First Do No Harm

Editor's Note: While researching the early history of the American Cancer Society, I came across a cure for cancer that was touted wildly in the newspapers of the time and then crushed by vituperation, after which it vanished from history. Doctors of that period were absolutely convinced there was no cancer bug. We know today that there are many causes of cancer, including a cancer virus by the name of SV-40. br>

One of my favorite investigative reporters from the forties is Moriss Beal. He claims we would have been much further ahead in the cancer game if those doctors of the twenties and thirties just gave up trying to find a cancer bug. But I have not found anyone in the conventional school of medicine from those years who theorized a cancer bug. Other than Glover, there was Royal Rife who actually found a cancer virus (which he gave to experimental animals and then, after they got cancer, he cured them).

I'm not sure where Beal got his his ideas that medicine had been focusing on bugs, but I do know one certain truism: The future makes us all look like idiots.

After I discovered Glover in my research, I found this wonderful (out of print) book and wanted to share a chapter with you. There are a few copies online, so if you would like to buy it or learn more about it just click this link: The Cancer Blackout, by Nat Morris. The article below is excerpted from this book (pp. 66-72):

The Glover Anti-Cancer Serum

Another great mystery in the history of cancer is the fate of Glover's cancer serum once widely publicized as having great promise. It was developed by Dr. Thomas J. Glover and several associates whose scientific studies were meticulously and competently carried out. Reports were duly published in various medical journals about thirty years ago, but are now almost forgotten. The recent renaissance of the virus theory of cancer makes these forgotten Glover researches of great interest.

Soon after entering medical practice in 1911 in Toronto, Canada, where he continues to practice today, Dr. Thomas J. Glover was attracted to the study of cancer viruses. Financed by a wealthy industrialist, he developed a serum derived from the blood of horses. It was found promising and was donated to hospitals for clinical testing, in accordance with the usual procedure.

After encouraging reports from hospital clinics, Doctor Glover became widely known and was besieged by cancer patients from all over North America. His fame enabled him to move from a modest home to a luxurious residence, according to a newspaper story. The events following his ascent to recognition and affluence are typical in the history of cancer remedies developed by independent workers, for in 1921 the Toronto Academy of Medicine appointed a special committee to conduct the inevitable investigation. The committee's report of January 13, 1921, reads in part:

"From the data so far obtained the committee has found no evidence to warrant the hope that a specific cure for cancer has been discovered by Doctor Glover, or that a cure has been produced by the serum in any case definitely established as cancer. The data which your committee has been able to obtain have not convinced it that results of treatment obtained by the use of Glover's serum are better than those obtained by similar methods introduced by others and which have ultimately failed the hopes obtained for them."

The committee also reported that Doctor Glover refused to allow its members to visit his laboratory or to examine his experimental material. The investigators also believed that some apparent cures of Doctor Glover were the result of psychic suggestion and would have no lasting effects.

Nevertheless, a number of physicians both in Canada and the United States became interested in the Glover serum. In 1923 a comprehensive report was prepared for the Philadelphia "North American," but the article was withheld from publication for fifteen months "in the interests of science," as the New York TIMES put it. On June 4, 1924, the article was finally published. It kicked up quite a storm. According to the TIMES, the report covered work conducted for four years. After the serum had proved effective upon animals inoculated with carcinoma, it was injected in cancer patients at several leading Philadelphia hospitals. In two years the serum was administered to more than two hundred cases of confirmed cancer representing every stage of the disease from incipient and localized to terminal and metastatic. Nearly one hundred of these cases were confirmed at the National Stomach Hospital, and a majority were reported to have responded favorably.

The decided bias against the virus theory of cancer, as mentioned by Doctor Coley, became evident in the strong opposition against acceptance of the report. The day following its publication, the great Ewing was quoted in the New York TIMES:

"There is no microorganismal cause of cancer and as soon as the public learns this fact, the less likely will they be deceived by claims such as those Doctor Glover makes. As cancer is not a germ-born disease, a serum treatment would be worthless. The effective treatment of cancer is accomplished by surgery, the X-ray and radium in combination.
The cure of cancer otherwise than by surgery depends upon the discovery of its cause and that remains as yet a mystery, through which only a few gleams of doubtful light have been cast."

The opposition was evidently determined to protect the public from the consequences of being misled into believing the virus theory of cancer. On June 11, the day following, the New York TIMES published an editorial stating that Doctor Glover had announced from San Francisco, where he was attending a medical congress, that claims made in his behalf for the curative powers of his serum were "premature" and that he himself would make no further statements until he had something to report to his colleagues. The editorial then continued:

"While it is evident the medical profession is not ready to admit Doctor Glover's claims, his repudiation should mitigate the severity of any criticisms because he promptly repudiated claims made in his behalf... "There is nothing in the Glover or any other cancer cure to warrant delaying surgery for a single day."

Evidently Doctor Glover's repudiation either was not genuine or was falsely reported, for less than a month later he renewed his claims before the Philadelphia Clinical Society, in his paper, "The Etiology of Cancer--Treatment of Cancer with Antibacterial and Antitoxic Serum." He presented a complete description of the microorganisms he believed to be the cause of cancer, as well as proof of results obtained with his antiserum in a number of pathologically confirmed cases.

Again the opposition raged against Glover who later wrote of his opponents: "the antagonism displayed by several medical men, in denouncing the facts presented without even a pretext at investigation, is to be regretted in so far as their attitude and influence with the medical profession had the effect of causing retardation and submergence of the work for several years."*

Despite the opposition in the next few years, a number of encouraging reports followed.**

In October, 1929, Dr. George McCoy, director of the Hygienic Laboratory of the United States Public Health Service (later incorporated into the National Research Institute at Bethesda, Maryland), visited the Murdock Foundation Laboratory in New York City where Doctor Glover conducted his researches. In contrast to the investigating committee of the Toronto Medical Society, Doctor McCoy was favorably impressed. His invitation to Doctor Glover and his associates, Doctors Engle and Clark, to work in a semiofficial status at the government laboratory in Washington was accepted.

