The viral concept of the etiology of the leukemias and allied disorders in man has long been entertained. This concept has been supported primarily by the studies of transmissibility of leukemia in lower animals.1 Recent studies have revealed that lymphocytic leukemia in mice of the A-K strain can be transmitted from generation to generation by cell-free extracts of leukemic organs if the extracts are given to mice in the suckling stage.2 Mice carrying this agent appear completely healthy until they develop leukemia later in their life. Such studies, if confirmed, would suggest that true congenital transmission of lymphocytic leukemia occurs in mice.
Identical experimental studies on the etiology of the leukemias in man are, of course, not feasible. For example, the administration of cell-free extracts from leukemic donors to suckling infants under experimental conditions has not so far been proposed. Nonetheless, although not recognized as such, transmission may
Bierman HR, Aggeler PM, Thelander H, Kelly KH, Cordes FL. LEUKEMIA AND PREGNANCYA PROBLEM IN TRANSMISSION IN MAN. JAMA. 1956;161(3):220–223. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.62970030003009a
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