The Incredible Story of Laetrile Part III: A Cancer Cure Cover-Up? The Conclusion
By Suresh Nair, PhD
September 18, 2021
Conventional Cancer Treatments Versus Laetrile
At present, conventional cancer treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. Of these, surgery is the least harmful, because in some instances it can be a life-saving stopgap measure. However, most malignant tumors are generally inoperable. And once cancer has metastasized to other areas in the body, surgery has almost no benefit. Also, surgery only removes tumors at specific, known locations, but it does not remove the original cause of the cancer.
Radiation therapy burns tumors away. This approach has all the disadvantages of surgery, plus it actually increases the likelihood that the cancer will return. It is a well-known fact that excessive exposure to radioactivity is actually a very effective method to induce cancer!
Finally, most drugs used in chemotherapy are highly poisonous, not just to cancer cells, but to the rest of the body as well. Additionally, they weaken the immune system, paradoxically making a cancer patient more susceptible to disease. As mentioned earlier, Laetrile has demonstrated that it is selectively toxic to cancer cells without affecting normal, non-cancerous cells. But can Laetrile actually restore a person to health after contracting cancer? According to author and researcher G. Edward Griffin, the answer is yes, if the patient is caught in time before the cancer has advanced too far and if their body hasn’t already been too damaged or poisoned by toxic cancer therapies.
Unfortunately, most cancer patients start taking Laetrile only after their disease has advanced considerably and their case has been given up as hopeless by their conventional physicians. If they die (as many of them do), then they are counted as statistical failures for Laetrile. In reality it is actually a major victory for Laetrile that any of them could be saved at all. Considering this, it is impressive that so many thousands of so-called “terminal” patients have been saved and their lives extended by Laetrile.
So what is the basis for the continued determined opposition of the medical establishment to this simple, natural remedy? Before we examine their reasons, let’s take a look at what the actual scientific and clinical evidence reveals about Laetrile.
Scientific Evidence in Support of Laetrile
At least a dozen studies published in peer-reviewed literature over the past 10 or more years clearly show Laetrile’s effectiveness against cancer cells in culture, including:
The evidence is conclusive. Laetrile can prevent the growth and even invasion of many different types of cancer cells in culture. But what about in actual patients?
Laetrile Case Studies
One source of nitrolosides the Hunza are reported to eat is dried apricot kernels, which are found inside the apricot pit (stone)
The health records of the inhabitants of Hunza, and many other indigenous people around the world, indicate that there is a strong link between regular nitriloside consumption and a low, even zero incidence of cancer. Note: If you recall from Part 1, nitrilosides are compounds found in over 1,200 plant foods. Amygdalin/ B-17/Laetrile are a type of purified nitriloside. However, this is not sufficiently convincing evidence in itself, so let’s consider some case studies of Laetrile therapy:
Case Study 1 – In June 1971, Mr. David Edmonds of California was operated on for colon cancer, which had spread to his bladder. The cancer was so widespread that the operating surgeon said that it would be impossible to remove it all. The blockage was eventually removed by severing the colon and bringing the open end to the outside of his abdomen, a procedure known as a colostomy. Five months later the cancer had returned and Mr. Edmonds was told that he only had a few more months to live, around which time he began Laetrile therapy.
Six months later, Mr. Edmonds felt well enough to resume his normal routine and the cancer in his bladder had completely disappeared. During surgery to re-connect his colon, the doctors could not find any trace of the original cancer. It was the first time in the history of the hospital that a reverse colostomy had been performed. Mr. Edmonds went on to live a near-normal life, full of health and vigor.
Case Study 2 – In 1967, Mrs. Joan Wilkinson had a tumor removed from her lower left leg just below the thigh. Four months later she had a recurrence, requiring another surgery and the removal of muscle and bone. A year later, a lump was detected in her groin. Her cancer had returned and was spreading. Her doctors told her that more surgery would be required, but this time they would have to amputate the leg and the hip, while also removing the bladder and one of the kidneys as well.
