Cancer affects millions of Americans each year and countless studies have been done to understand this disease. One such study has been on the possibility that bacteria are the cause, and not the result, of cancerous cells. In this report, I plan to explain the discovery of and research done on these pleomorphic bacteria and the association they have with cancer and cancer-like malignancies.
Unicellular bodies were once thought to be simple in nature. Prokaryotes such as bacteria were, and for the most part still are, expected to be simple. They have simple bodies, simple functions and simple devices for survival and reproduction. Because they are relatively large (in a microscopic sense), we were able to observe them in their natural living state through even rudimentary light microscopes. When the discovery of DNA prompted the development of electron microscopes to view smaller and smaller things, we began subjective observations into the sub-microscopic world. By subjective, I mean that any observation of living specimens under the electron microscope would only be like a snapshot in time. The electron bombardment would kill any living cell under observation, so unlike the light microscope which allows us to observe the living state of a microorganism, the electron microscope allows only a brief, but much more detailed glimpse. Why is this subjective? Because by only viewing a fraction of what is happing at any one time, one can only describe what is there in the present; not what was or will be. It would be like surmising a movie when you only see a single frame.
As early as the 1920’s, Dr. Royal Raymond Rife designed and built five of the most powerful compound optical microscopes of the day . These powerful machines were able to observe magnifications up to 20,000x and a resolution of 31,000 diameters, up from 2000-2500 for laboratory microscopes at the time . This allowed him to view organisms smaller than prokaryotes in their natural living state. Rife and a team of researchers including John Crane were able to isolate and culture what he termed Bacillus X, because it much smaller than normal bacilli. Rife also found it to be filterable in the W Berkfeld filter, a filter designed to filter cellular matter from non-cellular objects (or bacteria and viruses, respectively) . This important discovery showed that what he observed was not quite a virus, but certainly smaller than bacteria. Through a series of inoculations in which lab rats were injected with the BX ‘virus’, Rife observed tumor growth and was able to extract BX microbes from the lesions. Culturing the extracted microbes, he observed the same properties as the original injected ones had. In his research, Rife observed a filterable form (BX), a nonfilterable form termed BY, a larger monococcoid form he said was found in over 90% of cancer patients’ blood, and finally a fungal form. He also proposed each form could revert back to the original within 36 hours with adequate medium .
The idea of pleomorphism developed in the 1920s which stated bacteria were form-changing. They could, under the right conditions, metamorphize into forms small enough to pass through filters just like viruses. At the same time, the original school of thought, the monomorphics, did not believe an organism can change shape and held to the belief that bacteria cannot be filtered. These two views became known as the filtrationists and the non-filtrationists, respectively. Studies supporting the filtrationist idea include the works of Swedish physician Ernst Almquist (1922) who made hundreds of observations of pleomorphic bacteria, and German bacteriologist Robert Koch (1883) who proved tuberculosis was apparently caused by the tubercule bacillus.
Koch was not only instrumental in the early days of the filtrationist movement but also advocated that simply finding the organism in a tumor does not necessarily imply they are the cause. He stated four important postulates :
1. The organism must be found in all animals suffering from the disease but not in healthy animals.
2. The organism must be isolated from a diseased animal and grown in pure culture.
3. The cultured organism should cause disease when introduced into a healthy animal.
4. The organism must be reisolated from the experimentally infected animal.
Initially, the so-called pleomorphic microbacteria that happen to be found in cancerous lesions were disregarded as contaminants. However in over 100 laboratory trials, observing Koch's guidelines, Rife observed lesions develop. From each excised lesion, the BX form was recovered in all cases .
Also in the 1920s, Dr. John Nuzum of the University of Illinois College of Medicine was able to culture an unusual bacteria from breast cancer samples. He first observed small coccal forms, but showed it could enlarge into rod-shaped bacteria that could connect to form chains depending on the medium. Further change in the medium could produce microbes as large as yeast and fungal-like spores. Nuzum noted these microbes could pass through a bacterial filter proving some forms of the microbe were a size similar to viruses . Dr. James Young of Edinburgh, Scotland too viewed bacteria in 16 cases of breast cancer where he identified “spore forms” in his samples . Dr. Michael Scott, in a separate study, described the life cycle of this strange bacillus in rods, spore/coccus-like forms, and large spore-sacs resembling a fungus .
In the 1940s, Dr. Virginia Livingston-Wheeler and Dr. Eleanor Alexander-Jackson used an acid-fast stain test that allowed them to view the microbe within a cancer tumor. They too found it to be filterable and used an electron microscope to show these bacteria were similar in size to that of a virus. They called the microbe Progenitor Cryptocide, meaning “hidden killer” in Greek. Livingston believed cell wall deficient bacteria could become carcinogenic and immunity to these bacteria would produce immunity to corresponding forms of cancer . Later, in the 1950s, Dr. Irene Diller of the Institute for Cancer Research found fungal-like microbes in cancer cells. By injecting healthy mice with the isolated microbe, she observed tumors develop and was able to culture the microbe out of the tumors. In later studies, she showed she could grow the microbe from the blood of cancer patients .
