Date of Award

Spring 1966

Document Type



Life & Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

James Manion


Evidence has been steadily accumulating that cancers are perhaps more readily transmissable from one species to another than was previously thought. For example, in 1964 the National Cancer Institute published the notes from a symposium on malignant lymphoma. These notes disclosed the following findingst 1) Three monkeys who received an inoculum of human leukemia have developed leukemia. This is the first evidence of human to animal transmission of leukemia. 2) The Rouse cell sarcoma (RCS) virus has been successfully transmitted from chickens to both monkeys and hamsters. 3) Leukemias in the human may be related to the bites of dogs which could be harboring and shedding leukemia viruses in the saliva and perhaps in urine. 4) A cluster of human cases of leukemia recently occurred in Green Bay, Wisconsin and a high Incidence of bovine leukemia was also found in the area. Leukemia also occurred frequently in dogs in the vicinity. A virus capable of inducing leukemia in normal cattle has been isolated from the milk of leukemic cows. It was findings like these that initially led me to speculate about the possibility of transmitting visceral lymphomatosis in chickens to rats. As will be explained in greater detail later on in this paper, visceral lymphomatosis in chickens is known to be caused by a virus. Further, a chicken infected with this disease passes the virus into the eggs she lays; consequently a good share of her brood are automatically doomed to a death from lymphomatosis. The virus has also been found in the feces and oral and nasal passages of chickens. It occurred to me then that perhaps other animals could contract cancer by direct contact with this virus.

My original hypothesis has led to far-reaching research plans. For simplicity’s sake, these plans can be broken down Into phases. In the first phase of research, I plan to investigate two things? 1) whether or not the experimental line of rats used in this research are genetically susceptible to lymphomatosis and 2) whether of not lymphomatosis can be transferred from chickens to rats by injecting the rats intraperitoneally with an homogenate of the viscera of a chicken afflicted with visceral lymphomatosis. It is only this first phase of the research on which I am reporting in this paper.