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Books, Journals, New Media
October 2, 2002

Science and Politics: The Cure: A Story of Cancer and Politics From the Annals of the Cold War

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorDavid H.MorseMS, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


Not Available

JAMA. 2002;288(13):1657. doi:10.1001/jama.288.13.1657-JBK1002-3-1

The Cure, by Nikolai Krementsov, is the strange but true story of two Soviet medical researchers who believed they had possibly found the cure for cancer in 1946.

The husband and wife team of Nina Kliueva, a microbiologist, and Grigorii Roskin, a cytologist, developed a preparation, "KR" (the initials of their last names). KR was a watery lysate of trypanosome cells containing proteins and carbohydrates. It was made from a South American parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas disease, and was found to shrink implanted tumors in mice. Most importantly, KR had generally positive effects on human cancers during preliminary clinical trials. A major problem, however, was that KR was active only for a few days after manufacture and could not be used outside the laboratory. Nevertheless, the initial results seemed promising. But then the Cold War intervened, and politics overshadowed science.