In the 1960s, Dr. Florence Seibert, most notably known for perfecting the Tuberculosis skin test, was also able to isolate bacteria from samples of tumor. Seibert observed the virus-like forms of the microbe within the nucleus of cancer cells and theorized this infection could disrupt and transform nuclear material that could lead to malignant change. In 1968 she wrote, “One of the most interesting properties of these bacteria is their great pleomorphism. For example, they readily change their shape from round cocci to elongated rods and even to thread-like filaments depending on what medium they grow on and how long they grow. …And even more interesting that this is the fact that these bacteria have a filterable form in their life cycle …” Seibert was able to culture pleomorphic organisms from the blood of leukemia patients, supporting the Diller experiments . Seibert showed throughout her experiments that the microbes observed in tumors were not laboratory contaminants as previously believed because her research team was able to isolate the microbes from every tumor sample studied .
In the 1970s, the US National Institute of Health launched a full-scale investigation into the cause of cancer, concluding that the so-called “cancer virus” was the result of a change in body chemistry preceding cancer . Though it simply reiterated what was being said for the past hundred years, it gave additional weight for filtrationists.
The studies of cell wall-deficient bacteria and “mycoplasma-like” bacteria (bacteria which are both bacterial and viral-like) have begun to blur the dogma surrounding the absolute non-correlation between viruses and bacteria. The long standing argument against pleomorphism is how bacteria change into smaller forms if they could not break out of their cell wall . However, recent developments have shown various bacterial forms having abnormalities in their cellular walls. Dr. Linda Mattman explains how bacteria could change into virus-like forms simply by having cell wall deficiencies and also says, “…most malignancies are accompanied by an immuno-deficiency… Therefore, we could be dealing with microbe that finds such a host merely a suitable environment suitable for habitation.” This statement supports Rife’s in that the medium is the catalyst for change and leads to pathogenic bacterial forms . Being able to express its DNA differently depending on environmental factors in both cellular form and cellular wall structure brings new light to the complexity of even the simplest organism’s genomic sequence.
As described by Rife, the expression of pleomorphic capabilities is not sporadic but the result of a change in the medium, or milieu. Many studies have narrowed down the exact changes that must occur to induce change.
In 1916, Dr. Günther Enderlein noted the presence of protein-based microorganisms in the blood and plasma of animals. Enderlein explained how these micro-organisms could change in form through cyclic variations and how they could move and unite with other microorganisms and suddenly disappear. Perhaps what he was seeing was the infection of a cell by the virus-like form of a bacterium. He also noted that a pH change in either direction of normal blood pH levels would cause these harmless microbes to become pathogenic . During the 1920s, Rife discovered that the nutrient content of the medium affected the pleomorphic properties of his cultures. By changing the nutrient content of the medium by only a few parts per million, he could induce a filterable form of his BX samples . In 1933, Dr. Wilhem von Brehmer took research one step further and identified the blood parasite as Sipohonospora Polymorpha, a bacterial form of the fungi Mucor racemosusas, as a carcinogenic agent. He too found lower alkali levels in the blood repressed the growth of the pathogenic rod form .
Dr. John Nuzum, Micheal Scott and James Young, working independently of one another, all observed the ability of bacteria cultured from tumor samples to change form depending on how it was cultured as well as the oxygen content supplied for growth and age of the culture. In this find, the oxygen content of the bloodstream could promote or inhibit growth of the cancerous form of the microbe .
Where Do These Microorganisms Come From?
We'd like to think various diseases come from the environment --- something external so that we may simply put up a barrier to protect ourselves. Asthma sufferers do not go outside, hemophiliacs avoid knives, and people with immune deficiencies do not seek public places during the flu season. But when the enemy is within, how do we protect ourselves? How do we protect ourselves when we don't even know what causes our sickness?
The answer could be in the age-old ritual of staying healthy. Sir Albert Howard describes his observations on a particular group of well-fed livestock and their reactions to epidemic diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease. He noted that while none were inoculated nor segregated from infected animals, none became infected. He explains this 'immunity' to well-nourished protoplasm . Andre Voisin, in an unrelated study, noted the increased susceptibility to foot-and-mouth disease in cattle grazing in areas of high lime soil content verses sandy or granite areas . He explains the copper deficiency in the areas with lime prevented the animals from producing enough catalase, the predominant protective enzyme in the immune system. Voisin also noted in regard to tuberculosis: "The lungs of each one of us are inhabited by millions of tuberculosis bacilli, which we manage to accommodate quite well. They live there very peacefully without delivering frenzied attacks against our cells. Why then, do they suddenly thrust themselves upon one of our organs (most often the lungs) and make us tuberculosis sufferers?" Voisin demonstrated that defective nutrition is the cause of many diseases, simply because the changed internal milieu forces a change in the symbiotic microbes within our bodies.
