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March 3, 1945


Author Affiliations

Chief, National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Health, United States Public Health Service BETHESDA, MD.

JAMA. 1945;127(9):509-514. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860090015004

No human malady today is of greater interest to the biologist or of more concern to the public than is cancer. The appeal to lay and professional minds alike is due not only to the manifold problems involved in the prevention. control and therapy of cancer but also to the much publicized behavior of cancer cells as a ruthless group of gangsters running amuck among the orderly functioning tissues of the human economy. In the light of our present knowledge of the cancer process, this analogy is useful and not altogether inaccurate since the human gangster and the cell gangster do have something in common. Both arise as a rule under unfavorable environments.

Unquestionably, cancer has biologic attributes that set it apart from all other forms of maladjustment. It is my purpose first to set forth some of these attributes, which, I believe, give cancer research an advantageous position in