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Courtesy of Mary Laredo and:

The Laetrile Saga, Parts I & II: Cancer Treatment and Prevention

Friday, May 30, 2008 by: Mary Laredo, citizen journalist

Part I

(NaturalNews) Laetrile, also known as amygdaline or vitamin B17, is found in the food supply and occurs naturally in at least 1200 different plants, including apricots, peaches, apple seeds, lentils, cashews, brown rice, millet, and alfalfa. Commercial preparations of laetrile are obtained from the kernels of apricots, peaches and bitter almonds. In fact, its active ingredient –- amygdaline –- comes from the Greek word for almond: amygdale.

For many centuries laetrile has been used to treat cancer and other diseases. In his book, The Cancer Industry, Ralph Moss, PhD cites its medicinal use throughout history:

"Laetrile's use in medicine dates from the time of the great herbal of China, credited to the legendary culture hero Emperor Shen Nung (1st-2nd century A.D.), which is said to list kernel preparations useful against
tumors. Ancient Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Arabic physicians were all familiar with the biologic properties of bitter almond water... Pliny the Elder, Marcellus Empiricus, and Avicenna all used preparations containing laetrile to treat tumors. The same is true of the medieval pharmacopoeia." 1

Laetrile's endurance to this day as a cancer therapy and preventative is notable, especially considering the cancer industry's great effort to discredit its value. The controversy will be covered in part two of this report.

Laetrile, when spelled with a capital "L", refers to a concentrated extract of amygdaline derived specifically from apricot pits, as developed by Dr. Ernst Krebs Jr., who pioneered its modern use in cancer therapy in the late 1940s and coined its name. Since that time other commercial forms of amygdaline have been developed –- collectively known as laetrile, with a small "l". The various forms of amygdaline are all derived from plant sources containing natural substances that release hydrogen cyanide when certain bodily conditions are met.

The body requires an enzyme called beta-glucosidase in order to process laetrile and release the cyanide. Studies have shown that
cancer cells contain more of this enzyme than normal cells, which allows for a higher release of cyanide at tumor sites.

Another enzyme known as rhodanese is important in this process. Normal healthy cells contain rhodanese which protects them from the activated cyanide. Most cancer cells are deficient in this enzyme, leaving them vulnerable to the poison. Tumor destruction begins once the cyanide is released within the malignancies, meaning laetrile therapy is selectively toxic to cancer cells while remaining non-toxic to normal cells.

Benzaldehyde –- a known painkiller –- is also released during the breakdown of laetrile, and may account for the analgesic benefits reported from its use. Some scientists believe that this substance is also an anticancer agent.

Countless case studies, as well as this author's own use for nearly two years, have shown laetrile to be non-toxic and effective in controlling cancer; however, proponents of the substance do not consider it to be a stand-alone treatment. Laetrile is but one component of a comprehensive holistic protocol that includes enzymes, nutritional therapy with little or no animal protein, and cleansing of bodily toxins.


Early doses used in research were tentative and cautious, often as low as fifty to one hundred milligrams per dosage. By 1974 however, daily intravenous doses of six to nine grams became the standard treatment. Improvement was generally seen with an accumulation of fifty to seventy grams over a seven to ten day period.

Patients seeking treatments have had to
travel to Mexico or Germany since the FDA banned the sale and use of laetrile in 1971, for reasons that will become clear in the second part of this report. This author traveled to the Oasis of Hope Hospital in Tijuana, Mexico for alternative cancer treatments that included nine grams of intravenous laetrile for eighteen straight days. Follow-up home treatment included daily oral doses of two grams and an intramuscular injection of three grams, administered three times per week. Sustaining this protocol required multiple trips to Mexico at six-month intervals since the U.S. will only allow an individual to bring a six-month supply of treatments with a written prescription.

This regimen became increasingly disruptive and ultimately cost-prohibitive; however, it was an important component of my holistic protocol for more than eighteen months, during which time the cancer gradually receded. I continue to derive the benefits of laetrile from raw whole
food sources, including an abundance of fruits, seeds, and sprouted grains. It's important to note that cooking does not destroy the amygdaline.

