does the medical establishment ignore a century of research pointing to
tuberculosis-type "acid-fast" bacteria as the cause of cancer? TB-type
bacteria can be seen in specially-stained tissue sections of cancer
tumors and viewed under the highest magnification of the light
microscope at a magnification of 1000 times, under oil immersion. So
why isn't this simple microscopic procedure performed in cancer?
long ago as 1890, Scottish pathologist William Russell discovered "a
characteristic organism of cancer" in every cancer he examined; and
other pathologists of that era confirmed his findings. Yet, a century
ago, the powers-that-be in medical science ignored this research and
declared emphatically that bacteria were not the cause of cancer. The
reasoning behind this dictum was that cancer did not act like an
infectious disease, nor was it communicable. We know now this reasoning
was false. Many scientists believe viruses cause cancer; and sexually-
transmitted cancer-causing viruses can be passed from person-to- person
- For more than a
half-century, the cancer microbe has been reported as a pleomorphic,
intermittently acid-fast bacterium closely related to the acid-fast
mycobacteria and to Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the acid-fast microbe
that causes tuberculosis (TB). The acid-fast stain is a time-honored
laboratory stain specifically used to detect TB-type mycobacteria in
tissue and in culture. Virginia Livingston M.D. (1906-1990) was the
foremost proponent of the bacterial cause of cancer. She was the first
to discover that the acid-fast stain was the key to the detection of
the cancer germ, both in tissue (in vivo) and in laboratory culture (in
vitro). Livingston, along with microbiologist Eleanor Alexander-
Jackson, cell cytologist Irene Diller, and chemist and TB expert
Florence Seibert, all reported that the cancer germ was pleomorphic
(meaning it has various appearing growth forms) and was filterable,
indicating that in certain stages of its life cycle the microbe was
virus-like and submicroscopic. Bacteria can be seen with the light
microscope; the much smaller viruses cannot. (For more information on
the acid-fast stain, mycobacteria, and pleomorphism, simply Google
those key words.)
- What do
the bacteria in cancer look like? Cancer microbes in vivo are primarily
in the cell-wall-deficient (CWD) form. As a result of the loss of a
cell wall, the bacteria appear as round, coccus-like, granular forms
that are found both within the cell (intracellular) and outside the
cell (extracellular). Various types of bacteria may all look similar
when in the CWD form. In the body and in the laboratory CWD bacteria
(also known as "mycoplasma") have the amazing capacity to enlarge in
size. These so-called round "large bodies" can attain the size of red
blood cells and even larger. When seen in cancerous tissue these large
bodies of bacteria can resemble large spore forms of yeasts and fungi,
perhaps explaining why some researchers claim Candida and other fungi
are the cause of cancer.
nineteenth century "parasite of cancer" is now recognized by
pathologists as "Russell bodies." Pathologists generally believe these
large forms are "immunoglobulins" and they do not accept them as
microbial in origin. It is my contention that Russell bodies represent
large, variably-sized CWD forms of bacteria in vivo; and that is why
both coccal forms of CWD bacteria, as well as Russell bodies, can both
be identified in cancerous tissue. (For more details and
microphotographs, see my paper "The Russell body: The forgotten clue to
the bacterial cause of cancer," posted on the joimr.org and the
rense.com websites; and view my video lecture "The cancer microbe and
the Russell body," currently available on Youtube.com.)
aren't cancer bacteria recognized by pathologists and oncologists? As
mentioned, bacteria were excluded a century ago, and medical science
never looked back. The result was that any physician who persisted in
cancer microbe research was never taken seriously and was often viewed
as a medical pariah. There are less than a handful of living physicians
in the world who actively promote cancer microbe research. Erik Enby is
a 70 year-old Swedish physician, whose accomplishments are cited in the
Wikipedia. Nevertheless, his medical license has recently been revoked
by the government for his belief in cancer-causing bacteria. I am
currently regarded by the Wikipedia as a "conspiracy theorist in the
field of cancer microbiology."
largely ignored, the microbiology of cancer has a rich history. Details
of this research can be found in my books, The Cancer Microbe, and Four
Women Against Cancer: Bacteria, Cancer, and the Origin of Life.
