Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science

Degree Discipline



The medical historian, looking backward to our own times from some point still in the future, may well single out the years 19H8 and 1958 as important markers in the fight against human cancer.

Lederle Laboratories, a Division of American Cyanamid Company (8), developed methotrexate in 19H8 and the second date stands out as the year when Creech and his associates first described their successful application of regional perfusion - a technique of blocking off circulation around a tumor while an anti-cancer drug is introduced into the blood vessels of the isolated region (2).

Although of limited use, regional perfusion or infusion with methotrexate and leucovorin (citrovorum factor) therapy has been called the most significant advancement in cancer chemotherapy in the past fifteen years. The previous statement assumes a greater force when it is noted that the production of a cancer drug is one thing while its utilization presents a problem in itself (2), Thus it happened that the full value of methotrexate was not realized for nearly a decade while the best methods of using it were being explored. The perfusion technique permitted a higher concentration of the drug to be delivered to the tumor area while minimizing undesirable systemic side effects.

The relationship between the mode of action of drugs used to treat cancer has caused many investigators to wonder what this dreadful disease is. Is it a chronic virus infection as some scientists believe? Or is it caused by any one of a number of other factors, or combination of factors: a defective immunity, a mutated gene, a distorted enzyme pattern, a hormonal imbalance, an environmental poison, a breakdown of organs and systems which enable us to withstand stress or a perverted allergic-like immunity which destroys normal body cells and tissues? Whatever it is, the change from non-cancer to cancer takes place in a world all but hidden from man - a world so minute that it cannot even be viewed by an electron microscope.

Against such a background of death, hope and imperfect knowledge, the word "challenge" seems wholly inadequate to describe the task confronting the scientist. Some of the lines of attack are as follows: (a) the action of chemical molecules which are deliberately designed to block a specific chemical reaction within cancer cells; (b) chemicals that prevent cell division; (c) substances that imitate the effects of X-ray and (d) substances which compete with vitamins and hormones in cell metabolism or destroy bacteria and other primitive cells.

Committee Chair/Advisor

L. C. Collins


Prairie View Agricultural and Mechanical College


© 2021 Prairie View A & M University

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Date of Digitization


Contributing Institution

John B Coleman Library

City of Publication

Prairie View




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