THE PROBLEMS OF CANCER 105
one? This would be one the memories of which could but result in a malignant tumour—that is to say, one mimicking the structure of correct chorion. If this be true, we have in chorio-epithelioma merely a form of cancer arising very early in the life of the individual, and invading a new host, the unfortunate mother.
The things that we have been dealing with are startling enough, and it may be asked, What steps are being taken to apply them in practice and to carry our embryological knowledge of the malignant neoplasms still further? Practically none. Beyond the boundaries of Edinburgh, I am not aware that at the present time the embryological aspects of the malignant tumours (in the sense of my conceptions of that science as opposed to the utterly erroneous fairy-tales of the textbooks) are receiving any particular attention. Abroad, for example, the leading investigators appear to be hopelessly at sea.* In cancer research, momentous as it is for human welfare and hopes, there is far, far too much industrious but futile digging in culs-de-sac. But there is a gleam of hope for the immediate future. Authorities connected with a great institution which is distinguished for its rapid and wonderful advances in scientific research have for some little time been considering and elaborating a scheme by which cancer research within its walls may be placed shortly under the direction of an able embryologist.** If this be done, the first important step in Great Britain will have been taken towards the proper recognition and
* Judging by the recent investigations of Abderhalden and his pupils, and those of Blumenthal and Neuberg, as described in the Introduction, this is now (1911) not the case. As it has turned out in the sequel, cancer was vulnerable along at least two lines of attack, the embryological one, and the stereo-chemical one. It is really along the latter that the above observers are, slowly but surely, advancing.
** This did not take place.