Nebraska Academy of Sciences


Date of this Version



1989: Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences XVII: 117-119. Copyright © 1989 Krush


Dr. Ernest F. Bashford, an English physician,lived from 1873 to 1923. For many years before his untimely death, he was an officer for the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. From articles in the British Medical Journal and other publications, Bashford prepared a volume of reprints (1903-1909) concerning problems, growth, and heredity of cancer, and experiments with breast cancer in mice. Cancer had been studied histologically and clinically, with only speculation as to its origin, nature, and cause in man. He suggested cooperative studies by investigators in many different fields. Concerned with why the growth of cancer seemed limitless, and with problems of age dependence, he and his associates studied cancer in a short-lived animal, the mouse, comparing it with man. They transferred cancer cells from infected mice to cancer-free mice and found that sites of cancer were determined by age at maturity, involution of an organ, and chronic irritation or injury to a part; they concluded that surgery for early-stage cancer would save lives. They also studied cancer resistance in mice. Because implanted cancer was rejected by certain mice, Bashford concluded that cancer was sporadic and not hereditary.

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