We at VitaminB17.org are deeply concerned that information about vitamin therapy to prevent and treat cancer be available to the public. To that end, the book WORLD WITHOUT CANCER — The Story of Vitamin B17 by G. Edward Griffin (Westlake Village, California: American Media, 1997. ISBN 0-912986-19-0) is available for sale through this site. However, we realize that many interested people may not have time or resources to read the book in its entirety, which we highly recommend. Therefore, we are quoting the brief synopsis printed at the beginning of each chapter. In addition, we are summarizing key points from the chapters, including succinct quotes from Griffin.

The book is divided into two parts:

Part One — The Science of Cancer Therapy

Part Two —The Politics of Cancer Therapy




"Examples of dishonesty and corruption in the field of drug research; a close look at the first major study which declared Laetrile (vitamin B17) ‘of no value;’ proof that the study was fraudulent; the FDA’s ruling against the use of Laetrile because it had not been tested; and the refusal then to allow anyone (except its opponents) to test it" (p. 21).

In Chapter One Griffin describes how a report issued by the Cancer Commission of the California Medical Association in the April 1953 issue of California Medicine concluded, "No satisfactory evidence has been produced to indicate any significant cytotoxic effect of Laetrile on the cancer cell" (p. 27). While this conclusion has largely formed the basis of medical opinion throughout the U.S. since that time, Griffin shows that the conclusion was contrary to the raw findings in the research. The conclusion is a lie. In addition, the report had to admit that "all of the physicians whose patients were reviewed spoke of increase in the sense of well-being and appetite, gain in weight, and decrease in pain" (p. 33). All of this was dismissed as insignificant in the report.

Alluding to the questionable scientific integrity of the drafters of the report, Griffin notes that one drafter, Dr. Ian MacDonald, Chairman of the California Cancer Commission, "had made national headlines claiming that there was no connection between cigarette smoking and lung cancer" (p. 29). MacDonald later died after being burned in bed by a cigarette-started fire. His associate on the report, Dr. Henry Garland, who had boasted that cigarettes are harmless, himself died of lung cancer. These are the so-called experts whose conclusions the medical profession continues to hold as the standard to this day.

Another fault of the study was that the doses of Laetrile given to patients were so weak that they could not give as much benefit as is possible. Patients were given fifty to one-hundred mg. per dose. By 1974, it was found that intravenous levels of six to nine thousand mg. daily were helpful and not at all harmful.

Proponents of Laetrile have repeatedly been denied the right to test it. The assumption from opponents that Laetrile is toxic is "absurd inasmuch as all of the drugs approved by the FDA and currently used in orthodox cancer therapy are extremely toxic. To deny the testing of Laetrile on the grounds that it might be toxic is the height of sophistry" (p. 35), says Griffin. (emphasis his.)



"Continued attempts by the cancer industry to prove that Laetrile is worthless; the suppressed lab reports from the Sloan-Kettering Institute which proved that Laetrile works; the Rockefeller connection to the pharmaceutical industry; the story of how a group of employees at Sloan-Kettering leaked the truth to the outside world" (p. 37).

Several paragraphs from this chapter deserve quoting:

How does one evaluate the success of a cancer treatment? Is it the length of life? The quality of life? The feeling of well-being and absence of pain? The ability to function normally on a daily basis? All of these are the criteria used by doctors who apply nutritional therapy. They are not concerned with the size of a tumor because, as stated previously, they know most tumors are a mixture of malignant and benign cells, and that most tumors have only a small percentage of cancer cells. If Laetrile succeeds in removing 100% of a patient’s cancer, his tumor may only decrease of 5% or 10%. But who cares? The patient is back among the living again. The tumor is not the disease, it is merely the symptom of the disease.

Orthodox medicine, on the other hand, is totally focused on the tumor. To most oncologists, the tumor is the cancer. If they remove it surgically or burn it away, they happily announce to the patient: "Good news. We got it all!" They may have all of the tumor, but did they get what caused the tumor? And, in the process, did they dislodge some of those malignant cells, causing them to migrate through the circulatory system only to find new homes elsewhere in the body? Is that the reason so many cancer patients die of metastasized cancer to multiple locations only a few months after hearing those ludicrous words: "We got it all"?

In any event, Laetrile practitioners have always warned that reduction in tumor size is the least meaningful of all the measures of success….A living and healthy patient with a tumor reduced by only 15% would be classified as a failure [by orthodox medicine]. A sick and dying patient with a tumor reduced 60% would be a success (p. 39).



