Ernesto Contreras (physician)

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Dr. Ernesto Contreras, Sr.
Ernesto Contreras, Sr

(1915-06-01)June 1, 1915
Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
Died(2003-10-03)October 3, 2003
EducationMilitary Medical School, Mexico City
General Practitioner, 1939
OccupationPhysician, researcher, hospital director, military, professor
  • Rita Pulido (wife)
  • Francisco Contreras (son)
    current Director, President and Chairman of Oasis of Hope Hospital
Medical career
ProfessionMedical Doctor
FieldCancer research
InstitutionsOasis of Hope Hospital
Sub-specialtiesPediatric pathology
Military career
Allegiance Mexico
Service/branchLogo of the Mexican Army.svg Mexican Army
Years of service1939–43
RankMayr ejer.gif Major
Unit18th Army Air Forces Base Unit

Ernesto Contreras (1915–2003) served as a Mexican doctor. He operated the Oasis of Hope Hospital in Tijuana for over 30 years, claiming to "treat" cancer patients with amygdalin (also called "laetrile" or, erroneously, "vitamin B17") which has been found completely ineffective. His practices have been widely condemned.

Contreras received post-graduate training at the Children's Hospital Boston in Boston. He served as the chief pathologist at the Army Hospital in Mexico City and was Professor of Histology and Pathology at the Mexican Army Medical School.

Controversial cancer treatment[edit]

About extreme terminal cancer cases, Contreras alleged: "The palliative action [the ability of laetrile to improve comfort of patient] is in about 60% of the cases. Frequently, enough to be significant, I see arrest of the disease or even regression in some 15% of the very advanced cases."[1] There is no evidence to support Contreras' statements.

Many of Contreras' patients came from the United States, where use of laetrile is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.[2] Since the 1970s, the use of Laetrile to treat cancer has been described in the scientific literature as a canonical example of quackery and has never been shown to be effective in the treatment or prevention of cancer.[2][3][4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cancer News Journal, Jan./April, 1971, pp. 20.
  2. ^ a b Herbert V (May 1979). "Laetrile: the cult of cyanide. Promoting poison for profit". Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 32 (5): 1121–58. PMID 219680.
  3. ^ Lerner IJ (February 1984). "The whys of cancer quackery". Cancer. 53 (3 Suppl): 815–9. doi:10.1002/1097-0142(19840201)53:3+<815::AID-CNCR2820531334>3.0.CO;2-U. PMID 6362828.
  4. ^ Nightingale SL (1984). "Laetrile: the regulatory challenge of an unproven remedy". Public Health Rep. 99 (4): 333–8. PMC 1424606. PMID 6431478.

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