People sit on benches in a waiting area. Nurses move about, escorting people to their destinations. Raymond Massey Look beneath the rooftops of the world. Through all the lands into the houses of healing. Within the past hundred years, we have taken an upward road. Where once was despair, today there is knowledge, skill, and healing. Here, the walls echo with the great names of healing. Pasteur, Ehrlich, Lister, Curie. Consider the disease skip in audio then in Toronto Banting and Best found the treatment insulin. Tetanus. Yesterday, tetanus killed. Then the Japanese Kitasato found the answer.
Pernicious anemia, death once. From Boston, came the discoveries of Minot, Murphy, and Whipple. With such great victories behind it, science turns to the most fearsome disease still threatening man. Dramatic music A man dressed in a suit speaks to a nurse. The man and the nurse walk up a flight of stairs. Dr. McVicker Dr. Ross Dr. Ross Probably emacerated a bit in preparation. Only a few days ago, malignant. That’s through the cheekbone. Dr. McVicker Occlusion body state well, Ross Dr. Ross Yeah. Raymond Massey Three men concentrating on a lantern slide. A photograph of human tissue.
Knock at door Dr. Ross Mr. Davis, come in. Come in, won’t you How do you feel today Mr. Davis Very well, thank you. Dr. Ross Well, that’s fine. Some of my colleagues would like to have a look at you. Now this is Dr. McVicker and Dr. Romm. Matter of fact, we’ve just been having a look at a slide of your specimen. These gentleman are research scientists. Will you put your hat and coat on the chair, please Thank you. Raymond Massey Here’s a man whose body is being undermined by a strange disturbance.
Challenge Science Against Cancer Dept of Natl Health Welfare, Canada, 1950
This body, what is it How did it begin Music It begins with a fertilized human egg, a single pinpoint fragment of life, the cell. In this cell lies the power to grow. This it does by dividing, first into two. Two into four. Mitosis, the biologist calls it. A fundamental process of life, into 8, 16, and so on. Growing into a predetermined form. Growing into the human embryo. As the embryo matures, the cells develop into special structures. By the seventh week, the embryo is composed of many millions of cells grouped according to their function into developing tissues and organs.
Some make up the tissues of the hand. Others, those of the eye. Still others from the fetal heart to the adult heart. From the embryo finally emerges the complete adult man. And the adult man is an organization of billions, trillions of cells, forming the systems by which he can live, work, and reproduce. Muscles, bones. A delicate network of blood vessels, the veins, the arteries. The tireless muscles of the heart. The foodabsorbing villi of the intestine. The sugarstoring cells of the liver. Into these and many more as intricate and marvelous grow the cells.
The man is balanced, living, complete. His body has reached an invisible boundary line, and the cells stop growing. But sometimes they don’t. Sometimes something happens to start them growing again. Uncontrolled, outlawed. Dividing again. Indifferent to the laws and life of the body of which they are a part, they grow and grow, beyond all normality, pressing on healthy tissues, healthy organs, and growing. Spreading throughout the body start new malignant colonies, growing without purpose, disrupting the vital functions of the body. This is cancer. Closeup of a lesion on a man’s cheek.
Dr. McVicker This is a very interesting inaudible. Dr. Ross One of the most curable of all cancers. Dr. Romm No pain at all, Mr. Davis Mr. Davis No. Dr. Ross Mr. Davis is one of the lucky ones. Ninety chances out of a hundred, we’ll cure it. Thank you, Mr. Davis. Your treatments will begin immediately, Mr. Davis. Mr. Davis OK, doctor. Thank you. Good day. Dr. Ross Don’t worry now. Mr. Davis No, no! Dr. Ross You chaps going back to the lab Dr. McVicker Yes, I am. Dr. Ross Okay, thanks for coming.
