[ Robert Silverman ]
[ Guest Gems ]
[ Cybernetically, Bicycle Bob Xe-Dda.p ]
An article by Frederick T. Scott, JR
Published in the American Biotechnology Laboratory News June 1991


While the courtroom may be the last place one expects to find scientific enlightenment, dramatic challenges to scientific dogma played out there can profoundly influence the course of science in application and teaching. This is particularly true in the case of so emotionally laden a disease as cancer, the second largest cause of death in the U.S.A. The trial of Gaston Naessens in Québec, Canada, from November 10 - December 1, 1989, may prove to be of such profound influence. It broaches issues of fundamental perceptions in microbiology and microscopy.

A clue as to the possible magnitude of that influence flows from the title, The Galileo of the Microscope (Les Presses de l'Université de la Personne Inc., St. Lambert, Quebec, Canada, l990), author Christopher Bird gives to his chronicle of that trial. Subtitled, The Life and Trials of Gaston Naessens, the book casts the trial in a framework of factors underlying the charges brought against Naessens. Bird summarizes the testimony, delineating the strategies of the prosecutor and the defense attorney, and elucidates a substantial portion of the scientific aspects of the controversy. Those aspects warrant the rapt attention of biotechnologists, for they intimately involve those fundamental processes of life addressed by the biotechnology laboratorian and theoretician. And, as Bird exhorts in the epilogue, the chronicle holds vital import for both scientific and lay concerns with regard to the scientific paradigm in the treatment of cancer and other degenerative disease.

Naessens stood accused, along with other counts, of having contributed significantly to the death of a woman by a promise to completely cure her of breast cancer that had spread to her lymph system. The cure was to be obtained by a series of intralymphatic injections of a product prepared by Naessens and designated 714-X, Camphorminium Chloride . It is the story behind 714-X that holds the key to the controversy and the significance of Naessens work.

Born in northern France in 1924, Naessens grew up to undertake an intensive course in physics-chemistry-biology at the University of Lille following graduation from college. Exiled near Nice during WWII, he gained the equivalent of a full university education at the hands of professors also displaced from Lille. Although he was awarded a rare diploma from the Union nationale scientifique française , he did not bother to seek an "equivalence" from the new republican government. Eschewing further formal education, Naessens designed and had built a unique microscope that was to receive the praise and admiration of distinguished physicists and biologists as well as executives and scientists of the German optical companies, Wird Leitz and Zeiss.

With his exceptional instrument, Naessens went on to discover in the blood of animals and humans and in the saps of plants a previously unknown submicroscopic, subcellular living and reproducing form he choose to name "somatid". He could culture the new particle and observe it to change form cyclically through 16 stages, the first three of which are normal and crucial to the existence of healthy organisms.

His researches determined that if, and when, the immune system of an animal or human being becomes weakened or destabilized, the normal three-stage cycle extends trough the additional 13 stages. By studying the cycle as revealed in the blood of human beings suffering from various degenerative diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, cancer, and AIDS, he has been able to associate the development of the forms in the pathological stages of the 16-stage cycle with all of these diseases. Moreover, he has been able to predict the eventual onset of such diseases long before the appearance of clinical signs. Of remarkable significance, the findings demonstrate the existence of a common functional principle militating against the perception of such afflictions as separate, unrelated phenomena as they have for so long been considered in orthodox medical circles.

With the cycle fully established, Naessens was able to develop a treatment for strengthening the immune system. The product, named 714-X and derived from camphor, a natural substance produced from an East Asian tree, is injected intralymphaticaly via a lymph node, or ganglion, into the groin. Bird reports that, when skillfully injected (a task relatively easy to learn and perform despite medical protestations to the contrary), in over 75% of the cases, it has restabilized, strengthened, or otherwise enhanced the powers of the immune system which then goes about the business of ridding the body of disease.

The somatids themselves appear to be virtually indestructible. They have resisted temperatures of 200 *C and more, survived exposures of 50,000 rems of nuclear radiation, far more than enough to kill any living thing, and have been totally unaffected by any acid. Taken from centrifuge residues, they have been found impossible to cut with a diamond knife. Naessens and his wife and colleague, Françoise, see the somatids as precursors of DNA, somehow supplying the missing link to an understanding of that remarkable molecule. (Here, Bird sketches a lengthy footnote citing a paper in Nature [8/10/89, by O. Bergh et al.] reporting on the high abundance of viruses found in aquatic environments which may account for DNA's being inexplicably dissolved in sea water and other implications for natural genetic engineering experiments that may have been occurring in bacterial populations, perhaps for eons.)

Believing that each of our bodily organs possesses somatids of varying, as yet indescribable, natures that are specific to it alone, the Naessens describe an experiment they have repeated many times. The experiment begins by extracting somatids from the blood of a rabbit with white fur. A solution containing them is then injected at a dose of one cubic centimeter per day into the blood stream of a rabbit with black fur for a period of two weeks running. Within about one month, the fur of the black rabbit begins to turn a grayish color, with half of the hairs of which it is composed having turned white. When a patch of skin is cut from the white rabbit and grafted onto the empty space left after cutting a similar-sized patch from the black rabbit, the graft shows no sign of rejection that normally takes place in the absence of somatid transfer. One can muse in some depth about the implications of that phenomena for the rejection syndrome bedevilling organ transplant procedures.

Naessens' somatids parallel and extend observations reported by Antoine Bechamp, a physicist and chemist contemporary of Pasteur, but who differ vehemently with Pasteur's germ theory. Bechamp microscopical observations of "little bodies" he named "microzymas" led him to propose that germs were the result of disease and not its cause. He, too, found the microzymas ubiquitous and indestructible, existing even in limestone dating back 60 million years, though his less powerful microscope apparently did not permit him to resolve the full cycle of their existence. The Naessens perceive the somatid as fundamentally electrical in nature, what they would term a "concretization of energy." These particles, initially differentiated or materialized in the life process, possess genetic properties transmissible to living organisms, animal or vegetal. They find that, in the absence of the normal three-stage cycle, cell division cannot occur because it is the normal cycle that produces the special growth hormone that permits such division.

Obviously, the trial did not bring out the forgoing sketch of the basis from which the charges proceeded. Yet, it illuminates the drama played out in the strategies undertaken in the examinations of witnesses and in the understandings of both the prosecution and the defense attorneys. Marred slightly by a number of typographical errors and some awkwardness of language, the chronicle will nonetheless be a fascinating read. For the scientist unfamiliar or unsympathetic with the possibility of unconventional explanations of phenomena, the book may engender a severe reaction.

In the epilogue, Bird wonders whether "people power" can break the scientific paradigm that bars the entrance of fundamentally new ideas into its practice. Though he and some colleagues aver that "one day" it will be broken, there is little basis for that belief. We simply cannot afford it. We have livelihoods and long-standing prestigious careers invested in what exists and in the control of what is to evolve in that paradigm. Nothing in our training or circumstances provides any mechanism by which we can examine or implement such ideas without devastating personal, professional, and, more importantly, financial consequences. So, while we might, as did some staff members of the prosecution during the trial, seek to obtain the indicted remedy in search of our own cure, we could sanction no breach of the accepted paradigm lest all be lost.

A wise, and perhaps desperate, public descrying that it, too, is held hostage by those constraints, might risk the investment of time and money in learning enough to make its own decisions about its desire for science and how to monitor performance. But that might open up a Pandora's box of hard decisions better left to later desperations.


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Mr Scott is Consulting Editor, American Biotechnology Laboratory News Edition.

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