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Large rabbit being held by unidentified man. Whites Aviation Ltd :Photographs. Ref: WA-21625-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23209273TheMedical Record of April 8, 1916, points out that the renewed interest in cancer which followed the discovery that malignant growths can be transplanted from one animal to another has extended from the domain of experimental pathology to that of therapeutics, and no sooner is a report issued from the laboratory than the procedure is tried at the bedside. It is right that this should be so, provided only inoperable cases are chosen, for in our efforts to control this dreadful scourge nothing must be left undone; the immediate and blind application of a method, however, is not right. The attitude of the therapeutist toward the laboratory should be as critical as he can make it, in order that he may be in a position to select the most reliable results for his clinical investigations; an experiment, said a great investigator once, is not necessarily scientific because it has been performed on a rabbit.But even more important than this critical attitude should be one of endeavour to discover exactly what it is that the laboratory is trying to bring about. For example, while it has been discovered that mice can be immunised with normal mouse tissues against the inoculation of tumors, it has been expressly stated by those best qualified to know that such treatment has no effect upon transplanted tumors already established. Now, as these are under relatively unfavourable conditions compared with spontaneous neoplasms, being composed of the cells of an animal other than that in which they are proliferating, while the latter consists of cells of the animal itself, it is evident that transplantable growths should be much more easily cured than spontaneous; and yet even these inoculable neoplasms cannot be healed at present. Nevertheless, many attempts have been made to cure spontaneous tumors in man, in spite of this distinction, by the injection of normal human tissues, generally in the form of extracts, although the laboratory has definitely explained that living and intact cells are necessary for the production of immunity; and not only have normal tissues been tried, but emulsions of living tumor cells have been introduced, which, in several instances, have led to the production of new tumors at the point of inoculation.All this is not so much the fault of the clinician, perhaps, as it is his misfortune, for he is no better able to judge between conflicting laboratory reports than the experimental pathologist would be to choose between two rival therapeutic methods. On the other hand, pathologists do not differ so greatly in opinion as the contradictory nature of much of their writing would suggest; a great deal of the apparent disagreement is due to the fact that it was not realised in the first few years of cancer research that transplantable tumors vary remarkably in such characteristics as type of growth, susceptibility to, immunity, etc., and that in some of them even complete spontaneous disappearance is not an unusual occurrence in untreated animals. Frankel and Furer (201cWiener klin. Wochenschr., 1915, xxviii, 1433, and 1916, xxix, 63) have, therefore, performed a work of great value to both clinician and pathologist in reviewing some of these earlier conflicting findings in the light of our more recent knowledge. They have carefully investigated the question whether cell-free juices from the tumors of rats and mice have any immunising or therapeutic action in these animals, and have found that they possess neither.Their second paper is devoted to a discussion of the effect of foreign sera upon growing tumors, it having been assumed by various writers that the serum of a normal individual differs from that of the cancerous organisms in the possession of some substance injurious to the cancer cell, or that it contains a ferment with the power of dissolving tumor cells. Frankel and Furer very wisely divorced themselves from all theory, and set themselves the task of finding out simply whether foreign serum would or would not influence the growth of transplantable neoplasms. Mice bearing carcinoma or sarcoma were inoculated intravenously one or more times with horse, goat, sheep, goose, rabbit, and guinea-pig serum, but in no case was the tumor definitely affected, although amounts of from one-fortieth to one-twentieth of the body weight were introduced. In a few of the animals the rate of proliferation was somewhat retarded; but a similar occurrence was noted in some of the untreated controls. The experiments have an important bearing upon the many attempts that have been made to influence new growths in the human subject by the injection of serum from adults or from infants, the procedure being based, in the latter instance, upon the false assumption that because infants do not have cancer there must be some protective substance in their blood.In conclusion, it is necessary to point out only that no authoritative cure of either transplantable or spontaneous neoplasms in animals has yet been published, even the selenium cure, from which so much was looked for in some quarters, having been proved a complete failure. In man, therefore, the surgeon still may, with more or less apparent justification, claim that the only hope of relief lies in early and complete surgical removal.