At the urging of her sister and a mutual friend, Mrs. Wilkinson decided not to undergo surgery, but to try Laetrile therapy instead. Her doctor informed her that without the surgery she couldn’t possibly live longer than 12 more weeks. Five weeks after starting Laetrile therapy, the lump in her groin had disappeared. She continued to live a healthy and productive life for many years thereafter.
Case Study 3 – In 1972, Dr. Dale Danner, a podiatrist from California, developed a pain in his right leg along with a severe cough. X-rays revealed carcinoma in both lungs and massive secondary tumors in the right leg. The cancer was inoperable and resistant to radiotherapy. The prognosis was “incurable and fatal.”
At his mother’s insistence, Dr. Danner agreed to try Laetrile, but did not start the therapy immediately. Within a few weeks, the pain and coughing had progressed to a point where Dr. Danner was unable to sleep and forced to crawl on his hands and knees. Turning to his supply of Laetrile, he administered a 10-day dose directly into an artery and passed out. When he awoke 36 hours later, not only was he alive but his cough and pain were greatly reduced. His appetite had returned and he felt better than he had in months. Reluctantly admitting that Laetrile was working, Dr. Danner obtained another supply and continued his self-treatment with smaller doses. Three months later, he was back at work.
Case Study 4 – Alicia Buttons, wife of the comedian Red Buttons, was diagnosed with “hopeless” advanced throat cancer. She consulted Dr. Hans Nieper in Hannover, who treated her with Laetrile. She was alive and well 23 years later.
Case Study 5 – In August 2016, investigative reporter Greg Ciola interviewed Reverend Bob Celeste, from Maine, on a radio show. The Reverend had been diagnosed with a blockage a foot long in his colon in 2014. The blockage was surgically removed and the Reverend was diagnosed with stage IV cancer in his colon and other parts of his body. Reverend Bob Celeste credits G. Edward Griffin’s book “World Without Cancer” with saving his life after receiving a diagnosis of Stage IV colon cancer.
Refusing chemotherapy, Reverend Celeste turned instead to apricots, apricot kernels, and daily prayer. Today, he feels that without having encountered Edward G. Griffin’s book, World Without Cancer, he would not still be alive. After a couple of months of carrying out this self-therapy daily, a PET scan revealed no cancer anywhere in his body.
According to G. Edward Griffin, thousands of such case studies have been reported and documented since Laetrile was developed in 1952. In his opinion and that of many other medical professionals as detailed previously in this series, Laetrile’s effectiveness and safety for treating multiple forms of cancer has been proven beyond any doubt.
Let’s look now at the basis for mainstream medicine’s steadfast opposition to Laetrile.
The California Medical Association Report
Almost all allopathic medical opposition to Laetrile is based upon a summary of a 1953 report by the Cancer Committee of the California Medical Association, which bluntly stated: “No satisfactory evidence has been produced to indicate any significant cytotoxic effect of Laetrile on the cancer cell.” Using this summary as a primary reference, government agencies immediately announced that it was illegal to prescribe, transport, or even recommend Laetrile.
The report summary was written by two men – Dr. E. M. McDonald, the Committee Chairman, and Dr. Henry Garland, the Committee Secretary. The Cancer Committee consisted of seven other prominent physicians, but they played no part in the either the report or the summary. In fact, none of them, including the Drs. McDonald and Garland, had ever even used Laetrile.
Instead, all Dr. McDonald and Dr. Garland had done was summarize and interpret the written records of other people who had done various experiments with Laetrile. These two “experts” read the reports submitted to them, summarized them, and issued their own summary to publicize what they had “found.”
Interestingly, around that same time Dr. McDonald and Dr. Garland had also made headlines across the U.S. by publicly claiming that there was no connection between cigarette smoking and lung cancer.
Dr. Garland gave a speech in 1964 entitled “Smoking and Health” to the Commonwealth Club in California in San Francisco and stated the following: “A current widely held hypothesis is that cigarette smoking is related to cancer. The hypothesis is not proven. Cigarettes are regarded by many as one of the better tranquilizers.”
