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ACTION OF EMETIN ON MALIGNANT TUMORS

RICHARD LEWISOHN, M.D.
JAMA. 1918;70(1):9-10. doi:10.1001/jama.1918.02600010007002.
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While there has been, up to the present time, no experimental confirmation of the theory that malignant tumors are of parasitic origin, there are still some observers, especially among clinicians, who hold the belief that the etiologic factor in neoplasia is a parasite, possibly amebic in origin.

This possibility suggested to me the testing of the effect of emetin (alkaloid) on malignant tumors, since this is considered a specific for amebic dysentery. Tests of the drug were made, therefore, in cases of human and animal carcinomas and of animal sarcomas. The results obtained in human beings seemed rather promising; but because of the many pitfalls in this special field of work, I considered it advisable to test the drug extensively on tumors of rats and mice before I drew definite conclusions. The experiments have shown that emetin has no effect on malignant tumors.

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