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Method

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Conclusion

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Large rabbit being held by unidentified man. Whites Aviation Ltd :Photographs. Ref: WA-21625-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23209273TheMedical Record of April 8, 1916, points out that the renewed interest in cancer which followed the discovery that malignant growths can be transplanted from one animal to another has extended from the domain of experimental pathology to that of therapeutics, and no sooner is a report issued from the laboratory than the procedure is tried at the bedside. It is right that this should be so, provided only inoperable cases are chosen, for in our efforts to control this dreadful scourge nothing must be left undone; the immediate and blind application of a method, however, is not right. The attitude of the therapeutist toward the laboratory should be as critical as he can make it, in order that he may be in a position to select the most reliable results for his clinical investigations; an experiment, said a great investigator once, is not necessarily scientific because it has been performed on a rabbit.But even more important than this critical attitude should be one of endeavour to discover exactly what it is that the laboratory is trying to bring about. For example, while it has been discovered that mice can be immunised with normal mouse tissues against the inoculation of tumors, it has been expressly stated by those best qualified to know that such treatment has no effect upon transplanted tumors already established. Now, as these are under relatively unfavourable conditions compared with spontaneous neoplasms, being composed of the cells of an animal other than that in which they are proliferating, while the latter consists of cells of the animal itself, it is evident that transplantable growths should be much more easily cured than spontaneous; and yet even these inoculable neoplasms cannot be healed at present. Nevertheless, many attempts have been made to cure spontaneous tumors in man, in spite of this distinction, by the injection of normal human tissues, generally in the form of extracts, although the laboratory has definitely explained that living and intact cells are necessary for the production of immunity; and not only have normal tissues been tried, but emulsions of living tumor cells have been introduced, which, in several instances, have led to the production of new tumors at the point of inoculation.All this is not so much the fault of the clinician, perhaps, as it is his misfortune, for he is no better able to judge between conflicting laboratory reports than the experimental pathologist would be to choose between two rival therapeutic methods. On the other hand, pathologists do not differ so greatly in opinion as the contradictory nature of much of their writing would suggest; a great deal of the apparent disagreement is due to the fact that it was not realised in the first few years of cancer research that transplantable tumors vary remarkably in such characteristics as type of growth, susceptibility to, immunity, etc., and that in some of them even complete spontaneous disappearance is not an unusual occurrence in untreated animals. Frankel and Furer (201cWiener klin. Wochenschr., 1915, xxviii, 1433, and 1916, xxix, 63) have, therefore, performed a work of great value to both clinician and pathologist in reviewing some of these earlier conflicting findings in the light of our more recent knowledge. They have carefully investigated the question whether cell-free juices from the tumors of rats and mice have any immunising or therapeutic action in these animals, and have found that they possess neither.Their second paper is devoted to a discussion of the effect of foreign sera upon growing tumors, it having been assumed by various writers that the serum of a normal individual differs from that of the cancerous organisms in the possession of some substance injurious to the cancer cell, or that it contains a ferment with the power of dissolving tumor cells. Frankel and Furer very wisely divorced themselves from all theory, and set themselves the task of finding out simply whether foreign serum would or would not influence the growth of transplantable neoplasms. Mice bearing carcinoma or sarcoma were inoculated intravenously one or more times with horse, goat, sheep, goose, rabbit, and guinea-pig serum, but in no case was the tumor definitely affected, although amounts of from one-fortieth to one-twentieth of the body weight were introduced. In a few of the animals the rate of proliferation was somewhat retarded; but a similar occurrence was noted in some of the untreated controls. The experiments have an important bearing upon the many attempts that have been made to influence new growths in the human subject by the injection of serum from adults or from infants, the procedure being based, in the latter instance, upon the false assumption that because infants do not have cancer there must be some protective substance in their blood.In conclusion, it is necessary to point out only that no authoritative cure of either transplantable or spontaneous neoplasms in animals has yet been published, even the selenium cure, from which so much was looked for in some quarters, having been proved a complete failure. In man, therefore, the surgeon still may, with more or less apparent justification, claim that the only hope of relief lies in early and complete surgical removal.