Sources of Laetrile

In addition to whole
foods, laetrile can be obtained through oral supplements found from many online sources. These supplements include dosage recommendations. Apricot kernels are available at most health food stores, although it's difficult to ingest these bitter seeds. To make them palatable they may be ground and added to other foods as a seasoning. For a comprehensive list of foods containing amygdaline and clinics where intravenous treatments may be available visit ( .

Part II

(NaturalNews) Part I of this report focused on the history and medicinal value of laetrile; however, the full story reveals more than its historical and therapeutic use. It also discloses longstanding fraud and suppression of health freedom by members of the medical establishment and the cancer industry.

In the book World Without Cancer, G. Edward Griffin reveals corruption in the field of drug research, and the FDA's refusal to allow testing on humans based on early studies that were all flawed by
deception. There were many spurious factors contributing to these reports, including inadequate dosages, poor quality of amygdaline, and adherence to the concept that tumor reduction is the absolute measure of efficacy.

Laetrile practitioners have always maintained that tumor reduction is not a valuable measure of its effectiveness since malignant
tumors contain both cancerous and benign cells. Laetrile will only act on malignant cells, leaving the residual tumor intact. Despite this knowledge, several fraudulent animal tests –- conducted as early as 1953 –- focused on tumor size reduction and completely ignored testing for life extension. All beneficial findings and positive responses were suppressed by the FDA and the National Cancer Institute.

These early skewed reports were the basis of the FDA's refusal to permit testing on humans. Testing was also denied due to the potential toxicity of the substance, even though ample data and case histories were provided attesting to the safety of
laetrile. This pretext represents an absurd double standard as all FDA-approved cancer drugs and therapies were and still are categorically poisonous. Nonetheless, the FDA declared that laetrile could not be tested or sold in the United States, forcing practitioners who were caring for cancer patients to disrupt or cease treatments while closing or moving their practices to Mexico.

Despite its prohibition and the controversy surrounding its use, by 1974 there were more than twenty-six published papers written by several renowned physicians, as well as innumerable private clinical records, attesting to the safety and effectiveness of laetrile in the treatment of cancer. Proponents of orthodox
medicine quickly and vigorously labeled these well-respected physicians as quacks.2

The Sloan Kettering Cover-Up

In the mid 1970's, a five-year study of laetrile was conducted at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) directed by Dr. Kanematsu Sugiura, a highly respected researcher with more than sixty years of experience. It seems the hospital believed these studies would prove laetrile ineffective and put the issue to rest.

On the contrary, the findings revealed that laetrile stopped metastasis in mice; improved their general health; inhibited growth of small tumors; provided
pain relief and was useful as a cancer preventative. Despite these positive results, spokesmen for the institution denied evidence of laetrile's benefits and instead published a one-sided report.

Many other researchers duplicated Sugiura's experiments and had the same conclusions which caused an uproar among the board of directors –- virtually all of whom had ties to major pharmaceutical companies. Even though these reports are in the public record, Sloan Kettering went to great lengths to convince the public of laetrile's impotence as a cancer drug.

In 1977, numerous MSKCC employees with knowledge of the test findings and the ensuing deception formed a group called Second Opinion to write a counter report to the official laetrile papers.
3 Ralph Moss –- author and former assistant director of public affairs at MSKCC –- aligned himself with Second Opinion and was fired for exposing the cover-up of the positive studies.2, 3

The debate continued and finally in 1980 the National Cancer Institute agreed to test laetrile on 178 advanced cancer patients. These tests were conducted at four major U.S. medical centers, including the Mayo Clinic and Sloan Kettering. Public Scrutiny, a medical freedom of choice publication, maintained that these biased trials were designed to fail when it was discovered that 66% of participants were already ravaged from chemotherapy treatments and that the laetrile used was of poor quality, with little or no amygdaline found.3, 4

Alleged Toxicity

The FDA took great measures to paint laetrile in the worst light possible, even though countless studies over the past several decades have shown it to be completely safe when used correctly. Their campaign of misinformation included "Laetrile Warning" posters in 10,000 post offices and bulletins to the medical community.
2 Consequently, even today laetrile is considered by the mainstream to be a toxic, ineffective cancer drug.

