August 4, 1906


JAMA. 1906;XLVII(5):364. doi:10.1001/jama.1906.02520050048004

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Dr. Beard's hypothesis of cancer and the trypsin or pancreatic treatment of cancer, which he has evolved on the basis of this hypothesis, were discussed in these columns March 10, 1906. There we pointed out that Beard's hypothesis is a revival, in a modified form, of Cohnheim's familiar hypothesis of the embryonal matrix or residue, inasmuch as Beard asserts that cancer arises in aberrant germ cells, the actual continuity of which as cells from generation to generation, he believes, he has demonstrated in certain fishes. Commonly these cells degenerate, but not always, and cancer may result "from the attempt of an aberrant germ cell to continue its life cycle." Further, that in fishes these aberrant germ cells, which are held to be readily demonstrable, vanish as the activities of the pancreas commence; hence trypsin should cure cancer in man.

We are not aware that aberrant germ cells have been demonstrated

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