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The Laetrile Saga, Part II: Cancer Therapy and Medical Duplicity

Tuesday, June 03, 2008 by: Mary Laredo
Tags: laetrile, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) Part one 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 (1).

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 (2). 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 (1, 2).

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 (2, 3).

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

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

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

About the author

Mary Laredo is an artist, educator and gallery curator who lives and works in Detroit, MI. As a breast cancer survivor who shunned conventional treatment, she is writing a book about her experience with natural therapies and nutritional healing. Visit http://marylaredo.blogspot.com

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