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August 28, 1948


JAMA. 1948;137(18):1604. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.02890520036014

Roskin1 and his associates of the University of Moscow have claimed that Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas' disease, is positively cancerotropic. When injected into normal animals the trypanosomes multiply in the heart, spleen, liver, bone marrow and lymph nodes. In animals with malignant growth, however, the trypanosomes, they assert, are absent from these organs and are concentrated solely in the neoplasm. Thus localized the trypanosomes destroy the malignant growth, presumably caused by the formation or liberation of a specific cancerolytic substance. The Soviet biologists say that this cancerolysin can be extracted from artificial cultures of trypanosomes and is an effective cure for human cancer.

The trypanosome extract was tested on 18 patients with cancer of breast, larynx, uterus or lips. Destruction of the tumor, the Soviet investigators assert, was noted in 11 patients after daily subcutaneous injections of relatively large doses. In some cases softening and shrinking