26 MAY 1939, Page 23


[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR] SIR,—In the article " Cancer : A New Approach," the author says, "The fact is we do not know what is the matter with the cancer cell" and that " Kogl has discovered one of the fundamental facts known about cancer."

I beg to differ with him. We do know what is the matter with the cancer cell, and Kogl's "discovery," which has received such very gratifying recognition, is a confirmation of what John Beard, then Reader in Zoology at Edinburgh, discovered more than a generation ago. Beard's is the only theory that will account for the behaviour of the cancer cell, either that of those derived from the epithelial or endothelial tissues-carcinomata or those derived from connective tissues- sarcomata.

Beard's theory is that the cancer cell behaves like the cells which develop after the egg is fertilised, which can digest their way into the maternal uterine tissues. Beard stated quite definitely that the proteins of these cells were the opposite stereoisomers of those of the maternal cells turning polarised light to the right instead of to the left. He said that these cells represented a very reduced non-sexual generation just as the sexual generation was reduced in the higher plants. From one or more germ cells of the asexual generation the new sexual generation arises.

This is the only theory that will reasonably account for the Dionne quintuplets, for instance. Doyen and Forbes Robert- son asserted that carcinoma was produced by staphylococci. Professor Leyton and Dr. Helen Layton that sarcomata were produced by streptothrices. They were quite right, but did not explain how they acted. The explanation has been given by me; they " fertilise " the nucleus of the cell in their virus phases, producing the same change of nature and behaviour as the head of the spermatozoon does in the egg-cell. If the cancer tissue is properly cultivated I have shown and demon- strated that the microbial phase can always be grown and also that inoculation with the antigen (vaccine) of this phase can make the cancer disappear. The description of the experi- mental work demonstrating this theory can be seen in my book The True Nature of Viruses.—Yours faithfully,