present, doctors generally regard cancer-associated bacteria as
laboratory "contaminants" of no consequence, or as "secondary invaders"
of diseased tissue. However, cancer bacteria can be observed in
precancerous conditions and in areas distant from the tumor. In
general, microbiologists have been silent regarding bacteria in cancer
and some remain skeptical about bacterial pleomorphism. Over the past
decade British microbiologist Milton Wainwright has written extensively
about the history of the cancer microbe and his reports are easily
accessible on the Net. In Current Trends in Microbiology in 2006, he
wrote: "There are signs that more consideration is being given towards
the potential role of non-virus microorganisms in cancer, a fact
reflected in the recent appearance of major reviews on the subject, and
the consideration of novel approaches such as the possible role of
nanobacteria in carcinogenesis. It remains probable however, that until
the potential role of non-virus microorganisms in carcinogenesis is
taken seriously, and a massive research effort is directed towards
determining their role in carcinogenesis, we will face another century
when the solution to the enigma of cancer may be staring us in the
face, only to remain ignored."
retrospect, it was premature and irrational a century ago to discard
bacteria in cancer because the science of bacteriology was in its
infancy. Nothing was known about CWD forms and filterable virus-like
forms of bacteria. The recent acceptance (after a century) of bacteria
(Helicobacter pylori) as the cause of most stomach ulcers is a case in
point. For several decades after his 1940 discovery of peculiar
S-shaped bacteria in stomach ulcers, A. Stone Freedberg MD stood alone.
His research was totally ignored because doctors believed that bacteria
could not exist in the acid environment of the stomach. A half century
later, these same bacteria were finally accepted and are now a major
factor in the development of stomach cancer. Two Australian scientists
(Barry Marshall and Robin Warren) received a Nobel Prize in Medicine in
2005 for proving this. Interestingly, in 1998, a new tumor-like stomach
lesion was discovered called "Russell body gastritis."
order to recognize CWD bacteria in cancer in vivo, one must know what
they look like. Physicians are taught that bacteria have a certain
fixed type of appearance. Most know little about the pleomorphism of
CWD bacteria, particularly the acid-fast mycobacteria. In TB the
microscopic appearance of the typical red- staining "acid-fast"
rod-shaped bacillus of M. tuberculosis is well-known. However, the
pleomorphic CWD forms of M. tuberculosis and mycobacteria look entirely
different from the typical rod form. CWD forms in vivo appear primarily
as small, round coccal and granular forms. They stain poorly, if at
all, with the time-honored Gram stain for bacteria. In addition, the
routine stain (hematoxylin-eosin stain) used by pathologists to
diagnose cancer is not suitable to demonstrate CWD bacteria. To
demonstrate the typical red-staining rods of M. tuberculosis, an
"acid-fast" stain in required.
in cancer an acid-fast stain is necessary. However, in cancer it is
almost impossible to find acid-fast rods typical of mycobacteria. As a
result of all this, CWD bacteria in cancer are not recognized; and the
large body forms are passed over as Russell bodies of dubious
significance. Examples of the microscopic appearance of intra- and
extracellular cancer microbes in acid-fast stained tissue sections
(viewed at a magnification of 1000 times, in oil) are shown in breast
cancer, lung cancer, Hodgkin's disease (lymphoma), Kaposi's sarcoma,
AIDS-related immunoblastic sarcoma, and prostate cancer in Figures 1-7.
