The present investigation was suggested by previous experimental work on the effect of carcinogenic substances on neural structures.1 It was thought that the retina, as an easily accessible neural organ, should lend itself better to such study than the brain itself.
The first attempt to study the effect of carcinogenic substances on the eyeball was made by Schreiber and Wengler.2 On the basis of the discovery of B. Fischer, who had demonstrated the carcinogenic properties of scarlet red, they injected a concentrated solution of this dye in olive oil into the anterior and posterior chambers of the eyes of rabbits and dogs. They described the new formation of large ganglion cells in the retinas of these animals about one hundred and twenty days after the injection and concluded that adult cells of the retina are able to divide mitotically. Unfortunately, no actual photomicrographs were added to their publication.
WEIL A, MAYER LL. EXPERIMENTAL RETINOBLASTOMA. Arch Ophthalmol. 1940;23(3):591–604. doi:10.1001/archopht.1940.00860130657015
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