History of Laetrile’s beginnings in the San Francisco Bay Area

History between San Francisco, Laetrile and its inventors—Dr. Ernst Kreb, Sr. & Jr. 

The Krebs family was long associated with San Francisco and the Bay Area.

Ernst T. Krebs, Sr. was a graduate of the San Francisco College of Physicians and Surgeons. (This is now the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry.)

In 1919, he bought a Queen Anne manor at 1348 South Van Ness Avenue in the Mission District [map / hidden behind the trees], while his medical office was a ten minutes walk away at 642 Capp Street. He continued there for the next 40 years. Ernst, Sr. died on January 25, 1970, at age 93, and was the oldest practicing physician in the state of California.

Laetrile was “invented” or at least “thought up” in a basement laboratory at the South Van Ness property. This was the invention of Ernst T. Krebs, Sr., MD, his son, Ernst T. Krebs, Jr. and a professor-friend of theirs at the University of California, Prof. Charles Gurchot of San Francisco.

Ernst Jr. (for many years the driving force behind laetrile’s promotion) grew up in San Francisco and attended St. John’s Lutheran School and was a graduate of Lowell High School (still rated the #2 public high school in the country). He attended what is now the College of San Mateo and later did graduate work at UC Berkeley (whose biochemistry laboratory was located in San Francisco.)

In addition, Ernst Sr.’s other son, Byron, was an osteopathic medical doctor who joined him in his laetrile project. In 1974 he died in a laboratory fire in San Francisco.

Much of the drama of laetrile played out on the California stage. Some of the most famous laetrile-using practitioners were Californians — Maurice Cowan, MD, of Los Angeles, John Richardson, MD of Albany, Calif., Stewart M. Jones, MD, PhD, of Palo Alto; and James Privitera of Covina, Calif.

The first official report condemning laetrile also came from the California Cancer Commission (an AMA body) in 1953.


Second Opinion: Laetrile At Sloan-Kettering
will be opening in theaters across the San Francisco Bay area Friday September 12, 2014.

One Response

  1. Hello,

    I have been following this matter since the mid 1970s when I was a high school student. I actually still have my copies of Second Opinion’s Special Report and the “leaked papers” that CFCCT published.

    Kanematsu Sugiura wrote me a letter about three months before he passed away. I would like to email Ralph Moss a pdf of the letter, if he is interested. In the letter, Sugiura summarized his research and, if I recall correctly, he stated that amygdalin is not a cure for cancer but a good palliative agent.

    Anyway, loved the documentary and think it is very important that the full story has been told and forever memorialized.

    John Pittman Hey
    University of Chicago, 1988

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