In this issue of The Journal (p. 1067) is reported the reacceptance for inclusion in New and Nonofficial Remedies of Erysipelas and Prodigiosus Toxins (Coley), long, albeit somewhat sporadically, employed in the treatment of selected cases of inoperable bone sarcoma. Although Coley first employed a vaccine of Streptococcus erysipelatis in inoperable malignant conditions as early as 1893, a satisfactory explanation of the therapeutic mechanism has not yet been advanced. The use of the product, like that of nonspecific proteins, has rested on an empirical basis supported solely by clinical observations of occasional cases of inoperable malignant disease which have exhibited spontaneous regression following fulminating attacks of acute infectious diseases, particularly erysipelas. Sir James Paget is said to have been the first to record such an occurrence.
Jacobsen1 in a recent paper advances a theory based on related observations of the alleged increased incidence of cancer and the noteworthy present-day
ERYSIPELAS AND PRODIGIOSUS TOXINS (COLEY). JAMA. 1934;103(14):1070-1071. doi:10.1001/jama.1934.02750400038015