The Treatment of Cancer


IN NATURE of December 20, 1906, I note an article (pp. 177–8) on “The Treatment of Cancer.” As a scientific investigator, I must dispute the truth of the fact that I have any co-discoverer in this matter of the use of pancreatic ferments in the treatment of malignant growths. As, of course, you are well aware, all priority in scientific discovery depends upon publication. In the case of the medical man mentioned in the article there has never been any publication of scientific facts, and the reference to the comparative immunity of the small intestine from cancer has a very different scientific explanation from that given in the British Medical Journal, 1906, p. 715. The real reason is the very small extent of the original piece of gut, out of which, by growth within itself, the mammalian small intestine is developed. If the explanation given by this medical man were correct, the c"cum ought to be as immune from cancer as the lower end of the small intestine. This gentleman has never claimed to have discovered cure, let alone the cure, for cancer. What he professes to have found is that the proteolytic ferment, trypsin, and not the diastatic one, amylopsin, splits up glycogen. This is a very remarkable find to have made! Assuming a miracle to have happened when these unpublished experiments were made, and that trypsin did split up glycogen, it may be asked why he and his pharmacist adopted for use as an injection into human patients, from about the end of February last until recently, a decoction containing a small amount of practically pure trypsin, which had no action whatever upon glycogen?

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BEARD, J. The Treatment of Cancer. Nature 75, 247 (1907) doi:10.1038/075247a0

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