Dr. McDonald was even more specific; in a feature article taken from “U.S. News and World Report” dated August 3, 1957, he opined “Here’s Another View, Tobacco May Be Harmless.” He even went so far as to claim that 24 cigarettes per day was a “harmless pastime” and that “a pack a day keeps lung cancer away.”
In light of subsequent independent research that has clearly established the causative relationship between smoking and lung cancer, Dr. Garland and Dr. McDonald hardly reveal themselves to be trustworthy, reliable public health authority figures. That’s not all. It turns out that both men had actually falsified their summary of the Laetrile experiments. For example, their report claimed that microscopic examination of tumors taken from people who had been treated with Laetrile showed “no evidence of a beneficial chemical effect.” Yet 10 years later, it emerged that one of the pathologists conducting the examinations had indeed reported not just one, but several instances of tumor destruction which he stated at the time could have well been caused by the action of Laetrile.
Statements by Drs. McDonald and Garland that there was no connection between cigarette smoking and lung cancer were also proven false.
In other words, Dr. McDonald and Dr. Garland had not told the truth. Their report also stated that laboratory technicians had tried, but failed, to release cyanide from Laetrile. And yet, just two months prior to the report being released, the American Medical Association’s chemical lab had reported that it had been successful in releasing cyanide from Laetrile. So had other labs, including the California Food and Drug lab and the cytochemistry lab of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Once again, Drs. McDonald and Garland had obscured the truth.
Another important aspect of this report is that the patients in these studies had received extremely small and ineffective doses of Laetrile; much too small to really prove anything one way or another.
Today, it’s not uncommon for a patient to receive two to three grams of Laetrile in a single injection. Generally, 30 or even 40 grams are required before a cancer patient typically notices any tangible signs of improvement. In the California study, the maximum total dose was only two grams, divided among 12 injections. Five patients had received only two injections, while another five had received only one!
It’s not surprising that these studies had failed to obtain convincing evidence that Laetrile worked.
What is surprising and shocking is that this and other similarly discredited reports continue to be cited by the FDA and cancer organizations such as the American Cancer Society as definitive proof that Laetrile is a hoax. In fact, extensive and detailed studies from a world-famous cancer institute had established Laetrile’s effectiveness as an anti-cancer therapy beyond any doubt – before it was forcefully suppressed. It makes for quite a story…
Second Opinion: Anatomy of a Cover-up
In 1977, Newsweek estimated that up to 70,000 Americans – roughly a tenth of the cancer population at that time – crossed the border to get hold of Laetrile in Mexico. Apparently, a significant proportion of cancer patients in the U.S. had lost faith in conventional therapies and nineteen U.S. states had enacted legislation to legalize Laetrile.
Ralph W. Moss, PhD, had majored in classics and attended Stanford University on a National Defense Education Act Fellowship. Returning to New York in the early 70s, he applied for and obtained the position of Science Writer in Public Affairs at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
Moss began working as a science writer in public affairs at Sloan-Kettering in June 1974. Around that time, in the context of the ongoing war on cancer, Dr. Robert A. Good, MD, had recently been appointed the President of Sloan-Kettering Institute. Lloyd J. Old, MD, and Chester Stock were both Vice-Presidents, while the President of the overall corporation was Lewis Thomas, MD.
In 1974, Moss met Dr. Kanematsu Sugiura, a distinguished research scientist who had spent most of his career at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Moss was surprised to learn that Dr. Sugiura was working on amygdalin, since the official position at Sloan-Kettering was that Laetrile was ineffective. He was even more surprised when Dr. Sugiura showed him his meticulously detailed research notes based on laboratory experiments he himself had carried out at Sloan-Kettering, which clearly showed that cancer cells in the bodies of mice treated with amygdalin stopped growing for a number of weeks. After a while, they would start growing again.
