Great credit is due Prof. W. Blair Bell of Liverpool for reawakening interest in the chemotherapy of cancer, a research that has been practically quiescent. In 1920, Bell and his co-workers began the treatment of human cancer cases with the intravenous injection of colloidal lead. The rationale of the lead treatment was based on the hypothesis that malignant neoplasia was "a specific growth process in which a reversion on the part of the starving cell to the nutriment seeking proclivities of its ancestral type, the chorionic epithelium, took place."1 Lead was the only substance found that seemed, experimentally, to have a specific lethal effect on chorionic epithelium, on normal embryonic growth, on cells of cancerous growth, and on mature cells rich in phosphatides. His experimental work showed that the cells of malignant growths had a higher phosphatide content than the cells of normal tissues of the same location. After
MARTLAND HS, VON SOCHOCKY SA. THE USE OF A STABLE COLLOIDAL LEAD IN THE TREATMENT OF CANCER. JAMA. 1927;88(12):911–917. doi:10.1001/jama.1927.02680380035015
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