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The Rise and Fall of Laetrile, 7/1/2014
In 1902, a Scottish embryologist named John Beard theorized that cancer cells and cells produced during pregnancy called trophoblasts are one and the same. According to Beard, trophoblasts invade the uterine wall to form the placenta and umbilical cord.

In 1945, Krebs, Jr., founded the John Beard Memorial Foundation to "develop and apply" Beard's theories. In 1950, the Krebs published a version of Beard's thesis and stated that amygdalin kills trophoblast cells where trypsin has failed. They claimed that cancer tissues are rich in an enzyme that causes amygdalin to release cyanide which destroys the cancer cells. According to this theory, noncancerous tissues are protected from this fate by another enzyme which renders the cyanide harmless. After enforcement agencies began trying to ban Laetrile as a drug, the Krebs claimed that amygdalin is a vitamin ("B17") and that cancer is caused by a deficiency of this vitamin. None of these theories is valid.

One of the first practitioners to use Laetrile was Arthur T. Harris, M.D., who had trained in Scotland and reportedly studied embryology under John Beard. Harris, who had been doing family practice in Southern California, renamed his office the Harris Cancer Clinic. Within a year he submitted a report to Coronet Magazine which claimed that he was "working on something out here that is going to be the answer to cancer if there will ever be one," but the magazine did not report what he was doing.

In 1961, Krebs, Jr., and the John Beard Memorial Foundation were indicted for interstate shipment of an unapproved drug-not Laetrile but pangamic acid. After pleading guilty, Krebs was fined $3,750 and sentenced to prison. However, the sentence was suspended when Krebs and the Foundation agreed to terms of a 3-year probation in which neither would manufacture or distribute Laetrile unless the FDA approved its use for testing as a new drug.

Meanwhile, Howard H. Beard (not a relative of John Beard), who had worked with Krebs and Dr. Harris, suffered an unfavorable ruling from the California Cancer Advisory Council. For many years he had promoted various urine tests purported to measure the level of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). Both Krebs and Beard had claimed that all cases of cancer could be diagnosed on the basis of an elevated HCG test. In 1963 Krebs, Jr., stated that the "scientific implementation" of Laetrile relied upon Beard's test.

Nicholas Gonzalez Treatment for Cancer, 11/9/2009
This theory is also similar to that of Scottish anatomist, John Beard, as recorded in The Enzyme Treatment of Cancer and Its Scientific Basis (London: Chatto and Windus, 1911). It was also followed by Ernst Krebs Jr., developer of Laetrile.

OTA Report: Pharmacologic and Biologic Treatments, 13/1/2006
Some proponents of laetrile cite a theory of cancer etiology known as the "unitarian" or "trophoblastic" theory as the basis for treating cancer with laetrile. First proposed by John Beard in 1902 and later expanded on by Ernst Krebs, Jr., in the 1940s and 1950s, that theory draws a connection between cancer cells and trophoblast cells, which are cells present during pregnancy that are thought to protect the fertilized egg from rejection by the woman's immune system. Both cancer cells and the trophoblast cells are described in the trophoblast theory as invasive, erosive, corrosive, and capable of being carried through the bloodstream to other parts of the body. According to the theory, trophoblast cells could develop at various places in the body from precursor cells distributed throughout the body during embryonic development, and that these precursor cells could, under certain circumstances, become cancer cells. Laetrile proponents have also proposed that cancer is a deficiency disease caused by a lack of laetrile ("vitamin B-17") in the diet (362).

The Medical Messiahs: Afterword, 20/11/2004
San Francisco District Report, December 9, 1957, San Francisco District File, CF 10 183, John Beard Memorial Foundation, vol.

Cancer: Manner Metabolic Therapy, 1/7/2001
At the Texas seminar, Manner frequently cited the theories of John Beard, who published a book on the enzyme treatment of cancer in London in 1911, and of Ernst T. Krebs Sr. and his son, Ernst Jr., who embraced Beard's ideas and advocated laetrile therapy.

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