As mentioned in Part 1, Moss saw that mice that only received saline solution went on to develop metastatic cancer in their lungs 80-90% of the time, as opposed to Laetrile-treated animals which only showed metastases 10-20% of the time. These results were clear and they had been reproduced multiple times by the ever-meticulous Dr. Sugiura.
In fact, these results were so promising that the leaders of Sloan-Kettering held two secret meetings with medical authorities representing the U.S. FDA, the National Cancer Institute, the National Institutes of Health, and the American Cancer Society to discuss Dr. Sugiura’s results. The conclusions of the first meeting said the following: “Parenteral (injected) amygdalin excreted unchanged; oral amygdalin excreted as the thiocyanate. The Sloan-Kettering group believe their results show that amygdalin used in animals with tumors show; a decrease in lung metastases; slower tumor growth; and pain relief.”
Further, it was agreed that Sloan-Kettering Institute would consider clinical trials on amygdalin – and that the FDA would publicly endorse research on amygdalin as in the public interest. The Vice-President, Dr. Old, even went so far as to initiate joint clinical trials with Dr. Mario Soto de Leon, who practiced Laetrile therapy in Mexico.
The second meeting took place at the National Cancer Institute on March 4, 1975 and included institute head Dr. Frank Rauscher, as well as many other prominent attendees from the National Cancer Institute, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, the FDA, and American Cancer Society. At this meeting, the U.S. government declined Sloan-Kettering’s plea to conduct human clinical trials using Laetrile.
After this meeting, there was a noticeable change in the attitude of Sloan-Kettering’s top brass. Dr. Good, Dr. Stock, and Dr. Thomas began to publicly make negative statements about Laetrile that, according to Ralph Moss, “ranged from misrepresentations to…egregious lies.” It culminated with Dr. Stock, the Vice President, issuing a shocking public statement that stated, “We have found Laetrile negative in all the animal systems we have tested.” This statement by Dr. Stock finally convinced Moss that he was witnessing a cover-up.
Sloan-Kettering held a press conference in 1977 stating that amygdalin was not effective against cancer and there was no need for human clinical trials.
His conviction was strengthened when he obtained photocopies of Dr. Sugiura’s laboratory notebooks, which showed that amygdalin, when injected into the body cavity of mice in high doses, slowed tumor growth up to 50% and also prevented both new tumors and secondary lung metastases an incredible 89% of the time. According to Dr. Sugiura, these were the best results he had seen in 60 years of employment at Sloan-Kettering. For instance, on March 1, 1974, Dr. Sugiura noted that “the general health and appearance of amygdalin-treated animals with tumors was much better than that of the controls.”
On June 15, 1977, Sloan-Kettering’s top brass held a press conference in which every major actor in this drama – Dr. Stock, Dr. Good, Dr. Thomas, and others – all repeated the same falsehood; that they had no experimental evidence that amygdalin was effective against cancer and therefore no reason to support taking it to the next stage of testing in human clinical trials.
Interestingly, Dr. Sugiura – who was also present at the press conference – when asked whether he agreed with Sloan-Kettering’s conclusion that Laetrile does not cure or prevent cancer, made the following enigmatic statement: “I agree – of course my results don’t agree – but I agree with what our institution says.” He also added that he stuck to his results and that he hoped somebody would be able to confirm them later on.
As far as Sloan-Kettering was concerned, a final “blind” test – in which all test mice, both treated and untreated, were mixed in and housed in the same cages – and which led to 42% of tumors being stopped with saline solution, relative to 27% with amygdalin – was sufficient to overturn Dr. Sugiura’s previous four years of repeated, positive Laetrile studies.
However, as Dr. Sugiura pointed out, these last results were very peculiar, because saline solution has no inhibitory effect on tumors at all and certainly should not have stopped tumor growth 42% of the time. Something very strange was going on.
The final conclusion, presented by Dr. Lewis Thomas, President of Sloan-Kettering to a Sub-Committee for Health and Research of the U.S. Senate in July 1977 was that Laetrile had no effect at all on cancer.
