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BOOK REVIEWS On Cancer and Hormones—Essays in Experimental Biohgy. Contributors: E. Boyland, Sir Stanford Cade, Thomas L. Dao, Frank Dickens, Sir Charles Dodds, W. U. Gardner, Alexander Haddow, George Hevesy, Clarence V. Hodges, Dwight J. Ingle, Herbert I. Jacobson, Elwood V. Jensen, Herman M. Kalckar, Eugene P. Kennedy, Albert L. Lehninger, Alexander Lipschutz, Thaddeus Mann, Reed M. Nesbit, Peyton Rous, William Wallace Scott and Horst K. A. Schirmer, Albert Szent-Györgyi, PaulTalalay, Donald F. Tapley, C. W. Vermeulen, Otto Warburg, Samuel B. Weiss, and H. G. Williams-Ashman. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962. Pp. ix+346. $8.50. This is a collection of twenty-seven essays dedicated to Dr. Charles Huggins by his pupils, colleagues, and friends on the occasion ofhis sixtieth birthday. As may be expected from the list of contributors, the essays cover an extensive range and diner widely in character. Some are essentially reports of new experimental findings. Many include general and imaginative reflections. All are of a very high standard and worthy of the distinguished honorand, whose laboratory has not only made outstanding contributions to medicine and science but has also been the training and maturing ground of an astonishing number ofthe present leaders ofAmerican science. Many ofthe contributors express their deep sense of indebtedness to Dr. Huggins. Eugene P. Kennedy speaks of Dr. Huggins' intellectual leadership and ofdie many acts ofthoughtfulness and kindness during the years in which he has known him as a mentor and friend. Sir Stanford Cade remarks that Charles Huggins' concept ofthe hormone dependence ofsome cancers "will remain forever a landmark in the progress of man's knowledge of neoplastic diseases." Sir Charles Dodds observes, with reference to the use of stilbestrol in the treatment of carcinoma ofthe prostate introduced by Huggins, that "for the first time in the history ofmedicine Huggins was able to show a beneficial effect in a particular malignant form ofcancer by a non-toxic oral agent. This was undoubtedly the turning point in the therapy ofcancer. Up to the present time this feat has not been surpassed." DwightJ. Ingle praises Charles Huggins as a "leader who findsjoy in the challenge ofinfinity and whose achievements give us increasing understanding and control over nature." It is hardly possible to do justice in a review to the individual contributions, and so I prefer to offer a few general reflections prompted by reading the book. The nature of many ofthe articles brings home the fact that a major change has occurred within the last generation in the appreciation ofdie value ofspeculative and reflective thought. This volume, and indeed thisJournal, are eloquent testimony ofthe change. One ofthe earliest collections ofthis kind ofpaper was Perspectives in Biochemistry, a volume ofessays dedicated to Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins, published in 1937, edited byJoseph Needham and David Green. This was a great departure from the earlier Festschrift in honor of a 383 senior colleague which was customarily a collection of ordinary scientific papers published in a standard scientific journal. It had been tacitly understood that imaginative thought had no place inthe world ofscience. Perspectives in Biochemistry waswellreceived, and its success prompted David Green to collect two similar volumes at ten-year intervals, published in 1946 and 1956 under the title Currents in Biochemical Research. It is interesting to recall diedeep antagonism ofearlier scientists to thenonexperimental, reflective essay. A striking example is die fierce criticism expressed by Kolbe (1818-1884) in 1877 about certain imaginative ideas ofthe young van't Hoff. In 1875 van't Hoff, aged twenty-three, published a purely theoretical paper to which he referred as a "preliminary communication expressing some thoughts which might lead to a discussion." ThU paper (together with the entirely independent and almost simultaneous publication by Le Bel) became the foundation ofmodern stereochemistry. It clearly expressed the concept that some types ofisomerism can be explained on the basis of the properties of tie asymmetricalcarbonatom ; thatthecarbonatom maybeconsidered to occupythecenterofaregular tetrahedron and that the valences are directed toward the four vertices ofthe tetrahedron. A German edition ofthis paper, "The Arrangements ofAtoms in Space," appeared late in 1876, and a few months afterward Kolbe, under the heading "Signs of the Times," published a devastating onslaught in the Journalfür...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-8795
Print ISSN
0031-5982
Pages
pp. 383-385
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-07
Open Access
No
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