Dr. McVicker So long! Dr. Romm Goodbye, Ross. Dr. Ross Goodbye, Romm. Dr. Ross shuts the door, turns out the light, and appears contemplative. Raymond Massey Why should the cancer problem be so difficult It’s a matter of a cell that won’t stop growing. We know that. Why not Why can’t we find the reason The world’s best minds, backed by millions in research funds, are at work on the problem. Why is it taking so long Why is the answer so difficult It is long, and it is difficult because this tiny cell, this microscopic unit of life is a very world in itself,.
A universe to be explored. Science is piercing deep into this universe, in its micron miles detecting constellations, charting them, naming them. The centrosome. The mitochondria. The golgi network. The cytoplasm. The nucleus, heart of the cell. The chromosomes. The nucleolus. Decades to chart this minute astronomy. These quivering worlds are spaced out within one single cell, yet this is only one among the billions which make up the human body. Here in this pinpoint universe lies the mystery of life and the riddle of cancer. Alive in this flask is a tiny bit of flesh.
The beat of time brings a pause to all living creatures. The span of life is measured out. Three years, three score and ten. But a bit of flesh taken from this animal can be kept living, growing. Alive. A scientist pulls up the shades in the lab, letting sunshine in. Work with bits of living animal tissue is fundamental today in the field of cancer investigation. For his experiments, the scientist can grow normal tissue as well as abnormal. In many instances, cancer cells have been grown in glass without losing their destructive malignant qualities.
Transferred to a suitable animal, they would kill it. But these bits of tissue, no longer able to draw upon the body itself for life, must be nurtured and nourished with exacting technique. The conditions under which they will live demand skillful control. Even their feeding must be conducted in sterile chambers. And they must be fed regularly with lifegiving solution. In this way, both healthy and cancerous tissue, whichever is needed for experiments, can be maintained. Tissue can be grown, cultured in eggs also, again, under controlled conditions. The cancer cells are injected into a fertilized egg.
Here, they grow, taking their nourishment from the chick embryo. And cancer tissue can also be grown in laboratory animals. Tools and techniques for this work may appear simple, but they have taken years to develop. Hundreds of samples, thousands of hours. In many ways, laboratory workers find it useful to experiment with tissue that has been removed from the body. What effect will various chemicals have How will the tissue react to changes in diet Questions. Questions about differences between normal and cancer tissue. The rate of growth can be measured and recorded stage by stage like the growth rings of a tree.
Inside each cell that makes up this living and growing mass lies the challenge and the answer. Music Within each cell are the nucleus and the centrosome. Locked inside the nucleus lie the tiny elements which control heredity. These are the chromosomes which will bestow the characteristics of the parent cell on the daughter cell. When the final birth crisis comes. When the astral body divides in the quiver of creation. Music When the interlocking chromosomes part, separate, one has become two, sharing a common inheritance. What part does heredity play in cancer.
Scientist I don’t know what you think of when you think of a hero, Kay, but you’re looking at one right now, a most important factor in our experiments. Little boy It’s sure a cute mouse. Scientist This mouse is pretty special. We can learn a lot of things from him and the other mice in my lab down the hall. For example, why you got to be so much like you mother. Raymond Massey These newborn mice have a family tree that cannot happen among humans. Brothers have been mated to sisters, generation after generation.
Until the family characteristics of each mouse are almost completely predictable. These mice will have cancer. Ninety percent of their offspring will also have cancer, and 90 percent of theirs. Scientist Here, Kay, take a look at this one. Raymond Massey However, a mouse can be bred which will have very little chance of ever developing cancer. But men are not mice. Scientist Well, let’s get things straightened up here now Raymond Massey Between one human generation and the next, there is no precisely known relationship in cancer. For the inquiring mind, the study of genetics is a journey along the entire scale of life.
A journey from the amoeba to the guinea pig. From mice to possible applications in man. When science can say with complete assurance what part genetic factors play in cancer in humans, we shall have come to a peak of discovery. To learn from mice, the scientists must study them for years, but only a few weeks are required to follow the entire lifespan of the drosophila, the common fruit fly. In ten months, the scientists can observe almost thirty generations. He has searched into the mechanics of heredity and found the chromosome.
