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THERAPEUTIC POTENTIALITIES OF "MUSTARD GAS"

JAMA. 1931;96(1):41-42. doi:10.1001/jama.1931.02720270043015.
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From time to time hopes are still entertained for some possible usefulness in medicine of "mustard gas," chemically known as dichlorethylsulphide. Thus British and German investigators report that the dermal application of dichlorethylsulphide will prevent the development of the experimental cancer of tars.1 The prevention is said to be limited. In the skin, local tissue changes are invoked through a highly efficient lipoid solubility and consequent cellular penetration of the compound. These changes, it is asserted,2 result from an intracellular hydrolysis of the compound with liberation of hydrochloric acid; in other words, an intracellular acidosis and all that this connotes. The skin changes thus caused may be deep and resemble the burns from roentgen rays or radium.3 Accordingly, the protective action against pathologic growths of the skin, or destructive action on them, may have a definite objective basis. The compound might render the skin unfit soil for

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