Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

I incurred many debts as I researched and wrote this book. The fine, underappreciated Iowa State University Library gave me my own key for 24-hour access, a room of my own, and use of a Xerox machine so that I could go through hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of pages of the various periodicals housed in the storage facility there. ...

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Introduction: On Institutions and Institutional Change

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pp. 1-12

This book is not about cancer per se.1 It is about the ideas and processes that culminated in a worldwide search for the cause of the disease known as cancer during a specific set of years. That was a search for something unknown. Its ostensive goal was to make that unknown known, to remove the mystery of cancer’s cause and replace it with certainty. ...

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1. “Bacteriology” Is Destiny: Cancer, Certainty, and Uncertainty in the Late Nineteenth Century

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pp. 13-31

“It seems more than probable that all malignant growths belong to the infectious microbic diseases, and that by to-morrow we shall have the tiny causators” identified, argued Robert T. Morris, MD, in an 1887 issue of Popular Science Monthly. An anonymous physician writing in the journal Science a year later agreed. The exact cause of cancer “is now prosecuted ...

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2. Making Something So within a Nationalist Context: Cancer Laboratories, 1899–1905

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pp. 32-50

Not everyone was as cocksure as practitioners of the wisdom of relying on statistical determinations derived from bedside observation to determine the cause of cancer. Part of the hesitation stemmed from the nature of medical practice. Doctors in the course of their normal activities, either at bedsides or in hospitals, could not readily develop the standardized ...

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3. Getting to Work, 1900–1905

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pp. 51-68

In this heady atmosphere, cancer laboratories got down to business. They initiated the experiments for which they were created. Their acknowledgment of a mutual quest for the cancer germ both fueled optimism and demanded hard-headed research. They needed to articulate their research agendas, pursue the cancer microbe, and announce results. ...

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4. Inklings of Dis-Ease: The Cancer Problem, 1905–1910

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pp. 69-97

The new turn-of-the-century cancer institutions were conceived from desperate premises. Cancer was assuming an epidemic portrait, researchers were issuing claim after unsubstantiated claim, and professional journals were filled with reports of case studies. Fear, the kind of fear that galvanized the New York State legislature to fund and establish a laboratory expressly ...

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5. Return to Babel, 1905–1910

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pp. 98-122

Creating cancer hospitals in conjunction with cancer laboratories nominally integrated clinical research into the cancer quest. Human patients and human cancers were now to become the subject of rigorous controlled experiments. The individuals undertaking those experiments possessed the credentials and skills necessary for success in the laboratory. ...

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6. Imitation Is the Sincerest Form of Science, 1910–1915

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pp. 123-142

Rous’s discovery of a particular agent that passed through one standard filter but not another, and produced a characteristic type of cancer in chickens, did not produce a raft of experiments seeking to corroborate or falsify his determinations. It had little traction in Europe. Journals there tended to ignore such an unexpected research development. ...

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7. The Euphoria and Despair of Chemotherapy, 1910–1915

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pp. 143-155

E. W. Taylor’s reference to the recent work of Ehrlich and Wassermann, who was Ehrlich’s laboratory associate, did not refer to Ehrlich’s immunology or mouse cancer work or Wassermann’s test for syphilis. Instead, it was to chemotherapy, a new, exciting discovery of the first decade of the twentieth century. ...

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8. Better Living through Biochemistry: Experimental vs. Spontaneous Cancer, 1910–1915

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pp. 156-178

In 1911, Henry Butlin, Hunterian Professor and past president of the Royal College of Surgeons, revived his notion that the cancer cell itself constituted a parasite. First proposed by Butlin in 1905 but mentioned as a possibility by a few others a year or two earlier, his proposition maintained that cancer expressed protozoon-like characteristics. ...

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9. Losing Control: An Inflamed Cancer Research Dilemma, 1911–1915

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pp. 179-202

The cancer investigations into the chemistry of biological processes sought to identify the substances and equations at work in malignancies. Success would have enabled researchers to interrupt or intercept the disease or disease processes, thereby eliminating it as a menace. Embedded in some of these determinations was the notion that cancer development was a two-fold phenomenon. ...

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10. All Cancer Is Local: The End of the War and the Beginning of a New Era, 1910–1915

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pp. 203-228

With the backdrop of cancer as a complex, two-phased or two-stepped disease and a belief that cancer laboratories had failed in their essential mission to resolve the cancer problem, Bashford took out against the quacks. Claiming that they fed on human misery, he railed against their patent medicine and other nostrums purported to cure cancer. ...

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Epilogue: And the Band Plays On

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pp. 229-232

In 1915, Frederick L. Hoffman, statistician for the Prudential Insurance Company of America, published his magnum opus, The Mortality From Cancer Throughout the World.1 Two hundred pages of text followed by six hundred pages of statistical tables, the tome argued that, despite the lack of any sort of statistical consistency or comparability, the numbers showed ...

Notes

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pp. 233-300

Bibliography

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pp. 301-308

Index

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pp. 309-312