Medicine: Cancer & Krebiozen

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Over a 500-watt local radio station comes the well-modulated voice of Narrator Walter McGraw in a soft-sell, sincere-sounding pitch for "a fair trial for Krebiozen." (The recording bore the imprint of Manhattan Adman Robert M. Marks, fronting for the Krebiozen Research Foundation.) Into the mails every month go 25,000 or more copies of the Bulletin of the Citizens Emergency Committee for Krebiozen (pronounced Kre-by-ozen).

The American Cancer Society's last fund drive was bedeviled by protest cards (thoughtfully provided by the Krebiozen lobby) reading: ". . . I will resume my support of the A.C.S. when your organization supports the truth about Krebiozen and commits itself to an unbiased clinical test about Krebiozen." G. P. Putnam's Sons, publishers of pro-Krebiozen books, promote them with gaudy red, black and yellow throwaways with such unprovable headlines as REAL HOPE TO CURE CANCER and BIG LIE BANS CANCER DRUG.

Dangerous Delay. For the tens of thousands of U.S. cancer victims whose cases are pronounced hopeless in any given year, the unresolved argument over Krebiozen creates a personal emergency of tragic intensity. By pretending that the cancerous Krebiozen controversy does not exist, organized medicine represented by the American Medical Association and the American Cancer Society is acting on the assumption that "if we don't look, it will go away." This, as A.M.A. and A.C.S. are both quick to assert, is the cardinal sin of patients who delay in taking their lumpy growths to a doctor.

What is Krebiozen? Nobody knows for certain (and some extreme skeptics still question whether there is such a. thing).

Does it do any good? Nobody can be sure, on the basis of the ill-organized and sketchy evidence so far available.

Krebiozen is the creation of an intense, sunken-eyed Balkan medico named Stevan Durovic. Now 55, Dr. Durovic got his M.D. at Belgrade in 1930, was a medic in the Yugoslav army when captured by the Italians in World War II. Thanks to a heart condition, P.O.W. Durovic was allowed to leave Italy on a Vatican visa in 1942 for Peron's Argentina.

There, Dr. Durovic began to apply a theory which, he now says, he had been mulling over for years: that some of the body's defense mechanisms, including those against cancer, are seated in the cells of the reticulo-endothelial system* (RES for short). By 1946 Dr. Durovic had a substance, extracted from the blood of specially treated cattle, which he called Kositerin and considered promising for treatment of high blood pressure.

Dr. Durovic came to the U.S. in 1949. At Chicago's Northwestern University Kositerin's effectiveness was proved to be almost nil. But Durovic was referred to the University of Illinois' Physiologist Andrew Conway Ivy. When Durovic saw Ivy, he told him that he had a drug named Krebiozen, extracted from horse blood, for treating cancer. Some scoffers assert that Kositerin became Krebiozen during a cab ride across town.

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