"A review of entrenched scientific error in history; the vitamin-deficiency concept of cancer as advanced in 1952 by Dr. Ernst T. Krebs, Jr.; and a survey of the evidence both in nature and in history to support that concept" (p. 53).

"The history of science is the history of struggle against entrenched error. Many of the world’s greatest discoveries initially were rejected by the scientific community. And those who pioneered those discoveries often were ridiculed and condemned as quacks and charlatans" (p. 53). For example, it took many years after someone discovered that the killer scurvy could be prevented by eating fresh citrus before the prevention became acceptable to the medical community. The same is true with pellagra. Thirty years after it was discovered that eating liver or yeast could prevent the disease the medical profession accepted that the cause was a vitamin B deficiency. Griffin writes

By 1952, Dr. Ernst T. Krebs, Jr., a biochemist in San Francisco, had advanced the theory that cancer, like scurvy and pellagra, is not caused by some kind of mysterious bacterium, virus, or toxin, but is merely a deficiency disease aggravated by the lack of an essential food compound in modern-man’s diet. He identified this compound as part of the nitriloside family which occurs abundantly in nature in over twelve-hundred edible plants and found virtually in every part of the world. It is particularly prevalent in the seed of these fruits in the Prunus Rosacea family (bitter almond, apricot, blackthorn, cherry, nectarine, peach, and plum), but also contained in grasses, maize, sorghum, millet, cassava, linseed, apple seeds, and many other foods that, generally, have been deleted from the menus of modern civilization.

It is difficult to establish a clear-cut classification for a nitriloside. Since it does not occur entirely by itself but rather is found in foods, it probably should not be classified as a food. Like sugar, it is a food component or a food factor. Nor can it be classified as a drug inasmuch as it is a natural, non-toxic, water-soluble substance entirely normal to and compatible with human metabolism. The proper name for a food factor that contains these properties is vitamin. Since this vitamin normally is found with the B-complex, and since it was the seventeenth such substance to be isolated within this complex, Dr. Krebs identified it as vitamin B17 (p. 56).

Griffin further adds, "A chronic disease is one which usually does not pass away of its own accord. A metabolic disease is one which occurs within the body and is not transmittable to another person. Cancer, therefore, being all of these, is a chronic, metabolic disease" (p. 56). He adds

Dr. Krebs has pointed out that, in the entire history of medical science, there has not been one chronic, metabolic disease that was ever cured or prevented by drugs, surgery, or mechanical manipulation of the body. In every case — whether it be scurvy, pellagra, rickets, beri-beri, night blindness, pernicious anemia, or any of the others — the ultimate solution was found only in factors relating to adequate nutrition (p. 57).



"A look at the many cultures around the world that are, or have been, free from cancer; and an analysis of their native foods" (p. 63).

Chapter Three takes a look at several cultures whose diet is rich in nitriloside foods. In each case the people are cancer-free. One is the Hunza tribe in the Himalaya Mountains. "Their diet contains over two-hundred times more nitrilosides than the average American diet" (p. 63). The most highly prized food is the apricot seed, which is very high in nitrilocides. Apricots, their seeds, and oil from the seeds are used much like rice and rice products would be used in other eastern cultures. In addition, their diet contains other vegetation rich in Vitamin B17. The life expectancy of the Hunzas is eighty-five years.

Eskimos have also been free of cancer when they eat their traditional diet. They don’t have access to apricot seeds or other vegetation of importance, yet their diet is rich in nitrilosides from the flesh of caribou and other grazing animals that do eat nitrilosides. Eskimos eat the vegetative stomach contents of freshly killed game that has just been grazing on grasses full of B17.

Griffin notes that even populations in the U.S. who are predominately vegetarian, such as Seven Day Adventists and Mormons, have lower cancer incidents. Indigenous people like Eskimos, when introduced to "civilized" foods, do begin to develop cases of cancer.



"An explanation of the trophoblast thesis of cancer; a description of a simple urine test for cancer; an appraisal of BCG vaccine as an anti-cancer agent; and a review of the vital role played by the pancreas in the control of cancer" (p. 75).

Griffin writes

In 1902, John Beard, a professor of embryology at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, authored a paper published in the British medical journal Lancet in which he stated there were no differences between cancer cells and certain pre-embryonic cells that were normal to the early stages of pregnancy. In technical terms, these normal cells are called trophoblasts. Extensive research had led Professor Beard to the conclusion that cancer and trophoblast are, in fact, one and the same. His theory, therefore, is known as the trophoblast thesis of cancer (p. 75).

