By Ruth Sackman
Dr. Howard Beard, a biochemist and cancer patient, found that he could monitor his condition by doing the human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) measurement to determine how actively his body was producing unnecessary cells or controlling cell production at a normal level.
This same test is used to determine pregnancy, a natural process whereby the body is producing excess cells for the development of a fetus. Dr. Beard's theory was that if hormone levels rose but no fetus was developing, then an abnormal degree of cell reproduction was taking place which to him signified a cancer problem. This phenomenon was not necessarily clinically evident immediately but might manifest a tumor in due time in men as well as women.
Two scientists with the West London Hospital, S.F. Contractor and Helen Davies, were interested in one of the most mysterious biological processes - how the body knew when birth was ready at the end of nine months gestation. They reported in the Britsh journal Nature that they believe birth is really a process of rejection initiated by the body's defense system. But the reason this rejection is controlled is because larger than normal amounts of HCG appear in the mother's blood during pregnancy. HCG, they believe, prevents the mother's sentry cells (lymphocytes) from recognizing the foreign protein (fetus). Without such recognition, anybody production and rejection measures cannot take effect.
The HCG levels remain high until just before birth when a droptakes place. Contractor and Davies conclude that the drop in hormone levels triggers the rejection of the fetus and birth occurs.
There is substantial evidence of the relationship between immune effifiency (rejection factor) and cancer control; threfore, Dr. Beard's theory of measuring HCG levels appears to have a sound scientific basis. Low levels of HCG release the body's ability to reject abnormal protein just as it rejects the fetus and high levels interfere with the body's ability to build the lymphocytes necessary to effect rejection of cancer cells.
This theory validates Dr. Beard's conclusions that the levels of HCG found in the urine was a competent sstem to measure cancer activity, and probably why he was able to monitor his cancer problem.
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