SCIENTIFIC THERAPY AND PRACTICAL RESEARCH 1925
Wm. F. Koch. Ph. D. M.D.
December 15, 1925
William Frederick Koch was born in Detroit, April 6, 1885. He received his early education in the schools of Detroit and his collegiate education at the University of Michigan from which he received the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1909, the degree of Master of Arts in 1910 and the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in 1917. He taught four years in the University of Michigan, two years (1910-1912) as Assistant in Physiology, and two years (1912-1914) as Instructor in Histology and Embryology. In 1914, he was made Professor of Physiology of the Detroit College of Medicine a position which he held for years. He received the degree of Doctor of Medicine from the Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery in 1918 and was licensed to practice medicine in the state of Michigan the same year. He held the position of Pathologist at the Woman’s Hospital, Detroit, for the years (1917-1919) and has since been Consulting Pathologist to this hospital.
But the interest of the medical profession in Dr. Koch centers about this work as a research student. While at Ann Arbor he early directed his attention to the experimental study of the function of the parathyroid glands. The results of his researches were published in contributions to the Journal of Biological Chemistry, 1912 and 1913, to the Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine, I9I6, and to the Journal of Medicine and Surgery in 1917. This early work was favorably commented on in the Journal of the American Medical Association and was cited by Dr. Lewellyn F. Barker of John Hopkins. Dr. Paton of the University of Glasgow later confirmed Dr. Koch’s findings. He demonstrated in these early researches that the parathyroid glands have a protective function against the guanidine poisons.
Dr. Koch is an indefatigable worker. No sacrifice of sleep, food or pleasure was ever too much for him to make in order to stay on the job of watching the behavior of his parathyroid-ectomized dogs or of the chemicals in his retorts. Even at the University of Michigan he had many discouragements to encounter, many obstacles to overcome. One of his darkest days was when on going to his laboratory his dogs were missing and on inquiry was told that they had been killed, as there was no fund to purchase food for them. Oh, how gladly he would have sacrificed anything to have fed those dogs, if only he had been warned of what was going to happen. After going to Detroit, he continued his research, but now directed his attention primarily to the study of cancer, a subject in which his interest had been quickened by the death of his father after much suffering from cancer of the stomach. ‘Applying the results of his experiences in the study of the parathyroid glands, he undertook a study of the chemistry of the toxins present in persons afflicted with cancer. As a student of bacteriology and histology he had found what he thought was the germ of cancer, which he now believes was the motile bacillus stage of the Glover parasite. His chemical studies gave him a new concept of antitoxins, namely, that they are converted toxins. His final conclusions were that cancer is a germ disease, that the cancer tumor is an effort on the part of Nature to produce a protecting gland whose function is the conversion of toxins into antitoxins, and his final accomplishment was the production of a ‘synthetic antitoxin’ which when injected into the cancer sufferer causes the conversion of the toxins into antitoxins and as a consequence of the digestion and absorption of the cancer tumor, the reconstruction of damaged parts and the relief of all toxic symptoms. In short, he had been able to work out on the observed facts that he finds are incontrovertible, and the establishment of the immunity process, to offer to the medical profession a substance which was not only a cure for cancer but a protective against cancer and an immunizing agent against the recurrence of cancer.’
Preliminary reports of his findings were published in the Detroit Medical Journal, July 1919, and in the New York Medical Record, October 30, 1920. Since then the way of the searcher for truth, and the benefactor of humanity have been beset with many difficulties. He, like Holmes, Semmelweis, Lister and other contributors to scientific therapy, has been denounced by his former associates, by dominant members of the medical profession and by medical bodies and their official journals. He has suffered the loss of his professorship and the loss of his membership in the local medical society and, par consequence, in the American Medical Association.
But Dr. Koch is the type of man who having observed facts that he finds are incontrovertible, does not give up in discouragement. Even though he has not been able to get a medical committee to conduct a proper examination into the clinical value of his treatment for cancer (such an examination would require at least six months of observation of cases) he has kept doggedly at the research, has made important changes in the original formula of his synthetic antitoxin, has made many valuable clinical observations and is really gradually attracting the attention of worth while men to his work.
Through the Journal of the American Association for ‘Medico-Physical Research’ the work of Dr. Koch has within the last few months been brought to the attention of 15,000 to 20,000 physicians, many of whom are watching his work with interest, particularly since the studies of other men have brought forth what seems to be conclusive evidence of the parasitic origin of cancer—the isolation, culturing, sub-culturing of the germ and the tracing of its life history.