Summary

Abstract

Aim

Method

Results

Conclusion

Author Information

Acknowledgements

Correspondence

Correspondence Email

Competing Interests

For the PDF of this article,
contact nzmj@nzma.org.nz

View Article PDF

Large rabbit being held by unidentified man. Whites Aviation Ltd :Photographs. Ref: WA-21625-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23209273TheMedical Record of April 8, 1916, points out that the renewed interest in cancer which followed the discovery that malignant growths can be transplanted from one animal to another has extended from the domain of experimental pathology to that of therapeutics, and no sooner is a report issued from the laboratory than the procedure is tried at the bedside. It is right that this should be so, provided only inoperable cases are chosen, for in our efforts to control this dreadful scourge nothing must be left undone; the immediate and blind application of a method, however, is not right. The attitude of the therapeutist toward the laboratory should be as critical as he can make it, in order that he may be in a position to select the most reliable results for his clinical investigations; an experiment, said a great investigator once, is not necessarily scientific because it has been performed on a rabbit.But even more important than this critical attitude should be one of endeavour to discover exactly what it is that the laboratory is trying to bring about. For example, while it has been discovered that mice can be immunised with normal mouse tissues against the inoculation of tumors, it has been expressly stated by those best qualified to know that such treatment has no effect upon transplanted tumors already established. Now, as these are under relatively unfavourable conditions compared with spontaneous neoplasms, being composed of the cells of an animal other than that in which they are proliferating, while the latter consists of cells of the animal itself, it is evident that transplantable growths should be much more easily cured than spontaneous; and yet even these inoculable neoplasms cannot be healed at present. Nevertheless, many attempts have been made to cure spontaneous tumors in man, in spite of this distinction, by the injection of normal human tissues, generally in the form of extracts, although the laboratory has definitely explained that living and intact cells are necessary for the production of immunity; and not only have normal tissues been tried, but emulsions of living tumor cells have been introduced, which, in several instances, have led to the production of new tumors at the point of inoculation.All this is not so much the fault of the clinician, perhaps, as it is his misfortune, for he is no better able to judge between conflicting laboratory reports than the experimental pathologist would be to choose between two rival therapeutic methods. On the other hand, pathologists do not differ so greatly in opinion as the contradictory nature of much of their writing would suggest; a great deal of the apparent disagreement is due to the fact that it was not realised in the first few years of cancer research that transplantable tumors vary remarkably in such characteristics as type of growth, susceptibility to, immunity, etc., and that in some of them even complete spontaneous disappearance is not an unusual occurrence in untreated animals. Frankel and Furer (201cWiener klin. Wochenschr., 1915, xxviii, 1433, and 1916, xxix, 63) have, therefore, performed a work of great value to both clinician and pathologist in reviewing some of these earlier conflicting findings in the light of our more recent knowledge. They have carefully investigated the question whether cell-free juices from the tumors of rats and mice have any immunising or therapeutic action in these animals, and have found that they possess neither.Their second paper is devoted to a discussion of the effect of foreign sera upon growing tumors, it having been assumed by various writers that the serum of a normal individual differs from that of the cancerous organisms in the possession of some substance injurious to the cancer cell, or that it contains a ferment with the power of dissolving tumor cells. Frankel and Furer very wisely divorced themselves from all theory, and set themselves the task of finding out simply whether foreign serum would or would not influence the growth of transplantable neoplasms. Mice bearing carcinoma or sarcoma were inoculated intravenously one or more times with horse, goat, sheep, goose, rabbit, and guinea-pig serum, but in no case was the tumor definitely affected, although amounts of from one-fortieth to one-twentieth of the body weight were introduced. In a few of the animals the rate of proliferation was somewhat retarded; but a similar occurrence was noted in some of the untreated controls. The experiments have an important bearing upon the many attempts that have been made to influence new growths in the human subject by the injection of serum from adults or from infants, the procedure being based, in the latter instance, upon the false assumption that because infants do not have cancer there must be some protective substance in their blood.In conclusion, it is necessary to point out only that no authoritative cure of either transplantable or spontaneous neoplasms in animals has yet been published, even the selenium cure, from which so much was looked for in some quarters, having been proved a complete failure. In man, therefore, the surgeon still may, with more or less apparent justification, claim that the only hope of relief lies in early and complete surgical removal.

Summary

Abstract

Aim

Method

Results

Conclusion

Author Information

Acknowledgements

Correspondence

Correspondence Email

Competing Interests

Contact diana@nzma.org.nz
for the PDF of this article

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