The 1920s experiment of Nuzum described earlier yielded still valuable information on the spread of cancer as well as its cause. Nuzum injected the groin of a 70 year old man with bacteria he cultured from breast cancer tissue. During an 18-week period, he observed the formation of skin cancer . This gave significant proof that microbes responsible for producing one type of cancer could produce a different kind depending on their location in the body. Normally, when the body is healthy and the immune system is balanced, these microbes are harmless. But when tissues are damaged or diseased and other conditions are right, they can become pathogenic. The studies of Rife, Livingston, Diller, et cetera has proved malignancies can occur from a changed form of normally symbiotic bacteria found within us.
It has been observed that viruses are responsible for certain cancers, but the question of where they come from remains. If an environmental change could cause the expression of pleomorphic genes in a common bacillus, producing these viruses, would we be able to find a cure for cancer by fighting the source? Knowing that one kind of cancer can cause another kind, could immunity to a bacterium prevent cancers associated with that bacterium? What about changing our body’s milieu back to normal through ‘alternative medicine’?
Studies already support viruses causing cancer. The Human Papilloma Virus types 6 and 11 have been linked to cervical cancer and a vaccine has already been created (though under much controversy). The Epstin-Barr virus, commonly referred to as the 'kissing disease,' was first observed in Africa during certain climate changes. Under observation through an electron microscope, Epstein and Barr identified a virus as the culprit. Where it came from, they could not determine, but the evidence of its propagation under a certain climate suggests a corresponding microbial activity. Hepatitis B and C also cause cancer through a viral infection. Most diseases associated with viruses can be extinguished through antiviral inoculations, such as the ones we already take during our childhood. But there are cases where alternative treatment has proven just as effective.
A rare from of lung cancer, Spindle Cell Carcinoma (SCC) represents 0.2-0.3% of all pulmonary malignancies. With a death rate of up to 90%, the chance of survival is very low, even with chemotherapy and surgery. Dr. Mainwaring, Poor, Zander and Harman note the story of a 47-year old woman who was diagnosed with SCC . SCC is like carninosarcoma in that it contains malignant epithelial and sarcomatous elements. Because it spreads into vital organs, the only possible hope of recovery is to excise the complete mass. However, for the patient at hand, radiation treatment showed no signs of progress, and the patient opted for alternative treatment in the form of daily Germanium supplements acquired from a health food store. “>4 years after initial diagnosis, the patient continues to show no evidence of recurrent disease and has also continued to take low-dose germanium sesquioxide. The patient denies any significant side effects from her treatment.” Perhaps the Germanium helped rebalance the body’s milieu causing the cancerous cells to recess. In this observation of alternative medicine, the balance of one’s internal milieu could reset a cancer as life-threatening as SCC back to its docile form.
There are three important statements to the theory of pleomorphic bacteria causing cancer:
1. Certain bacteria are pleomorphic.
2. These bacteria are found naturally within the body.
3. These bacteria cause cancerous growths or other malignancies related to tumor growth and can be isolated.
Dr. M. E. Onwuamaegbu remarked on the absoluteness that cell wall-deficient bacteria (CWDB) are pleomorphic bacterial forms in The Journal of International Medical Research and how it has been known throughout the century . Dr. P.B. Macomber of the University of South Florida School of Medicine states that bacteria responsible for cancerous tumors to have characteristics synonymous with CWDB and notes they can be observed using darkfield microscopy . Adding the observations of Rife, Livingston and the rest give significant proof of the existence of pleomorphic bacteria through the abnormalities in their cell walls.
Concluding the existence of pleomorphic bacteria through cell wall-deficient bacteria, we must now find proof these microorganisms are found within the body of a healthy individual as well as the cancerous tissue of a tumor. Dr. Richard McLaughlin observed using dark-field microscopy the presence of pleomorphic microorganisms in the blood of healthy individuals. He further identified these organisms by analysis of their 16S rRNA and gyrB genes . The studies of Dr. Douglas Robinson, Milton Wainwright and J. Charles, in separate studies, conclude a highly pleomorphic bacterium is present in mammalian tumors and can be isolated in all cases. Robinson explains how these pleomorphic bacteria “self-organize in vitro mammalian tissue-like morphogenetic patterns consisting of multicellular tissue-like sheets and capillary-like networks.” He proposes these bacteria actually express mammalian tissue morphogenesis-related genes through prokaryote-eukaryote DNA transfer . Therefore, the interaction of CWDB and eukaryotic tissue cells may be an infectious relationship. Wainwright notes the similarities of an observed pleomorphic bacteria isolated from a canine mammary tumor and the Glover organism, considered a ‘cancer-germ’. He continues to propose the Glover organism and other cancer-related bacteria are a strain of the observed pleomorphic bacteria, Bacillus Licheniformis . Stressing the importance of multiple results from the same source, a single bacterium could be the result of many diseases and carcinogenic bacteria. Charles concludes from his study on Canine Granuloma Syndrome suggesting a saprophytic mycobacterium involvement. He also notes the presence of pleomorphic bacteria ranging from long, slender filaments to short, beaded bacilli and even coccoid forms .
