June 17, 1944


JAMA. 1944;125(7):511-512. doi:10.1001/jama.1944.02850250051021

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To the Editor:—  This is a revolutionary age. Scientific discoveries are shaking the pillars of the Temple and we are calmly accepting the new dicta. There are limits, however, to our subserviency. C. C. Little in his paper "Parental Influence on the Incidence of Cancer" (The Journal, May 13, p. 93) takes liberties with our concept of what is normal. He argues that it is normal for the cell to metabolize and divide. "It is in a biologic sense 'abnormal' for it to sacrifice this basic activity and to replace it by assumption of some specialized form of function the duration of which is definitely limited." From his point of view "cell division [growth] is the natural objective and climax of activity of the normal healthy cell." On this rather thin basis he looks on the cancer cell with its unlimited power of cell division as the normal (healthy?) cell

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