To understand why this happened, one needs to simply imagine if cancer were to be cured by a single nutrient present abundantly in natural foods. The gigantic commercial and political industry of cancer treatment would collapse completely! Clearly, there was too much at stake to allow this to happen. As William W. Vodra, former Associate Chief Council for Drugs, FDA, said, “Nobody is going to pay $70,000 for a new cancer drug if they can buy Laetrile for 75 cents.”
In July 1977, Ralph Moss revealed all he knew at a press conference, publicly refuting every one of Sloan-Kettering’s false claims about amygdalin’s lack of effectiveness against cancer. The following Monday he was fired from his position for “engaging in activities that were harmful to the institution and for acting in a manner that conflicted with his most basic job responsibilities” and escorted out of Sloan-Kettering. In other words, he had refused to be part of the cover-up and paid with his job.
Three years after Ralph Moss was fired, he published a book documenting his experience called The Cancer Industry. He has since devoted his life to researching various anti-cancer therapies from around the world and has published 15 books on this subject, including Questioning Chemotherapy: A Critique of the Use of Toxic Drugs and Antioxidants Against Cancer. He continues to serve as a consultant to doctors, scientists, and patients worldwide regarding issues relating to complementary medicine. He currently directs “The Moss Reports,” an up-to-date library of detailed reports on more than 200 types of cancer.
Interestingly, in 1994 Moss was invited by Harold Varmus, MD, Director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) to be a member of NIH’s Alternative Medicine Program Advisory Council. However, no apology or retraction has been forthcoming, either from Sloan-Kettering or any other government or cancer organization.
Today, the vast majority of cancer information sites still claim that Laetrile is useless as a cancer treatment. This type of misinformation is profoundly disrespectful towards the hundreds of thousands of cancer patients and their long-suffering families, by denying them access to a highly effective and safe treatment that could potentially save them or extend their lives. The sad truth is that cancer is an industry. More people are making a living from cancer than are dying from it.
Where to Find Laetrile
For over a hundred years, standard medical textbooks have described amygdalin as non-toxic, without a single case of death or illness related to its use. In one experiment, rats were given 70 times the normal human dose of Laetrile. The only side-effects seen were greater appetite, weight gain, and superior health.
Typically, patients who have never been treated with chemotherapy or radiation have significantly better recovery rates when treated with Laetrile. It is said that no person taking Laetrile has ever developed cancer – and cancer patients who respond favorably to Laetrile do not relapse as long as they are maintained on Laetrile therapy. Laetrile can be given intravenously, intramuscularly, and orally. If there is no sign of improvement initially, larger doses are typically given intramuscularly or intravenously.
Laetrile can be administered via intravenous therapy (IV), injected into the muscle, or taken orally.
All that being said, it is not advisable to take Laetrile except under the careful guidance of a qualified medical practitioner – especially if you have been diagnosed with cancer. Unfortunately, if you are looking for legal Laetrile treatment, you will need to venture outside of the U.S. as it is technically illegal in the States. There are a number of clinics in Mexico that provide Laetrile therapy, optimally in conjunction with an integrative treatment protocol.
From a cancer prevention perspective, incorporating foods rich in nitrilosides (amygdalin/B-17) into your diet appears to be a prudent and worthwhile endeavor that is unlikely to cause any harm. With well over a thousand foods to choose from, you are likely to find some that can work with any type of specialized eating plan you may be following. Philip E. Binzel, Jr., MD, author of Alive and Well: One Doctor’s Experience with Nutrition in the Treatment of Cancer Patients, states in his book that there are over 1,500 foods that contain nitrilosides, including apricot kernels, peach kernels, grape seeds, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, bean sprouts, lima beans, and macadamia nuts.
Another helpful resource you may be able to find in used bookstores or by searching online is a little cookbook that G. Edward Griffin’s company first published back in 1976 with a second edition released in 2000. It’s called The Little Cyanide Cookbook: Delicious Recipes Rich in Vitamin B17 by nutritionist June de Spain. It contains a list of foods you can find at most grocery stores along with 300 recipes for getting more amygdalin into your diet.