Note that the microscopic appearance of CWD bacteria in vivo appears
similar in various types of cancer, and consists primarily of small
coccoid forms, resembling the size and shape of ordinary staphylococci.
the cancer microbe be seen in diseases other than cancer? Further
complicating the bacteriology of cancer is the observation that
similar-appearing microbes can be seen in vivo in certain chronic
diseases, such as lupus, scleroderma, sarcoidosis, and others.(For
details, consult my papers posted on the joimr.org website.) Livingston
claimed that all human beings carried cancer microbes; and she
postulated these microbes were closely connected with the origin of
life. In the healthy state these microbes caused no harm and were
beneficial. However, when the immune system was weakened, these
bacteria were capable of inducing a variety of human illnesses,
including cancer. CWD bacteria may
to be the cause of many illnesses currently regarded as "of unknown
etiology." Because submicroscopic forms of CWD bacteria are
virus-sized, they may be confused with ordinary viruses. CWD bacteria
are also resistant to antibiotics and are difficult (if not impossible)
to eradicate or subdue, at least in the current state of our knowledge.
these microbes the true cause of cancer? Although bacteria can be
identified in cancer, there are obviously other well-known factors that
can induce cancer, such as sunlight in skin cancer, smoking in lung
cancer, radiation-induced cancer, etc. But in each case it may require
these ever-present bacteria to induce the cellular changes of cancer.
The demonstration that these microbes are found within the cell and
even within the nucleus (as shown by Irene Diller) indicates that these
agents may access the genetic material of the cell, thereby
transforming the cell to a cancerous state. In this respect, CWD forms
may act like viruses. Studies by Douglas Robinson MD show that bacteria
(like viruses) may swap genes back and forth between the infected cell
and the microbe.
- If cancer
is finally accepted as an infection with bacteria it could explain why
some people develop two or more different kinds of cancer in their
lifetime. At present, physicians believe each type of cancer is
different, each requiring its own special type of treatment. Because
physicians do not believe in the existence of a cancer microbe, there
has been no therapy devised to treat this infection. In my view,
Virginia Livingston's greatest contribution was her observation that
the microbe could be detected in all cancers in vivo with an acid-fast
stain. Only when physicians learn to recognize and accept these
infectious bacteria in cancer can we begin to design appropriate
therapies against them.
- (Dr. Cantwell is a retired dermatologist. A
full list of his published scientific reports can be found at the
books are available through Aries Rising Press
(www.ariesrisingpress.com) and also through Amazon.com and Book
Clearing House @ 1-800-431-1579. E-mail: email@example.com.)
- Selected Bibliography:
E. A specific type of microorganism isolated from animal and human
cancer: bacteriology of the organism. Growth. 1954 Mar;18(1):37-51.
- Broxmeyer L.Is cancer just an incurable
infectious disease? Med Hypotheses. 2004;63(6):986-96. Review.
AR, Craggs E, Wilson JW, Swatek F. Acid-fast bacteria as a possible
cause of scleroderma. Dermatologica. 1968: 136:141-150.
AR. Histologic forms resembling "large bodies" in scleroderma and
pseudoscleroderma. Amer J Dermatopathol. 1980; 2:273-276.
AR, Rowe L. African "eosinophilic bodies" in vivo in two American men
with Kaposi's sarcoma and AIDS. J Dermatol Surg Oncol. 1985
AR, Kelso DW, Jones JE. Histologic observations of coccoid forms
suggestive of cell wall deficient bacteria in cutaneous and systemic
- Int J Dermatol. 1982 Nov;21(9):526-37.
AR. Variably acid-fast cell wall-deficient bacteria as a possible cause
of dermatologic disease. In, Domingue GJ (Ed). Cell Wall Deficient
Bacteria. Reading: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co; 1982. Pp. 321-360.
- Cantwell A. The Cancer Microbe. Los
Angeles: Aries Rising Press; 1990.
- Cantwell A. Four Women Against Cancer:
Bacteria, Cancer and the Origin of Life, Los Angeles: Aries Rising
L. Morphology and reproductive processes of bacteria with defective
cell walls. In, Guze LB (Ed). Microbial Protoplasts, Spheroplasts and
L-Forms. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins Company; 1968, Pp 74-93.
- Diller IC, Diller WF. Intracellular
acid-fast organisms isolated from malignant tissues. Trans Amer Micr
Soc. 1965; 84:138-148.
- Ewing J. The parasitic theory. In, Ewing J
(Ed), Neoplastic Diseases (Ed 1); Philadelphia: Saunders; 1919. Pp
- Gaylord HR. The protozoon of cancer. Amer J
Med Sci. 1901;121:501-539.