The carriers of heredity can be changed by forces outside the cell. The normal fly can be placed under a bombardment of xrays. These xrays strike like a kind of electric hammer. This can change the chromosome so deeply that following generations may produce new and different variations. Mutants, creatures with shriveled wings. Freaks. And these can occur in many animal species, in mice, for example. Somersaulters. Circlers. And what is more, the new characteristics of these animals may be passed on from generation to generation. Is cancer due to something that changes the chromosomes of a normal cell.
Music swells and takes on a menacing tone. The world of the cell is like a complex industrial organism, carrying on all the interlocking functions necessary to life and growth. It breeds. It feeds. It transports, combines. It divides. Converts. Manufactures. Life. Life and growth. Do the life functions of a normal cell differ from those in the cancer cell If we knew, could we disrupt the cancer cell’s machinery In these glass containers are bits of cancer tissue taken from a rat. Here with this apparatus, the scientist learns about the breeding of tumor cells.
The gases they take in. Those they give off. It is part of the great investigation carried on in laboratories all over the world. The investigation into the life processes of living cells. Normal cells and cancer cells. Whirring noises of lab equipment Dr. Ross focuses on a beaker with a boiling fluid inside it. He removes the beaker from its burner other scientists are shown across from him working at the lab table. Dr. Ross There we are. Tea when you’re ready, Barbara. Dr. McVicker Did you see Reed’s article in the new journal, the tracer technique one.
Dr. Ross Yeah. I looked at it over the weekend. Nice bit of research. Dr. McVicker Yeah. He’s a good man. I’d still like to see more evidence, of course. Dr. Romm Murray. I have been hearing of the Dr. Romm Speaking French Quel est le mot pour avancement en anglais Lab Technician Pourquoi Dr. Romm Avancement. Lab Technician Avancement.progress. Dr. Rom Ah, oui. Of the progress of your work. Dr. McVicker Results are just starting to get exciting now. Dr. Ross Starting to pay off, eh Dr. McVicker About time, too. Took nearly a year to get set up, but I think we’ve got something.
Dr. Ross It’s interesting to speculate what it means if he’s right. A lot of theories are going. Lab Technician There’s ten new questions for every one that Dr. Ross That’s good to hear. How is your grant holding out Dr. McVicker Well, we’ve been pretty lucky that way. They understand the longrange nature of the problem. Dr. Ross Say, I got a letter from Carlisle this morning. Lab Technician and Dr. McVicker Oh, really Dr. Ross Yes, he’s published his paper now. Look, about this tea. Barbara, are you breaking for lunch.
Barbara In a minute. Dr. Ross He’ll be here in a minute, so. I hope you have. You’ve worked hard enough. Raymond Massey Patience, time, persistence. There is no royal road to facts, to knowledge, to understanding. No royal road to easy answers, no easy answers to great and baffling questions. Whirring of lab equipment Music Can something from outside the body invade the cell to change its behavior Music What is there in our environment that may affect the cell Music We are beginning to understand the exact relationship between the world around us and the occurrence of cancer.
Investigators carefully following up known cases are searching for the pieces of a puzzle. Pursuing a clue. We have learned, for example, that people who spend a lifetime of exposure outdoors, constantly under the sun’s rays, are more apt to develop skin cancer than indoor workers. But there are certain exceptions. Why When we find enough clues, we can begin to plan means of prevention. We need facts, statistical studies we can analyze, compare. Nurse Mrs. Jones, have any other members of your family had cancer of the breast Mrs. Jones Yes.
Nurse And how many pregnancies have you had Raymond Massey Every promising line of inquiry is being followed. Family patterns, job history. Will a thousand cases point to a common factor Statistics. Changing technology, exposure to new chemicals. Are certain cancers more common among people in particular industries Is there a tendency to be observed Statistics, throwing light on the mystery. Are certain cancers more common to men than to women Statistics. Facts to be studied. Is there something in our daily work that starts it off Science is examining every known suspect, samples collected from a hundred places,.