Apparently, when a trophoblast cell develops in the body without the controlling forces in pregnancy, its behavior pattern is to grow, spread, and multiply, becoming cancer.

Griffin explains: "Before we can hope to conquer cancer, first we must understand how nature conquers cancer — how nature protects the body and controls the growth of trophoblast cells. One would suppose that this would be the primary question that determines the direction of cancer research today. Unfortunately, it is not. Most research projects are preoccupied with exotic and toxic drugs or machines that deliver death rays to selected parts of the body" (p. 79).

One would assume that white blood cells, which attack harmful cells that cause infections, ought to attack cancer cells. Why don’t they? There is a protein coating with a negative electrostatic charge surrounding trophoblast cells; white blood cells also have a negative charge. Therefore, they repel each other.

How does nature destroy trophoblast cells? Pancreatic enzymes, when in the small intestine, dissolve the protein coating, allowing white blood cells to kill the trophoblast cells.

Griffin explains that a false assumption is that cancer cells are foreign entities and should all be destroyed. He declares that in the right balance trophoblast cells are a natural part of pregnancy and healing. Cancer occurs when an imbalance is present in the process.



"The nutritional factor as a back-up mechanism to the enzyme factor; a biographical sketch of Dr. Ernst T. Krebs, Jr., and his development of Laetrile; the beneficial effects of vitamin B17 on a wide range of human disorders; and an appraisal of the complexity of nature’s total anti-cancer mechanism" (p. 85).

What happens when this first line of defense is inadequate due to a diet that requires all the pancreatic enzymes for digestion, leaving nothing to battle cancer cells? Or what if the person’s body is subject to damage, such as from smoking cigarettes? Griffin says that nature has provided a second line of defense found in foods rich in nitrilosides. He writes

The chemical compound in question is vitamin B17, which is found in those natural foods containing nitriloside. It is known also as amygdalin and, as such, has been used and studied extensively for well over a hundred years. But, in its concentrated and purified form developed by Dr. [Ernst] Krebs specifically for cancer therapy, it is known as Laetrile (p. 86).

Griffin introduces the work of Krebs.

By 1950 he had identified the specific composition of this substance, had isolated it into crystalline form, had given it the name Laetrile, and had tested it on animals to make sure it was not toxic. The next step was to prove that it was not harmful to humans. There was only one way to do that. So he rolled up his sleeve and injected it into his own bloodstream….

The B17 molecule contains two units of glucose (sugar), one of banzaldehyde, and one of cyanide, all tightly locked together within it. As everyone knows, cyanide can be highly toxic and even fatal if taken in sufficient quantity. However, locked as it is in this natural state, it is chemically inert and has absolutely no effect on living tissue….

There is only one substance that can unlock the B17 molecule and release the cyanide. That substance is an enzyme called beta-glucosidase, which we shall call the "unlocking enzyme." When B17 comes in contact with the enzyme in the presence of water, not only is the cyanide released, but also the benzaldehyde, which is highly toxic by itself….

Fortunately, the unlocking enzyme is not found to any dangerous degree anywhere in the body except at the cancer cell, where it always is present in great quantity, sometimes at levels in excess of one-hundred times that of the surrounding normal cells. The result is that vitamin B17 is unlocked at the cancer cell, releases its poisons to the cancer cell, and only to the cancer cell.

There is another important enzyme called rhodanese, which we shall identify as the "protecting enzyme." The reason is that it has the ability to neutralize cyanide by converting it instantly into by-products that actually are beneficial and essential to health. This enzyme is found in great quantities in every part of the body except the cancer cell which, consequently, is not protected (p. 88-89). (emphasis his.)



"A newspaper account of a couple who reportedly were poisoned by eating apricot kernels; a close look at the real facts in this case; an evaluation of the toxic potential of seeds containing B17; and proof that Laetrile is less toxic than sugar" (p. 95).

Griffin tells us that laboratory forms of B17 (amygdalin, Laetrile) have been described as non-toxic in pharmacology books for over one hundred years. He compares this to common aspirin, which is "twenty times more toxic than the equivalent amount of Laetrile. The toxicity of aspirin is cumulative and can build up for days or even months. The chemical action of B17, however, is completed usually within a few hours leaving behind absolutely no build-up" (p. 102).



"The names, professional standings, medical achievements, and clinical findings of some of the more prominent doctors who endorse Laetrile; the beneficial side-effects produced by its use; a suggested anti-cancer diet; and a brief description of vitamin B15" (p. 105).

This graph was reproduced from information found on page 110 of World Without Cancer. It was originally reproduced from Alive and Well: One Doctor’s Experience with Nutrition in the Treatment of Cancer Patients, by Philip E. Binzel, M.D. (Westlake Village, California: American Media, 1997, p. 113.)

