In 1936 Sabin and Olitsky1 of the Rockefeller Institute reported the successful cultivation of poliomyelitis virus in test tube suspensions of human embryonic nervous tissue. Control tests with suspensions of tissues from human embryonic lungs, kidney, liver or spleen gave negative results. These observations were in accord with the currently accepted theory, which assumed that poliomyelitis virus is strictly neurotropic, incapable of invading any human tissue, except those of the nervous system.
Evans,2 Rustigian3 and others have recently challenged this theory, on analogy with various poliomyelitis-like viruses of mice, which are known to be able to multiply in nonnervous tissues. The early test tube experiments of Sabin and Olitsky have therefore been repeated by Enders4 and his associates of Harvard University, using the improved tissue culture technic recently perfected by Weller5 for the cultivation of mumps virus.
The cultures consisted of embryonic human tissue fragments