Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy

Coley's Toxins:
A Cancer Treatment History
by Wayne Martin, BS, ChE

I am writing this letter to reveal the
instructions for making Coley's Toxins,
a simple procedure. First, however, I
want to offer a bit of history on Coley's
Toxins.
In 1890, Dr. William Coley was a 28-
year-old surgeon in New York City.
Much of Coley's history, detailed in this
letter, comesfromStephen Hall's book,
A Commotion in the Blood (NY: Henry
Holt and Company; 1997).
In 1890, Bessie Dashiell, a young
woman in her late teens, came to Dr.
Coley with a painful injury to one hand.
The injury eventually proved to be
round cell sarcoma. Coley amputated
her hand, but the cancer spread
throughout her body, and she died a
horrible death. Coley was shaken by the
woman's death and decided there had
to be a better way to treat cancer. He
spent many hours going through the
records of New York Hospital until he
found a clue. In 1885, a poor German
immigrant named Stein had had
surgery for round cell sarcoma four
times, and his case was considered
hopeless. Then he was infected with
erysipelas. He nearly died from the
infection, but when he recovered, the
cancer was gone. Coley searched for
Stein throughout the lower East Side
ghetto until at last, six years later, he
found Stein - in the best of health.
At that point, Coley decided to infect
late-stage cancer patients with
erysipelas. His first test case was a
patient named Zola. Zola's case nearly
duplicated Stein's experience. Coley
had much trouble getting an infection
started with Zola and, when he did, it
was so severe that he feared Zola would
die of the infection. Yet, as in the case

of Stein, Zola went into a remission that
proved to be a cure.
Coley began to treat twelve late-
stage cancer patients by infecting them
with erysipelas. Two patients died from
the infection. One patient suffered from
an infection with a fever of 105°F. In
that case, the patient's tumors
disappeared, but a recurrence caused
death, Coley was unable to infect the
other nine patients.
Coley turned to a erysipelas vaccine,
killed by heating to 66°C for two hours.
This vaccine caused a mild fever
reaction, but not one strong enough to
work as an anticancer treatment. Coley
added the newly discovered Bacillus
prodigiosus - now called Serratia
mai-cescens - to the vaccine. That was
killed by heating to 66°C. This was and
is Coley's Toxins and was injected into
a tumor or done as intradermal
injections. First, the patient
experienced cold, followed by a fever of
101° to 104° for a few hours.
The first patient to be treated with
Coley's Toxins was a boy named John
Ficken. He had a large tumor of
malignant sarcoma in the abdomen that
had been like a bowling ball. His
condition was considered hopeless. On
January 24, 1893, the new Coley's
Toxins was injected into the tumor. TTie
reactions to the injections were severe
chills and fever. The injections were
done every other day for five months.
After this time, the boy's tumor had
decreased by 80%, and Coley stopped
treatment. The boy was gaining back
lost weight. He was sent home at this
time and was traced in 1907, still alive
and well. Coley had had a success with
his first cancer patient treated with
Coley's Toxins.

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