One of science and medicine’s best buried political secrets has burst like Frankenstein out of its grave into the open this week with the release of Second Opinion: Laetrile at Sloan-Kettering, a documentary directed by Eric Merola, which will be premiered with Q/A at Cinema Village (22 East 12 St) at 7pm Friday (Aug 29 2014).
The film beautifully dramatizes and clarifies one of the greatest scandals in the ongoing war between pharma and the alternative natural remedies it labels “quackery”, but which tend to look better and better in mainstream lab research.
If you are old enough, you might recall a controversy in the early 1970s regarding the compound Laetrile, purported to prevent the spread of cancer. New Yorks Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center was ground zero in that firestorm.
In the early 1970s, Americas war on cancer was in full force, and Sloan Kettering was regarded as one of the worlds leading cancer research centers.
But Sloan Ketterings Board of Directors swept positive findings about Laetrile under the rug when it became unprofitable and publicly unpopular for them to support it.
Their Laetrile research was done under their own roof by one of the worlds most respected cancer researchers of the dayDr. Kanematsu Sugiura. One personand only onehas come forward with the truth about what turned out to be one of the most reprehensible cover-ups in the history of cancer research.
In July 1977, Moss was no longer willing to lie on behalf …
Whether viewers of this unusual documentary will get its real message seems uncertain, since it spends little time on who’s to blame, and what should be done about a medical cancer research system clearly still in the pocket of big pharma. On this there is but the one telling quote that comes at the end. “Nobody is going to pay $70,000 for a new cancer drug if they can buy Laetrile for 75 cents.” – William W. Vodra, Former Associate Chief Counsel for Drugs, FDA.
The film’s bottom line message is that Memorial Sloan-Kettering should correct the record, and Laetrile should be revisited and properly assessed. Unlike chemotherapy it is not toxic, by the way, contrary to the impression given by Wikipedia. Raw (not roast, from which marzipan is made in Europe) apricot kernels in large amounts are toxic and even fatal to take orally (the enzymes release cyanide from the molecule) but purified Laetrile itself (amygdalin, C(20)H(27)NO(11)) is perfectly safe in reasonable amounts to take orally, one gram per day, say, in a human.
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