148 THE ENZYME TREATMENT OF CANCER
reality that also found by me. The asymmetry of the naturally occurring organic compounds, like that of the tartrate crystals, was the same asymmetry as that of the two nervous systems, and the facts of both observers were based in the fundamental verity of the asymmetrical carbon atom, first stated by van ‘t Hoff and Le Bel.* Therefore, the researches and discoveries of Pasteur and the writer, as fundamentally classified, are chapters, long or short, in the science of stereo-chemistry. Behind the work, which culminated in and formed the real scientific basis for my publication on “ The Interlude of Cancer,” there are the researches in stereo-chemistry of Pasteur, van ‘t Hoff, Le Bel, and Wislicenus, and the eternal truth of the asymmetrical carbon atom.
It is not fitting on this occasion to write a treatise on the science of stereo-chemistry or chemistry in space. It has long been recognized by chemists—though this fundamental scientific truth would appear to have had as little influence on physiology as upon medicine—that because the carbon atom is asymmetrical, like the• pentavalent nitrogen one,** isomeric compounds may be built up in more than one direction. To take a comparatively simple instance of these isomeric compounds, the tartrate crystals of Pasteur’s researches, the one is the looking-glass image in crystalline form of the other. The one in solution turns the plane of polarized light to the right, is dextro-rotatory; the other to the left, is laevo-rotatory. The ferment of the yeast organism acts upon the laevo-tartrate; that of the mould, Penicillium, upon the dextro-tartrate. On the other hand, the yeast
* Richardson, G. M. :“ The Foundations of Stereo-Chemistry” Memoirs by Pasteur, van ‘t Hoff, Le Bel, and Wislicenus. Translated and edited. New York, 1901.
** Wedekind, Edgar: “Zur Stereochemie des fünfwertigen Stickstoffes,” Leipzig, 1890.