150 THE ENZYME TREATMENT OF CANCER
digesting artificially synthesized laevo-sugars is known.” He then quotes from Professor W. J. Pope :* “It would seem to follow, as a legitimate conclusion, that while d-glucose is a valuable foodstuff, we should be incapable of digesting its enantiomorphously related isomeride l-glucose. Humanity is, therefore, composed of dextro-men and dextro-women. And just as we ourselves would probably starve if provided with food enantiomorphously related to that to which we are accustomed, so, if our enantiomorphously related isomerides, the laevo-men, were to come among us now, at a time when we have not yet succeeded in preparing synthetically the more important foodstuffs, we should be unable to provide them with the food necessary to keep them alive.” The term “enantiomorphism,” to describe the properties of the isomeric compounds, was coined by Pasteur.
In Richardson’s translation of Pasteur’s two lectures one may read (p. 27) “Perhaps this will disclose a new world to us. Who can foresee the organization that living matter would assume, if cellulose were laevo-rotatory instead of being dextro-rotatory, or if the laevo-rotatory albumins of the blood were to be replaced by dextro-rotatory bodies ?“ With the exception of this passage, the citation from Professor Pope is the sole chemical one I have encountered, in which the possible existence of an antithetic generation is indicated. One may put his words differently, that in order to exist the leavo-men “ would need to be able, by means of ferments, to pull down all our food substances and to rebuild in the opposite, or enantiomorphously related, or antithetic direction. As will appear presently, unfortunately, the hypothetical “ laevo-men “ do exist
* Pope, William J.: “Recent Advances in Stereo-Chemistry,” Nature, 1903, vol. lxviii., pp. 280-283.