MEDICAL FRONTIERS 1.
A. N. Ferguson, M. D.
Nov. 20, 1953
During the last several years there have been three major frontiers
in Medicine. These are Cancer, Heart and Blood Vessel disease or the so-
called degenerative diseases, and infectious diseases. "While much progress
has been made in all three of these fields, exploration is still going on
and many aspects of them are tremendous challenges to us to-day.
First consider cancer. In spite of untold and laborious research,
there still remains the problem of etiology or cause; techniques for
diagnosis and detection need refinement; and treatment , while it is
often effective, frequently leaves much to be desired.
In order to appreciate the difficulties in Cancer, it is necessary
to understand its nature. What is Cancer? Quickly defined, it is
undesirable and unrestricted growth of a tissue. Cancers arise from the
cells of the body which behave as though they were mutants, with an
impaired sensitivity to the organizing influences of adjacent cells and
with growth rates greater than those of adjacent cells of the organ from
which they are derived. More simply, it is cells of a part of a body
tissue that grow wild and relatively unrestricted.
Growth is one of the most complex processes in nature, anyway. At
its inception, cells to form a body divide and begin to form tissues for
special functions. Eventually there is supporting tissue composed of
bone and connective tissue, muscular tissue for motion, collection of
various tissues for the gastro-intestinal tract, respiratory system,
cardio-vascular structures and so on. One of the greatest mysteries is
why this growth stops at certain points. Of course, some of the factors
about growth are known, but in the main, why does any part of the body
such as the finger or nose stop growing? It is obvious that there are
regulating mechanisms even though we do not understand all of them.
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Members of the Quest Club authorize the Allen County Public Library to digitize and publish past, present and future Quest Club papers for dissemination on the Allen County Public Library website (Board of Directors of Quest Club, Inc., Resolution of May 2010).