Medicine: From the Autumn Crocus

Salves for "curing" cancer of the breast have long been among the most infamous of quack nostrums. Last week a salve got a respectable introduction to some distinguished physicians. At the Fifth International Cancer Congress in Paris, an earnest German scientist reported encouraging results in treating breast cancer with a salve containing a chemical derived from a common garden bulb.

Colchicine (from the autumn crocus, Colchicum autumnale) has long been prescribed in the treatment of gout. It attracted the attention of cancer researchers because it is poisonous to living cells, impairs their power...

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