The intentions of the FDA and other laetrile opponents –- who paradoxically endorse the most vile conventional cancer treatments –- are blatantly transparent. Orthodox medicine considers cancer a localized
disease, with tumor reduction often taking precedence over the patient's general well-being. The very nature of alternative therapies represents a conceptual and economic challenge to the existing paradigm.

There are more people making a living from cancer than there are dying from it (as Griffin points out), and the widespread use of laetrile, or any other effective natural therapy, would present a dilemma for the powerful cancer industry. It's simply not in their best interest to endorse or support any natural, affordable, competitive means of controlling and preventing the disease.

Countless innovative treatments have been opposed and suppressed by the medical establishment yet few cancer debates rival the complexity and indignity of the decades-long laetrile controversy. Remarkably, a grassroots movement of patients demanding medical freedom of choice grew out of the laetrile debate. Its prohibition by the FDA diminished but failed to extinguish its demand, and the truth about laetrile continues to reach segments of the population who assert their right to
health freedom by seeking and obtaining treatment while challenging the status quo.


  1. Moss, Ph.D., Ralph W.: The Cancer Industry. State College, PA: Equinox Press, 1999, pg. 132; pp. 140-1.

  2. Griffin, G. Edward: World Without Cancer. Westlake Village, CA: American Media, 16th printing, 2001, pg. 105; pp. 49-50.

  3. Moss, Ph.D., Ralph W.: The Cancer Industry. State College, PA: Equinox Press, 1999, pp. 181-3; pp. 150-1.

  4. Pelton, Ph.D., Ross and Overholser, Ph.D., Lee: Alternatives in Cancer Therapy. NY, NY: Fireside, 1994, pg. 159.



Permission pending. See:

Renown Scientific Experts on the Study of Laetrile

Dr. Ernest T. Krebs, Jr.

Krebs was a biochemist and the researcher who isolated Laetrile in apricot seeds and also discovered B-15 (pangamic acid), a vitamin which has been proven to be an important adjunctive therapy in the treatment of illnesses related to circulation. He spent three years in the study of anatomy and medicine at Hahnemann Medical College and then changed his direction and became a doctor of biochemistry. He did undergraduate work at the University of Illinois between 1938-41. He did graduate work at the University of Mississippi and also at the University of California.

By 1950, he had isolated the nutritional factor in crystalline form and named it Laetrile. He tested it on animals to make sure that it was not toxic. He then had to prove that it was not toxic to humans. There was only one thing to do. He rolled up his sleeve and injected Laetrile into his own arm. As he predicted, there were no harmful or distressing side effects.

I find it interesting to note that Dr. Krebs was more than willing to test his theory about Laetrile on himself while and their personnel take great precautions to be sure they themselves are not exposed to the drugs they administer to their cancer victims…I mean patients. Dr. Krebs authored many scientific papers in his lifetime. He was the recipient of numerous honors and doctorates both at home and abroad. He was the science director of the John Beard Memorial Foundation before his death in 1996.

Dr. Dean Burk

Former Director of the Cytochemistry Section of the federal government's National Cancer Institute (NCI) reported that, in a series of tests on animal tissue, the (Laetrile) vitamin B-17 had no harmful effect on normal cells, but was deadly to a cancer cell. In another series of tests, Dr. Burk reported that Laetrile was responsible for prolonging the life of cancerous rats eighty percent longer than those in the control group that were not inoculated.

Dr. Burk was one of the foremost cancer specialists in the world. He was the recipient of the Gerhard Domagk Award for Cancer Research, the Hillebrand Award of the American Chemical Society, and the Commander Knighthood of the Medical Order of Bethlehem (Rome) founded in 1459 by Pope Pius XI. He held a Ph.D. in biochemistry earned at the University of California. He was a Fellow of the National Research Council at the University of London, of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Biology, and also Harvard. He was senior chemist at the National Cancer Institute, which he helped establish, and in 1946 became Director of the Cytochemistry Section. He belonged to eleven scientific organizations, wrote three books relating to chemotherapy research in cancer, and was author or co-author of more than two hundred scientific papers in the field of cell chemistry. He is a biochemist.

