JERUSALEM (Jan. 25)
Israeli scientists at the Hadassah-Hebrew University Hospital cancer research laboratory have reported the development of a simple process that may be able to detect cancer at an earlier stage than any other known tests. Scientists here and abroad who have studied the findings published in the current issue of the Israel Journal of Medical Sciences, consider the discovery to be of great practical and theoretical importance. But they caution that the process must undergo exhaustive testing on a much wider scale than is possible in Israel before its efficacy as an early cancer detector is established. The development and results of preliminary testing of the process on 520 patients at Hadassah Hospital were reported in the medical journal by Dr. Chloe Tal, a senior lecturer at the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center. Mrs. Tal told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the process stemmed from a theory she developed while working in the Rockefeller Institute in New York in 1952 that when cancerous cells begin to form, the human body produces anti-bodies which arrest their malignant growth; and that cancer develops only when the anti-bodies fail.
Dr. Tal said that the examination of blood samples revealed that all cancer patients had a distinct protein, T-globulin, which is also found in the blood serum of pregnant women but not in healthy persons or in patients who have growths or other disorders that mimic cancer but are nonmalignant. The researchers at Hadassah Hospital checked serum samples from 520 patients for T-globulin. The patients were selected at random but the study was deliberately designed to include a large number with confirmed cancer or confirmed non-cancerous diseases. There were 356 positive reactions. Checked against hospital records, the reactions coincided with 350 verified cancer case three suspected but non-verified cases and three pregnant women. According to Dr. Tal, the testing detected 27 different types of cancer including leukemia, Hodgkins disease, cancer of the breast, thyroid, stomach, lung, kidney, prostate, female genital tract, nasopharynx and lymph sarcoma of the lung, all of which had been independently diagnosed, The researchers were unaware of the earlier diagnoses.
Dr. Tal said the Hadassah specialists are planning to produce the anti-serum necessary to administer the T-globulin test in large quantities. She said she perfected a cheap, simplified method of making it, one that any ordinary laboratory could use. According to Dr. Tal, the tests so far indicate that all types of cancer encountered showed the presence of T-globulin regardless of the age or sex of the patient. If the substance that inhibits the anti-cancer anti-bodies is detected early enough, it should be possible to find a substance that will stimulate the anti-bodies, she said. But, Dr, Tal agreed with her colleagues that far more testing is needed to confirm the Jerusalem findings. One of the things scientists want to know is whether the test would be reliable for people in various countries and not just for Israelis, since the biology of cancer is different in different populations, They also want to know whether the preliminary results obtained on sick persons by Dr. Tal will hold up when extended to thousands of seemingly healthy persons in the populations at large. as tested by a wide variety of laboratories.