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February 12, 1973

The Strange Case of the Cure of Cancer

JAMA. 1973;223(7):796-797. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220070050015

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The Chicago Tribune of Saturday, Sept 13, headlined "Find Anti-Cancer Agent 100% Effective in Tests." "It has been 100 percent effective in animals, and in humans, in the cases done, it is good enough to say that it is the most encouraging thing to come along in a long time," is a statement attributed to Michael G. Hanna, Jr., MD of the Oak Ridge (Tenn) National Laboratory.

The news releases of the National Cancer Institute were more restrained, but the press reports almost coincided with the release date.

The true story of the effects of BCG vaccine on tumors, limited to lymphomas in the case of man, still involves a large aura of speculation. To be sure, it is free of the "cancer-cure" nostrum, but it is also anything but ready for the prophecy that scientists may begin treating cancer patients with BCG within the next few months.

Probably the