52 THE ENZYME TBEATMENT OF CANCER
a few comments had been written down upon the mode of growth exhibited by certain organisms, and a comparison drawn between this and the pernicious growth of the human chorion in certain cases.* And it was not until long after the proof had been returned that it was seen how in this comparison the key to the problem of the nature of cancer had been given away. If the pernicious growth of the chorion be really carciriomatous—and it is recognized** as such by pathologists under the names of malignant placentoma, deciduorna, chorio-epithelioma or destructive placental polype*** —the nature of cancer is clear as the light of day. And it has seemed desirable to offer the present essay, in order that at least a warning note might thereby be uttered, and an earnest attempt made to point to the futility of investigation in the direction of a cul-de-sac, such as the probable one of cancer, as due to unicellular organisms.
In the following, the facts concerning carcinoma, as
* The passage in question is as follows “ It should be mentioned that De Vries and Weismann have already noted the resemblance in mode of growth between the flowering plant and the colonial hydrozoa. Many of the latter also possess the indefinite unrestricted power of growth, so characteristic of the sporophyte of the higher plants. As a rule the asexual generations of the higher animals do not exhibit this faculty. They rarely obtain a chance of showing it, for it is their usual fate to undergo early suppression by the sexual generation. When, as happens sometimes in cases of abortion in the human subject, the embryo is got rid of prior to the critical period, or, at any rate, before the asexual generation has here been suppressed, the latter may go on growing indefinitely if left in the uterus. I refer, of course, to the unrestricted and pernicious growth of the chorion, when left in the womb after an abortion” (Transactions of the Botanical Society. Edinburgh, 1902, pp. 140-141).
** The carcinomatous character of the pernicious growth of the chorion was first clearly recognized by Professor F. Marchand in 1895.
***Ziegler, Ernst, Allgerneine Pathologie, v. 11, p. 488, mo Aufl., 1901.