Dr. Kanematsu Sugiura

For five years, between 1972 and 1977, Laetrile was meticulously tested at Sloan-Kettering under the direction of Dr. Kanematsu Sugiura.

Dr. Sugiurawas the senior laboratory researcher at Sloan-Kettering with over 60 years experience. He had earned the highest respect for his knowledge and integrity. He was the perfect person to conduct experiments since his quest for truth blocked out anything else.

Dr. C. Chester Stock, the man in charge of Sloan-Kettering's laboratory-testing division wrote this about Dr. Sigiura, "Few, if any, names in cancer research are as widely known as Kanematsu Sugiura's…Possibly the high regard in which his work is held is best characterized by a comment made to me by a visiting investigator in cancer research from Russia." "He said, ‘When Dr. Sugiura publishes, we know we don't have to repeat the study, for we would obtain the same results he has reported.'" (Ralph Moss, The Cancer Syndrome, New York: Grove Press, 1980 pg. 258)

The official report about Laetrile from Dr. Sigiura reads:

"The results clearly show that Amygdalin significantly inhibits the appearance of lung metastasis in mice bearing spontaneous mammary tumors and increases significantly the inhibition of the growth of the primary tumors… Laetrile also seemed to prevent slightly the appearance of new tumors… The improvement of health and appearance of the treated animals in comparison to controls is always a common observation… Dr. Sugiura has never observed complete regression of these tumors in all his cosmic experience with other chemotherapeautic agents." (A Summary of the Effect of Amygdalin Upon Spontaneous Mammary Tumors in Mice, Sloan-Kettering report, June 13, 1973.)

Dr. Sugiura's report was cause for great alarm at Sloan-Kettering. Remember, cancer is an industry bringing in over a billion dollars a year. This report would cause the house of cards to collapse. As would be expected then many more experiments were conducted by others who were not as honest as Dr. Sugiura.

At a press conference, Dr. Sugiura was asked suddenly by a reporter if he stuck to his report. Dr. Sugiura clearly and boldly stated, "I stick," even though Sloan-Kettering was trying to discredit everything that he did. To read about the many times that Sloan-Kettering tried to discredit their finest researcher, get the book "World Without Cancer" by G. Edward Griffin.

Now, even though we have proof from the laboratories, let us look at what is being discovered in prominent physicians' studies:

(The following is taken from the book "World Without Cancer" by G. Edward Griffin, published by American Media, Westlake Village, CA. As early as 1974, there was at least twenty-six published papers written by well-known physicians who had used Laetrile in the treatment of their own patients and who have concluded that Laetrile is both safe and effective in the treatment of cancer.)

Dr. Hans Nieper

Of West Germany, former Director of the Department of Medicine at the Silbersee Hospital in Hanover is a pioneer in the medical use of cobalt and is credited with developing the anti-cancer drug, cyclophosphamide. He is the originator of the concept of "electrolyte carriers" in the prevention of cardiac necrosis.

He was formerly the head of the Aschaffenburg Hospital Laboratory for chemical circulatory research. He is listed in "Who's Who" in World Science and has been the Director of the German Society for Medical Tumor Treatment. He is one of the world's most famous and respected cancer specialists. During a visit to the U.S. in 1972, Dr. Nieper told news reporters, "After more than twenty years of such specialized work, I have found the nontoxic nitrilosides-that is Laetrile-far superior to any other known cancer treatment or preventative. In my opinion, it is the only existing possibility for the ultimate control of cancer."

N.R. Bouziane, M.D.

