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Monday, February 18, 2008

Bacteria Vs Cancer

Germs may actually help our bodies fight tumors -- which means an infection-free lifestyle comes at a price
IN the 1890s, a New York surgeon named William Coley tested a radical cancer treatment. He took a hypodermic needle teeming with bacteria and plunged it into the flesh of patients.

After suffering through weeks of chills and fevers, many showed significant regression of their tumors, but even Coley himself could not explain the phenomenon.


His experiments were sparked by the observation that certain cancer patients improved after contracting infections. One patient experienced regression in a tumor in her arm after developing Saint Anthony's fire, a streptococcus skin infection.

Doctors at the time considered Coley's bacterial mixtures to be more black magic than medicine, and with the advent of radiation therapy, the well-meaning doctor was soon consigned to the annals of quackery.

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