Macomber explains how cancer can be induced by injecting CWDB into the blood of experimental animals and how some forms of cancer can be prevented by a revaccination of the bacteria. The bacteria also are observed regularly producing a protein resembling Chorionic Gonadotropin Hormone which apparently protects trophoblastic and cancer cells from being recognized by the immune system. Macomber also points out some evidence showing that a plasmid may be responsible for this protein and these bacteria may even be associated intimately with retroviruses ! The observations of Charles in the CLG syndrome experiment conclude with the proposed involvement of mycobacterium, and the experiments of Rife and the earlier researchers show how the injection of pleomorphic bacteria cause the development of tumors.
Experiments have shown that pleomorphic bacteria exist and are accepted to exist by most scientists, and that these bacteria can be isolated from healthy individuals’ blood. The clinical significance of these bacteria causing cancer or cancer-like malignancies is still under debate and hotly contested. Even Onwuamaegbu concludes from review of past research on the disease-causing capabilities of CWDB that the evidence supporting such views is “not compelling” and Macomber stresses further studies must be done to clarify the role bacteria play in cancer. However Cantwell , Wainwright , Robinson , and Charles believe bacterial involvement with cancer-like diseases and show these conclusions in their individual studies.
The Cancer Dogma
The current dogma associated with the cause of cancer is mixed. The common response is radiation, carcinogens and family history. Others include diet, certain hormones and even alcohol. A growing number of cancerous microbes have been discovered and even listed on the National Cancer Institutes's list of causes. Identified include HPV, HTLV-1, AIDS, Hepatitis A and B . However, a greater stress is placed on carcinogenic materials such as tobacco smoke or on radiation such as sunlight or overexposure to X-Rays.
There is evidence of chemical carcinogens causing Angiogenic Squamous Dysplasia (ASD) lesions within the lungs and has been associated with elevated levels of vascular endothelial growth factor. Studies show this is caused through carcinogenic material inhaled from the environment, most notably cigarette smoke, and not through pleomorphic carcinogenic bacteria. Dr. Wilbert A. Franklin said in his Premalignant Evolution of Lung Cancer study: “Although morphologic changes are the current standard for the diagnosis and documentation of premalignant changes in the lower airways, an increasing body of evidence indicates that molecular abnormalities could be used to identify and treat individuals who are at high risk for invasive lung cancer. Like other tumors, lung cancer is now thought to be the result of a stepwise accumulation of molecular abnormalities in benign precursor cells. These abnormalities occur as a direct result of DNA damage caused by the carcinogens in cigarette smoke.”
And while much is associated with external conditions, family history remains a reliable prognosis to fall back on when radiation and carcinogens have been ruled out. This class of diagnosis is linked with the “cumulative genetic mutations” that cause cancerous growths. My mother, who was diagnosed with cancer a while back, was told her condition was a result of family predisposition to cancer, namely her mother.
We know bacteria can cause many diseases and we know there are viruses that cause cancer, but the relationship between viruses and bacteria is still unclear. Most of our knowledge comes from research done by the fathers of microbiology. Even so, there are dozens of researchers who come to the same conclusion on pleomorphism and even observe the same forms in the bacterial life cycle as described by Scott. Through countless studies and observations, the link between pleomorphic bacteria and cancer has stood the test of time. Recent studies have noted pleomorphic bacteria associated with cancer and researchers even today have continued to propose more studies undertaken to understand the association.
It is my understanding that an association between cancer and bacteria has been shown in numerous reports over the last century. I recommend more studies be undertaken to reveal this association and am quite sure there is more to meets the eye of our current understanding.
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• Rife, R. R. Research on Bacillus X (Cancer Virus) and Methods and Techniques of Isolation. About Royal Rife Online. http://www.aboutroyalrife.com/articles/bacillus-research.htm .
• Robinson, D. H. 2004. 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. Medical Hypotheses. 64(1): 177-185.
• Wainwright, M. 2003. Is This The Historical Cancer Germ? Medical Hypotheses. 60(2): 290-2.
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