- Glover TJ. The bacteriology of cancer.
Canada Lancet Pract. 1930; 75:92-111.
R, Seeliger H. Problems of differential diagnosis of blastomyces and
Russell bodies. Arch Dermatol Res. 1981;270(4):381-5.
- Hess D. Can Bacteria Cause Cancer? New
York:New York University Press; 1997.
- Jetha N, Priddy RW. Exact nature of Russell
bodies still an enigma. Am J Clin Pathol. 1984 Apr;81(4):545.
DF, Eisenberg D. Russell's fuchsine body. "The characteristic organism
of cancer". Am J Dermatopathol. 1981 Spring;3(1):55-8.
- Mattman LH. Cell Wall Deficient Forms (Ed
2). Boca Raton:CRC Press; 1993.
- Mazet G. Corynebacterium, tubercle bacillus
and cancer. Growth. 1974; 38:
RW, Vali H, Lau PC, Palfree RG, De Ciccio A, Sirois M, Ahmad D,
Villemur R, Desrosiers M, Chan E. Are there naturally occurring
pleomorphic bacteria in the blood of healthy humans? J Clin Microbiol.
JW. The experimental production of metastasizing carcinoma of the
breast of the dog and primary epithelioma in man by repeated
inoculation of a micrococcus isolated from human breast cancer. Surg
Gynecol Obstet. 1925; 11;343-352.
DH.Pleomorphic mammalian tumor-derived bacteria self- organize as
multicellular mammalian eukaryotic-like organisms: morphogenetic
properties in vitro, possible origins, and possible roles in mammalian
'tumor ecologies'. Med Hypotheses. 2005;64(1): 177-85.
- Russell W. An address on a characteristic
organism of cancer. Br Med J. 1890; 2:1356-1360.
- Russell W. The parasite of cancer. Lancet.
- Scott MJ. The parasitic origin of
carcinoma. Northwest Med.
FB, Feldmann FM, Davis RL, Richmond IS. Morphological, biological, and
immunological studies on isolates from tumors and leukemic bloods. Ann
N Y Acad Sci. 1970 Oct 30;174(2):690-728.
GG, Bondi A, Paparelli M, Sprovieri G. Electron microscopical evidence
of the evolution of corynebacteria-like microorganisms within human
erythrocytes. Experientia. 1978 Apr 15;34(4):458-60.
- Wainwright M. Highly pleomorphic
staphylococci as a cause of cancer. Med Hypotheses. 2000 Jan;54(1):91-4.
Caspe-Livingston V, Alexander-Jackson E, Anderson JA, et al. Cultural
properties and pathogenicity of certain microorganisms obtained from
various proliferative and neoplastic diseases. Amer J Med Sci. 1950;
Livingston V, Livingston AM. Demonstration of Progenitor cryptocides in
the blood of patients with collagen and neoplastic diseases. Trans NY
Acad Sci. 1972; 174 (2):636-654.
- Young J. Description of an organism
obtained from carcinomatous growths. Edinburgh Med J. 1921; 27:212-221.
- LEGEND FOR PHOTOGRAPHS (7)
1. Tissue section of breast cancer showing (in center) tightly-packed
intracellular coccoid forms with some forms loosely attached to the
- Figure 2. Additional
view of breast cancer showing two areas (one below center and the other
on the right) of intracellular coccoid forms.
- Figure 3. Tissue section of lung cancer
showing tightly-packed intracellular coccoid forms.
4. Tissue section of Hodgkin's disease showing intracellular and
extracellular coccoid forms in the connective tissue at autopsy.
- Figure 5. Tissue section of fatal
AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma of the skin showing two foci of coccoid
6. Tissue section of fatal case of AIDS-related immunoblastic sarcoma
of the face. Three red-stained typical acid- fast rods are seen in the
center. These forms are extremely rare in cancer. Mycobacterium
avium-intracellulare was cultured from the tumor.
- Figure 7. Tissue section from prostate
cancer showing a focus of closely-knit coccoid forms as well as
- Alan Cantwell M.D.
- Author - AIDS & The Doctors of Death
- and Queer Blood
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