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JAMA 100 Years Ago
March 17, 2010


JAMA. 2010;303(11):1096. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.242

To overcome the ravages of cancer has become a fixed purpose with the medical profession, and the struggle has aroused the active interest of the general public. Endowments and other gifts for the study of cancer have reached a large sum. We recently3 called attention to some of the large benefactions for this purpose. In this connection, an announcement made in the news columns of this issue is of especial interest. The St. Louis Skin and Cancer Hospital, one of the few institutions in the United States already doing good work along this line, is to establish and equip a research laboratory for the study of cancer. . . . Dr. Leo Loeb, formerly professor of experimental pathology in the University of Pennsylvania, is to be the director of the new laboratory, and under his guidance progress along scientific lines will undoubtedly be made. Although for a number of years the study of cancer seemed to make no progress, and the many theories as to its origin were one by one exploded or failed of confirmation, within the last few years definite progress seems to have been made, and this has given a new impetus to the study. The report, made at the last International Medical Congress, of the investigations carried on by the British Imperial Cancer Research Fund; reports from other sources in this country that cancerous tumors can be perpetuated in successive generations of animals even for years; the production of experimental tumors, some of them with all the characteristics of cancer, by means of the x-ray and by other means; the establishment of an apparent immunity by inoculation in animals—all these things indicate progress toward the final solution of this difficult problem. The multiplying of endowments and laboratories for the study of cancer is most gratifying and will hasten the time when conclusions of value can be drawn. St. Louis is to be congratulated on this new laboratory and the increased facilities for studying this vital problem; and much credit is due the founder of the hospital, the board of directors and the people of that city for their recognition of an important public duty.