Breaking them down in an attempt to find the deadly factor. Research has advanced far since that year of 1918 when Japanese scientists produced a tumor on the ear of a rabbit by painting it with tar. Since then, scientists have found hundreds of compounds that can start cancers, put together models of their molecular structures. Dr. Ross How’s it coming anyway Dr. McVicker Well, we isolated an active fraction. Should look something like this. Dr. Ross This is your hydroxyl group. We’re not too sure about the amino group. Probably here.
Dr. McVicker Yeah. Raymond Massey Applied to our daily work, such research can test the effects of the chemicals we use, perhaps help to prevent cancer. But for science, there are still the questions. How and why does the chemical start cancer What does it do to the cell Questions to be answered, and the answers are coming And because of this constant search and research, a man can approach the thought of treatment with confidence. There is much that can be done now that was impossible even a few years ago.
Each day we make some progress. In the unseen laboratories behind hospital walls, scientists are working with the sensitive tools that may lead to additional weapons for healing. The exploration of known and new fields continues. There is radium therapy, the patient work that is produced and refined. Little tubes, milligrams of radium applied near the cancer growth. Radium dosage, size, and strength still being minutely studied. There are radioactive isotopes. Atomic energy turned to the uses of man. Some cancers, of the thyroid gland, for example, have shown signs of yielding to this new technique.
There is the Geiger counter itself. Its electric crackle a yardstick to measure and follow radioactive compounds within the body. Radioactive iodine, carbon, sodium, phosphorus. It is against this background of research that the patient with cancer is being treated. In the field of xray therapy, multimillion voltage weapons for producing more effective and more penetrating radiation are being developed. Nurse I’m just going to position this machine and bring the cone right down until it’s resting on your cheek Now you tell me if this is too tight, Mr. Davis.
Mr. Davis No, it’s fine. Raymond Massey Mr. Davis will be cured, but not all are as lucky as Mr. Davis. There are those with cancers, which unlike his, give few warning signs. There may be no pain, in the beginning. They lie hidden in the body. And, again, with the great advances in surgical techniques, the outlook is good. The majority of cases brought to medical care this year can be effectively treated, but it must be found soon enough. That is why science is searching for a test, a reliable test that will find cancer early while it still can be cured.
Music Scientist Leaving right away. Kids in bed He did Oh, well, put a BandAid on it. He’ll be all right in the morning. Well, still, I paid that bill at the beginning of the month, sure. Raymond Massey From his first lesson in kindergarten, it takes perhaps twenty years of study to make a scientist. Scientist The Jones No, I don’t want to go there. Tell him we can’t go. We’ve been out Raymond Massey He is a man like other men, but also he is a man whose intelligence has been alerted.
His imagination gives him special edge. He has stored within him a vast fund of knowledge drawn from the scientific harvest of the world, and in him is the agitation of a problem. Scientist He did Oh. Raymond Massey The search, a question mark. Scientist See you in half an hour. Yeah. Bye. Turns out light and walks out of lab Raymond Massey There are men like this in places like this. In Montreal and Washington, New York and Paris, London, Rome, Geneva, Stockholm. The scientist walks down a long, empty hall alone.
What is man that thou art mindful of him Music Here a challenge lies. And here a challenge has been accepted. The steady, unheroic search for a shaft of light. Music And the light may come from any work, from the study of an animal or a plant root, for cancer is common to almost all living things. Music And on this bench, on that one, in this lab and that, the search goes on. The search for an answer. Each passing day, progress. The pursuit of an idea. The exchange of new knowledge all over the world. Who is to say when the answer will finally come.
It is the answer to life for which the students of science are searching, and the problem is great. But we are surrounding it, closing in on it. More and more new minds, highly trained and training others, equipped with every skill and technique of the 20th century, are applying themselves to the work. The answer will come from the effort of many men and women. the doctor, the nurse, the chemist, the biologist, the physicist, the mathematician. All these and more advance in the dedicated search. Behind them will be the victories of other scientists,.