On March 31, 1933, the Public Health Service published a very brief bulletin by Glover and Engle. It reported that a laboratory animal had been inoculated with a virus they claimed to be cancerous and that the virus had been recovered from the animal. [This] evoked another wave of hostile criticism, "directed not only against the work but those who permitted its publication."***

It had been intended that this bulletin be followed by a more extensive report based on work of a greater scale, a project which Doctor McCoy approved. In 1937 Doctor Glover and his associates completed their studies and announced their readiness to published their findings under government auspices, with Doctor McCoy writing an introduction. In a letter of November 29, 1937, to the Assistant Surgeon General, Doctor McCoy wrote that he still regarded Glover's work as an important approach to the cancer problem, perhaps the most important that had come to his attention in connection with Public Health Service studies while he was administratively concerned with cancer research. The letter was intended as the forwarded to the Glover report.

But a subterranean resistance continued to delay publication. The manner in which it worked can be deduced from the following chronicle of events:***

A committee was appointed by the Surgeon General to consider the question of publishing the Glover associates' findings. After reviewing their paper, a majority of the committee approved it for publication. Surgeon General Parran then suggested that a member of the National Advisory Council should also meet with the committee, and a special session was called to permit the presence of the added member. Then, a majority again voted to publish the Glover paper.

The Assistant Surgeon General and the director of the National Institute of Health then suggested that a footnote be added to relieve the Institute of any responsibility for the views expressed, despite the fact that supervision and observation had been invited during the entire course of the work with the Glover microorganisms and Doctor McCoy had signified his willingness to accept the work on the same basis as that of his own research workers.

Instead of a footnote, a statement was incorporated into the paper that constant supervision had been requested but had not been carried out because of the lack of qualified personnel. With this incorporation, the paper was presented and approved for a third time by a majority of the committee. The Surgeon General then ordered Doctor McCoy to write a foreword, which was submitted shortly thereafter. In spite of the annoying delays, everything finally appeared to be settled.

But again, a conference was held, attended by all the interested parties. One of the minority committee members who opposed publication suggested that the Glover work should be repeated and confirmed by members of the Institute staff before it was scheduled for printing. The Surgeon General approved this suggestion, thus nullifying previous agreements and cancelling the approval of the committee for publication. Doctor Glover and his associates naturally were confounded, for they felt that such a check would have been arranged at the beginning of their studies instead of after eight years of intensive effort. Since the additional studies proposed would require at least two years more, they refused to wait for publication of their paper under government auspices. Instead, the paper was published in 1938 under the auspices of the Murdock Foundation of New York City.***

The United States government thereby lost a signal opportunity to sponsor the virus approach to cancer which as become highly respected in recent years despite intense opposition during many previous decades.

IN 1940 Glover and White published THE TREATMENT OF CANCER IN MAN,* basebased on the treatment of 237 cases of cancer, with follow-ups on 50 patients originally reported in 1926. The malignancies were meticulously described according to site, operability, length under treatment, survival periods and so on. A highly significant rate of recovery**** was reported. It was also claimed that malignancy could be determined by a blood-serum test devised by Dr. O.C. Gruner of McGill1:PlaceName> University. Many cancer patients were still alive and well fourteen years after their initial treatment.

Yet these impressive results have never been recognized, in spite of the fact that the work of Doctors Glover, White, Engle and Clark appears to have been a great scientific achievement. In 1955, Stanley of the University of California, was awarded a Nobel prize for identifying a cancer virus; however, no clinical results have followed his discovery.

Doctor Glover is still in practice in ToroToronto, but he has ignored requests for information on his present work. He is regarded as a very uncommunicative individual, difficult to approach. He no longer publishes his findings; whether this is the result of becoming embittered or he has been effectively silenced is open to question. ****

Footnotes: *Glover, T.J. and White, J.E.: THE TREATMENT OF CANCER IN MAN, Murdock Foundation, 1940

** Loudon, J. and McCormack, J.: Preliminary report on the Glover micro-organism, CANADA LANCET & PRACT. 64, 1, Jan.,1925.

** Loudon, J., and McCormack, J.: Notes on the isolation of the Glover micro-organism, IBID. 67, 5, Nov., 1926.l

**Glover, T.J.: Progress in Cancer Research, IBID, 67, 5, Nov., 1926.

**Glover, T.J.: Bacteriology of Cancer, IBID, 74, 3, March, 1930.

***Glover, T.J.: and Engle, J.L.: STUDIES IN MALIGNANCY, New York: Murdock Foundation, 1938

****Excerpt from Postscript: A monopoly of any market is a sure source of profit; a captive clientele has no other choice. The sellers can charge any price the market will bear and can evade any responsibility for bad results because they do not and cannot give any guarantees. They eliminate all critics of their products and challenges to their authority. Their business prospers; thousands of new customers constantly replace those that disappear.

The original John D. Rockefeller was no mean hand at spotting the commercial possibilities in any enterprise. As his millions came in he kept reinvesting in the most profitable businesses. One day when appendectomies were the rage in the medical profession, a surgeon told John D. that everyone should have an appendectomy before the age of sixteen as a preventative. The oil wizard saw the point at once.

"Why, you've got a better thing than Standard Oil," he exclaimed.

But that was before the days of radiation, cobalt treatment, chemotherapy, and the medical insurance and government financed Medicare which elevates every patient to the status of a millionaire.


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