From Canada is former Director of Research Laboratories at St. Jeanne d'Arc Hospital in Montreal and a member of the hospital's tumor board in charge of chemotherapy. He graduated magna cum laude in medicine from the University of Montreal. He also received a doctorate in science from the University of Montreal and St. Joseph's University, an affiliate of Oxford University in New Brunswick. He was a Fellow in chemistry and a Fellow in hematology and certified in clinical bacteriology, hematology, and biochemistry from the college. He also was Dean of the American Association of Bioanalysts.

After the first series of tests with Laetrile shortly after it was introduced, Dr. Bouziane reported:

"We always have a diagnosis based on histology [microscopic analysis of the tissue]. We have never undertaken a case without histological proof of cancer…

In our investigation, some terminal cases were so hopeless that they did not even receive what we consider the basic dose of thirty grams. Most cases, however, became ambulatory and some have in this short time resumed their normal activities on a maintenance dose." (Cancer News Journal, Jan./Apr. 1971, pg. 20)

Manuel Navarro, M.D.

Of the Philippines is former Professor of Medicine and Surgery at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila; an Associate Member of the National Research Council of the Philippines; a Fellow of the Philippine College of Physicians, the Philippine Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism; and a member of the Philippine Medical Association, the Philippine Cancer Society, and many other medical groups. He has been recognized internationally as a cancer researcher and has over one hundred major scientific papers to his credit, some of which have been read before the International Cancer Congress.

In 1971 Dr. Navarro wrote:

I have specialized in oncology [the study of tumors] for the past eighteen years. For the same number of years I have been using Laetrile–amygdalin in the treatment of my cancer patients. During this eighteen year period I have treated a total of over five hundred patients with Laetrile & amygdalin by various routes of administration, including the oral and the I.V. The majority of my patients receiving Laetrile–amygdalin have been in a terminal state when treatment with this material commenced. It is my carefully considered clinical judgment, as a practicing oncologist and researcher in this field, that I have obtained most significant and encouraging results with the use of Laetrile & amygdalin in the treatment of terminal cancer patients, and that these results are comparable or superior to the results I have obtained with the use of the more toxic standard cytotoxic agents. (Letter from Dr. Navarro to Mr. Andrew McNaughton, The McNaughton Foundation, dated January 8, 1971, published in the Cancer News Journal, Jan./April, 1971, pp. 19 — 20.)

Ernesto Contreras, M.D.

Of Mexico has for over three decades operated the Good Samaritan Cancer Clinic (now called the Oasis Hospital) in Tijuana. He is one of Mexico's most distinguished medical figures. He received postgraduate training at Harvard's Children's Hospital in Boston. He has served as Professor of Histology and Pathology at the Mexican Army Medical School and as the chief pathologist at the Army Hospital in Mexico City. Dr. Contreras was introduced to Laetrile in 1963 by a terminal cancer patient from the United States who brought it to his attention and urged him to treat her with it. The woman recovered, and Dr. Contreras began extensive investigation of its properties and use. Since that time he has treated many thousands of cancer patients, most of whom are American citizens who have been denied the freedom to use Laetrile in their own country.

Dr. Contreras has summarized his experiences with vitamin B17 therapy as follows:

The palliative action [improving the comfort and well-being of the patient] is in about 60% of the cases. Frequently, enough to be significant, I see arrest of the disease or even regression in some of the very advanced cases. (Cancer News Journal, Jan./April, 1971, pp. 20. We must bear in mind that these are terminal patients–people who have been given up as hopeless by orthodox medicine. Fifteen percent recovery in that group is a most impressive accomplishment.)

Shigeaki Sakai is a prominent physician in Tokyo, Japan.

In a paper published in the October 1963 Asian Medical journal, Dr. Sakai reported:

"Administered to cancer patients, Laetrile has proven to be quite free from any harmful side effects, and I would say that no anti-cancer drug could make a cancerous patient improve faster than Laetrile. It goes without saying that Laetrile controls cancer and is quite effective wherever it is located."

Professor Etore Guidetti, M.D.

