Christopher J Lowe and Jennifer Fisher Lowe

Drugs can only repress symptoms: they cannot eradicate disease. The true remedy for all disease is nature's remedy . . . There is at bottom only one genuine scientific treatment for all diseases, and that is to stimulate the phagocytes. Stimulate the phagocytes. Drugs are a delusion

Sir Bloomfield Bonington (George Bernard Shaw— The Doctor's Dilemma, 1906)

Sir Bloomfield Bonington's views on medicine are not completely fictitious, as numerous investigators have attempted to harness and employ nature's remedy in the treatment of various diseases. In the early 1900s, an orthopedic surgeon by the name of William Coley investigated the association of febrile illnesses with spontaneous tumor regression.1 This unusual therapeutic relationship prompted him to attempt treating sarcomas by infecting patients with bacterial infections with the hope of inducing high fevers. Obvious problems ensued with this approach and so he modified the therapy to be less pathologic. In place of inducing a true infection, he attempted to elicit the febrile state with a vaccine containing two killed bacteria: Streptococcus pyogenes and Serraria marcescens. Coley's vaccine became widely used and was eventually endorsed by the American Medical Association in 1936.1 This is an early example of modifying the human body's defenses to serve as a therapeutic intervention. This chapter describes current therapeutic modalities, which like Dr. Coley's vaccine manipulate the function of the human body with the intent of curing disease.

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