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July 11, 1966

Protein-Sulfhydryl Groups in Cancer and Gene Control

JAMA. 1966;197(2):151. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110020139050

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To the Editor:—  Cell division fails if sulfhydryl (SH) compounds are blocked. From their work with the natural cell regulator retine, Nobel Laureate Szent-Gyorgyi and co-workers found that SH inhibitors can inhibit cell division of lower forms preferentially, with apparently greater effect on cancer than normal. Egyud and Szent-Gyorgyi note that sensitivity of SH to most agents known to initiate or retard cancer also "pleads for some intimate relation between cancer and SH," and predicted that use of proper SH inhibitors may open the way to a specific cancer therapy (Proc Nat Acad Sci55:388, 1966).On hundreds of human cancers, sensitivity tests have shown greater attack by proper SH inhibitors on cancer than normal (Arch Surg86:489, 1963). The sensitivity tests showed promise for the SH inhibitor pyruvaldehyde, now believed by Szent-Gyorgyi to be an active component of retine. Histochemically, pyruvaldehyde and other active SH inhibitors are

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