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Egstad, H. M. (ed.) / The Wisconsin alumni magazine
Volume 35, Number VII (April 1934)

Bardeen, C. R.
The significance of the Bowman bequest for cancer research at Wisconsin,   pp. 184-186


Page 184


The Significance of tie Bowman Bequest
      for Cancer Research at Wisconsin
T    HE RECENT GENEROUS bequest of Miss Jennie               of cells, usually
of the short individual life multiplying
      Bowman of Wisconsin Dells to the University for      type, instead
of playing a part suited to the needs of the
      cancer research makes pertinent a brief summary of   body as a whole
set up an independent anarchistic colony
the problems presented by cancer, what the University has  which multiplies
rapidly in numbers and not only begins to
been doing to meet these problems and how the bequest       live at the expense
of the body as a whole without con-
may be utilized to aid in their solution. We should all like  tributing to
its support, but gets in the way of healthy
to see the bequest utilized in such a way as to make Jennie  tissues and
gives off poisonous substances which injure
Bowman's name as well as that of Jonathan Bowman, in       them. Furthermore,
cells from the parent colony wander
whose name it was left, illustrious in the annals of Wis-  away to other
parts of the body and set up similar anar-
consin because of this contribution to                                  
        chistic colonies elsewhere. While there
the commonwealth.                                                       
        is usually little organization of the
  The problems presented by cancer                                      
        colony of cells which constitute the
are far reaching. It is at present second                               
        cancer tumor, they retain enough an-.
among the causes of death in this                                       
        cestral habits of organization to mdi-
country and certainly one of the most                                   
        care their source. One of the most-
distressing to- the individual afflicted                                
        fruitful fields of research has been the
and to his family. "Heart disease"                            
                  gross and microscopic study of cancer-
alone causes more deaths. Under pres-                                   
        ous tissues and their classification.
ent conditions one out of ten of us                                     
        Diagnosis, treatment and prognosis
ten years of age or over is likely                                      
        depend to a large extent on the ac-
eventually to die a painful and linger-                                 
        curate study of the peculiarities of
ing death from cancer. In spite of the                                  
        individual tumors of which there are
advances made by scientific medicine                                    
        many types requiring expert patho-
in recent years, which have added ten                                   
        logical training for recognition.
years or more to the average length of,                                 
          Why a group of cells and their
life in this country since the beginning                                
        offspring should thus begin a parasitic
of the present century, there has been                                  
        existence at the expense of the body
a steady increase in the relative number                                
        as a whole we do not know. Experi-
of deaths from cancer.                                                  
        mentally it has been shown that pro-
   Since 1900 numerous institutes for                                   
         longed chronic irritation of a tissue
the scientific study of cancer by clinical                              
        may under certain conditions give rise
and experimental methods have been                                      
        to a cancer. There is likewise clinical
established in this country and abroad,                  l              
        evidence that chronic irritation may
although far too little provision for                                   
        sometimes give rise to cancer in man
this purpose has been made commen-        C. R. Bardeen, M. D.          
        but the possibilities of prevention of
surate with its importance. In this                  Sh.   of Medicine  
        cancer through prevention of chronic
country special funds for cancer re-        Dean, School of Medicine    
     irritation appear to be quite limited
search have been given to several of our leading endowed   compared with
the frequency of the occurrence of cancer.
universities and to some independent endowed hospitals.    An example of
avoidance of cancer through avoidance of
New York and Massachusetts give liberal support to special  chronic irritation
is that of x-ray workers. Many of the
cancer institutes for care of patients and research. Con-  earlier workers
with x-ray machines developed cancer due
siderable research on cancer is carried on in universities  to chronic irritation
produced by prolonged over-exposure
and hospitals without the benefit of special endowments    to the rays. By
avoiding such exposure modern x-ray
or support. There has recently been established in Phila-  workers remain
free from  cancer thus produced. Other
delphia an International Cancer Research Foundation, which  instances might
be cited.
promotes research through grants to various institutions      Experimental
evidence appears to show that cancer is
in this country and abroad. Societies national and inter-  not due to specific
organisms introduced from  without
national and special journals have been established for    the body. In this
it differs from tuberculosis, the control
consideration of the problems presented and dissemination  of which depends
not only upon early diagnosis and treat-
of knowledge gained.                                         ment, but also
upon preventing exposure to a source of
   Much progress has been made in the understanding of      infection. The
cancer control problem   is much more
 the nature of cancer but aside from the importance of early  difficult than
that of tuberculosis. Cancer is not transferred
 diagnosis and early radical removal little knowledge has   from one individual
to another through contact.
 been gained concerning its control. Normally the 4,000       There is some
evidence that in certain animals suscepti-
 billion fixed cells which constitute the living units of our  bility to
cancer is inherited. At present we have no good
 tissues and the 22,000 billion corpuscles which float in   evidence that
this is true of man although some savage
 our blood work in harmony. Some cells have a short indi-   tribes appear
to be in their natural conditions relatively
 vidual existence and are replaced by multiplication. Others  free from cancer
while it is increasing-in civilized races.
 are as long lived as the body of which they are a part.    Even if there
is in mankind an inherited difference in
 Each contributes in its way to the general welfare and some  susceptibility
in individuals, liability to cancer is so wide-
 may be called up to propagate the race. In cancer a group  spread that there
appears little hope for its elimination
                                                       Page 184


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