Formerly with the University of Turin Medical School in Italy. Dr. Guidetti spoke before the Conference of the International Union Against Cancer held in Brazil in 1954. He revealed how his use of Laetrile in terminal cancer patients had caused the destruction of a wide variety of tumors including those of the:

  • Uterus

  • Cervix

  • Rectum

  • Breast

"In some cases," he said, "one has been able to observe a group of fulminating and cauliflower-like neoplastic masses resolved very rapidly." He reported that, after giving Laetrile to patients with lung cancer, he had been "able to observe, with the aid of radiography, a regression of the neoplasm or the metastases."

After Guidetti's presentation, an American doctor rose in the audience and announced that Laetrile had been investigated in the United States and found to be worthless. Dr. Guidetti replied, "I do not care what was determined in the United States. I am merely reporting what I saw in my own clinic." (Cancer News Journal, Jan./April 1971, p. 19)

Joseph H. Maisin, Sr., M.D.

Formerly with the University of Louvain in Belgium where he was Director of the Institute of Cancer. He also was President Emeritus of the International League Against Cancer which conducts the International Cancer Congress every four years.

And in the United States there are such respected names as:

  • Dr. Dean Burkof the National Cancer Institute.

  • Dr. John A. Morrone of the Jersey City Medical Center.

  • Dr. Ernst T. Krebs, Jr., who developed Laetrile.

  • Dr. John A. Richardson, the courageous San Francisco physician who challenged the government's right to prevent Laetrile from being used in the

United States.

  • Patricia Griffin, R.N., Laetrile Case Histories; The Richardson Cancer Clinic Experience published by Westlake Village, CA; American Media, 1977.

  • Dr. Philip E. Binzel, Jr., a physician in Washington Court House, Ohio, who has used Laetrile for over twenty years with outstanding success (Philip E.

Binzel, M.D., Alive and Well: One Doctor's Experience with Nutrition in the Treatment of Cancer Patients, published by American Media, Westlake

Village, CA, 1994) and many others from over twenty countries with equally impeccable credentials.

In my opinion, these results are more credible than something that can be worked up in a laboratory. The proof of whether Laetrile works or not is undisputed by eyewitness accounts from these highly respected physicians who have had many years of seeing people recover from their cancer by using Laetrile therapy.

Remember, laboratory experiments can be manipulated to produce any result that the researcher is looking for. Unscrupulous men have used these reports for their own gain and benefit, not for the cancer patient's.

Laetrile is a vitamin that cannot be patented. It is not worthy to be used in cancer treatment since it is not making the conglomerate pharmaceutical companies, research centers, etc., any money. To them, the only solution is drugs, even though they know without any doubt that these drugs do not work.

To prove it, let's take a look at what surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy really do to the cancer patient.

Surgery is the least harmful of the three:

Surgery can be life-saving if there are intestinal blockages that must be relieved to prevent death of secondary complications. There is also the psychological advantage of visually removing the tumor and offering the temporary comfort of hope. However, the degree to which surgery is useful is the same degree to which the tumor is not malignant. The greater the proportion of cancer cells in the tumor, the less likely that surgery will help. The most malignant tumors are generally considered inoperable. It should also be considered what cutting into the tumor does, even for a biopsy.

First, there is trauma to the area. This triggers the healing process, which in turn, brings more trophoblast cells (the start of cancer) into being as a by-product of that process. (See chapter IV of the book "World Without Cancer" by G. Edward Griffin for more information on the trophoblast thesis of cancer.)

The second thing is that if not all the malignant tissue is removed, what remains may become encased in scar tissue from the surgery. Consequently, the cancer tends to become insulated from the action of the pancreatic enzymes which are essential for exposing trophoblast cells to the surveillant action of the white blood cells.

There is also no solid evidence that patients who submit to surgery have any greater life expectancy, on the average, than those who do not.

For more information regarding the many studies that have been done regarding surgery, see the book "World Without Cancer" by G. Edward Griffin."

Other Links of Interest

For a recent update on the entire subject, see: [HERE] 

For a recent 2009 review of previous underestimations of Laetrile's effectiveness, see: [HERE]

For a complete explaination of nitrilosides/amygdalin/Laetrile/B-17 by Dr. Kreb's himself, see: [HERE]