The best results in treating cancer with Laetrile come when it is combined with supplemental vitamin therapy as well. The chapter gives an overview of such therapy.



"Clinical evidence in support of the trophoblast thesis; laboratory experiments showing that Laetrile kills cancer cells; and case histories of terminal cancer patients who attribute their recovery to the effect of Laetrile" (p. 115).

Griffin writes

The cyanide scare mentioned previously was but one small salvo in the continuing barrage of officialdom’s attacks against Laetrile. The total weaponry runs the gamut from scare tactics to outright falsehoods. But mostly they take the form of scholarly pronouncements, cloaked in the cloth of apparent concern for the public welfare, that vitamin therapy may sound good in theory, but in practice, it simply dos not work (p. 115).

Thousands of case histories have been documented showing that Laetrile successfully has treated cancer. However, orthodox medicine still claims that there is no proof. To contradict documented cases of cancers being successfully treated with Laetrile, doctors often claim that the patient went into spontaneous remission or that the patient never had cancer to begin with.



"The effects of surgery and radiation in the treatment of cancer; a comparison showing that those who receive no treatment at all live just as long, if not longer, than those who are treated" (p. 137).

Griffin notes that proponents of Laetrile treatment approach cancer from the belief that it is a "deficiency disease"; therefore, it cannot be "cured," rather prevented and treated. He shows that representatives of the cancer industry claim to have cures. Chapter Ten explores the first two of three "cures": surgery, radiation, and drugs.

Surgery can indeed save lives, and has the advantage of removing the tumor. Hope springs forth in the patient and his family, but often cancer shows up somewhere else in the body because the underlying cause has not been addressed. However, surgery poses two complications. "First, it causes physical trauma to the area. This triggers off the healing process which, in turn, brings more trophoblast cells into being as a by-product of that process…The other effect is that, if not all the malignant tissue is removed, what remains tends to be encased in scar tissue …the cancer tends to become insulated from the action of the pancreatic trophoblast cells to the surveillant action of the white blood cells…there is no sold evidence that patients who submit to surgery have any greater life expectancy, on the average, than those who do not" (p. 139).

Statistics show that the "rate of long-term survival after surgery is, on the average at best, only ten or fifteen percent. And once the cancer has metastisized to a second location, surgery has almost no survival value" (p. 141). (emphasis his.)

The purpose of X-ray therapy, the second orthodox treatment, is to burn away the tumor. Because tumors are comprised of both cancer and noncancer cells, and X-rays are more effective in destroying noncancer cells than cancer, the effect is to "increase the percentage of malignancy" (p. 142). This treatment seems to increase the probability that cancer will appear in another part of the body given time because it damages the body, causing a production of trophoblast cells that are trying to bring healing and because it lessens the production of white blood cells. Statistics do not show that X-ray treatment improves the chance for survival.

Griffin next explains how the American Cancer Society arrives at its positive sounding statistics for orthodox treatment.



"Anti-cancer drugs shown to be ineffective and cancer-causing; FDA-approved experiments on humans resulting in death from drugs rather than from cancer" (p. 151).

Drugs used in chemotherapy are selected because their primary function is as a poison. They are supposed to differentiate, not between cancer and noncancer cells, but between slow-growing and fast-growing. Consequently, many healthy cells are destroyed. The immune system is weakened. The patient suffers effects of poisoning, such as, "nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite, cramps, and progressive weakness" (p. 152). His hair falls out because hair cells are targeted as "fast-growing." While his family stands by as sorrowful witnesses, the patient goes through agony of body and mind, only to find that his chances of long-term survival are minimal.



"The inherent weaknesses of all cancer statistics; the need for statistical comparisons in spite of those weaknesses; a comparison of the results obtained by orthodox and Laetrile physicians; and the consequences of consensus medicine" (p. 165).

Best results from Laetrile therapy, of course, are obtained when the body has not been severely damaged by surgery, X-rays, or chemotherapy, in other words, "virgin" cases.

Griffin explains in Chapter Eleven that consensus medicine occurs when "…the physician cannot follow his own judgement or his conscience. He gets into far more trouble by prescribing a few non-toxic vitamins than by prescribing the most radical surgery or violent chemical poisons. All but the very brave toe the line" (p. 172).

Dr. Krebs, developer of Laetrile, has noted that cancer is "one of the last outposts of mysticism in medical science." Someday the brutal treatments of today will be classified with old treatments like bloodletting.