish Justice Minister since it had been paid for by Libya, but his diagnosis did agree with the medical evidence that was used. Once released, Megrahi returned to Libya and far outlived the 3-month prognosis.[40] In July 2010, in an interview with the Sunday Times, Sikora said that "it was 'embarrassing' that Megrahi has lived much longer than expected." and "There was always a chance he could live for ten years, 20 years . . . But it's very unusual."[41] This quote was then used first by the UK press and then by a group of USA Senators [42] to undermine the Scottish decision to release Megrahi on compassionate grounds, and then to link the release instead with BP contracts in Libya. In reply, the Scottish Government stated categorically that Sikora's medical opinion was not used by the Scottish Justice Minister.[43] Sikora has since complained about the way journalists have reported his views and stated that there was probably a less than 1% chance of Megrahi living 10 years.[44]


  • 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


  1. ^ "Birthdays". The Guardian. 17 June 2014. p. 37. 
  2. ^ "Eminent Old Alleynians: Science & Medicine". Dulwich College. Retrieved 27 November 2008. 
  3. ^ de Quetteville, Harry; Pierce, Andrew (15 August 2008). "Lech Walesa backs US missile deal". The Daily Telegraph. London. 
  4. ^ "Eminent Old Alleynians : Science & Medicine". Old Alleynians Society. Dulwich College. Retrieved 8 July 2011. 
  5. ^ "Clinical Staff | The Cancer Center Bahamas". Cmp-bahamas.com. Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  6. ^ "Karol Sikura: IMDB profile". Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  7. ^ New Scientist - Google Books. 1982-02-04. Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  8. ^ "Karol Sikora - On cancer, private medical schools and Snoopy mugs". Drtribe.com. 2013-01-17. Retrieved 2013-03-13. 
  9. ^ "june11_attendees". Scripintelligence. Retrieved 2013-03-13. 
  10. ^ "Biographies". Sarum Partners. 2007-03-27. Retrieved 2013-03-13. 
  11. ^ a b Cohen, Deborah; Fišter, Kristina (January 2005). "Rejecting Political Correctness". British Medical Journal. 330 (7482): 62. doi:10.1136/bmj.330.7482.62. PMC 543861Freely accessible. PMID 15637368. Retrieved 2008-11-27. 
  12. ^ Fiona Macrae (2013-03-07). "Processed meat 'to blame for 1 in 30 deaths': Scientists say a rasher of cheap bacon a day is harmful | Mail Online". London: Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-03-13. 
  13. ^ "Meat Advisory Panel (MAP) | Meat and Health". Meatandhealth.redmeatinfo.com. Retrieved 2013-03-13. 
  14. ^ "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. 
  15. ^ "CHI's Molecular Med Monthly Articles". Chidb.com. Retrieved 2013-03-13. 
  16. ^ "Antigua and Barbuda Says Cancer Centre Project Back on Track". Caribjournal.com. 2013-03-05. Retrieved 2013-03-13. 
  17. ^ a b Sikora, Karol (4 April 2006). "Stop, think, rebuild; a prescription for the NHS". London: The Times. Retrieved 27 November 2008. 
  18. ^ Sikora, Karol (1 October 2006). "It's time to take the politics out of cancer". London: The Observer. Retrieved 27 November 2008. 
  19. ^ Sikora, Karol (18 December 2007). "Why shouldn't cancer sufferer pay to prolong her life?". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 27 November 2008. 
  20. ^ Sikora, Karol (15 January 2007). "NHS: Can this patient survive?". New Statesman. Retrieved 27 November 2008. 
  21. ^ Chris McGreal (13 May 2009). "US health lobby: reform could make us as bad as the NHS". London: guardian.co.uk. 
  22. ^ Chris McGreal in Washington (2009-05-13). "US healthcare lobby's adverts attack NHS as part of campaign against Barack Obama's proposed reforms | World news". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  23. ^ Sarah Boseley (22 May 2009). "Cancer expert Karol Sikora accused over honorary professorship claim". London: guardian.co.uk. 
  24. ^ "BBC Newsnight, 21 February at 19:44". Facebook. Retrieved 23 February 2017. 
  25. ^ a b David Colquhoun (April 1, 2010). "University of Buckingham does the right thing. The Faculty of Integrated Medicine has been fired.". DC's Improbable Science. 
  26. ^ FIH Foundation Fellows
  27. ^ Sikora's profile is on the College of Medicine website.
  28. ^ Jane Cassidy (15 June 2011). "Lobby Watch: The College of Medicine". British Medical Journal. 343: d3712. doi:10.1136/bmj.d3712. PMID 21677014. 
  29. ^ David Colquhoun (12 July 2011). "The College of Medicine is Prince's Foundation reincarnated". British Medical Journal. 343: d4368. doi:10.1136/bmj.d4368. PMID 21750061. 
  30. ^ James May (12 July 2011). "College of Medicine: What is integrative health?". British Medical Journal. 343: d4372. doi:10.1136/bmj.d4372. PMID 21750063. 
  31. ^ Edzard Ernst (12 July 2011). "College of Medicine or College of Quackery?". British Medical Journal. 343: d4370. doi:10.1136/bmj.d4370. PMID 21750062. 
  32. ^ Nigel Hawkes (2010). "Prince's foundation metamorphoses into new College of Medicine". 341. British Medical Journal. p. 6126. doi:10.1136/bmj.c6126. 
  33. ^ 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. 
  34. ^ Vice Presidents and Senior Team Penny Brohn Cancer Care
  35. ^ "Patrons & Vice Presidents". Irhh.org. Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  36. ^ Maria, By. "Grieving husband pushes bill for unproven remedies". Salon.com. Retrieved 2013-03-13. 
  37. ^ "Marchioness of Worcester: Sorry, but there's no such thing as a diet that cures cancer | Mail Online". London: Dailymail.co.uk. 2013-01-01. Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  38. ^ Alderson, Andrew (5 September 2009). "Revealed: Libya paid for medical advice that helped Lockerbie bomber's release". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 September 2009. 
  39. ^ Professor Karol Sikora: this isn’t the Lockerbie doctor’s first PR disaster by Will Heaven, The Telegraph, September 6th, 2009
  40. ^ Doctor: Released Lockerbie bomber could live much longer CNN.com newsblog, July 5th, 2010
  41. ^ Fury as doctor who said Lockerbie bomber would die in three months admits: He could live for a decade by Jack Doyle, the Mail Online, July 5th, 2010
  42. ^ US senators letter based on 'untrue' Megrahi press reports Newsnet Scotland, July 19th, 2010
  43. ^ Reply to four US Senators re Megrahi by Robin Naysmith, The Scottish Government, July 9th, 2010
  44. ^ Lockerbie doctor speaks out over Megrahi comments Stv, July 15th, 2010

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