76 THE ENZYME TREATMENT OF CANCER
hand, some of the aberrant and vagrant germ-cells described by the writer undoubtedly possess, as was once remarked to the writer by a human anatomist, far greater potentialities for mischief than any germs ever conceived of by pathologists.
Not only the embryonic rests and the germinal shuntings, but a host of subsidiary hypotheses—among others, those of Borst, relating to the tumours of the sacral and cerebral regions—become superfluous in the light of the much simpler theory of tumour-formation as due to— (1) the abnormal development of a persistent primary germ-cell, and (2) the bizarre pathological manifestation by this of some greater or less portion of a life-cycle. Under this view most, if not all, tumours receive a simple explanation, and under it, also, it must be manifest that previous attempts—that of Wilms excepted—to explain the tumours, in taking the simpler ones as the starting-points, have really begun at the wrong end of the scale. Neither in theory nor in practice can the degree in greatest possible reduction of an embryoma or rudimentary embryo be defined, and, in fact, in actual practice and theory a simple tumour will represent a low degree of such reduction.
Certainly, regarded as pathological manifestations of some greater or less portion of a life-cycle, all the peculiarities of very many tumours are fully explained. A germ-cell, developing abnormally, may, after its developmental unfolding has begun, undergo degenerative changes of various kinds and degrees as to greater and smaller portions of its parts, or some foundations may remain latent, wholly or in part; and in this way a single cell, or a larger or smaller group of such, endowed with certain well-defined potentialities, may be left as the actual seed, as the origin, of the tumour thereby arising.