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Bacteria, Cancer &
the Origin of Life
Part Two

By Alan Cantwell, Jr., M.D.

After a century of “modern” medical science, we still don’t know the cause of cancer, heart disease, and many other chronic diseases that kill millions of people every year. The reason for this, in my view, is that medical science refuses to recognise the role that microbes (smaller than bacteria and larger than viruses) play in these diseases.

Much of the fault lies in the dogma left over from the nineteenth century by such scientific icons as Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch, who are revered as fathers of microbiology and bacteriology. At a time when viruses, nanobacteria and astrobiology were unknown and when “the germ theory of disease” was in its infancy, both scientists held rigid views as to what was possible and not possible in biology. And neither Pasteur nor Koch could fathom the concept that living organisms might arise from non-living sources.

Unfortunately, Pasteur (1822-1895) had no medical training. He was consumed with fermentation experiments and with proving “air germs” were the basis for human disease, although he provided no explanation for the origin of atmospheric germs or how life began on Earth. Koch (1843-1910), who discovered the bacteria that caused tuberculosis, was obsessed with classifying microbes grown in the laboratory into exact species, depending on their size, structure, physical, and chemical properties. He insisted the species that were created were pure and stable; and that species were unable to change back and forth between each other. According to Koch, each species of bacteria produced a separate and distinct disease. Each germ also had to originate from similar “parent” germs – which reproduced by dividing in half by “binary fission.”

Not every physician of that era believed all the pronouncements of Pasteur and Koch. A few physician-scientists challenged them because they knew what was often “proven” in laboratory experiments might not always be applicable to what was going on with bacteria hidden within the human body.

Antoine Bechamp (1816-1908) was no slouch in the science department and was well-known as a scientific rival of the famous Pasteur. The Frenchman was not only a Doctor of Medicine and Science, but at various times was also Professor of Medical Chemistry and Pharmacology, and Professor of Physics, Toxicology, and Biological Chemistry. There is also some evidence that Pasteur plagiarised much of Bechamp’s original research.

Pasteur, however, is credited in history with saving the French beer and wine and silkworm industries, and with pasteurisation and vaccine research. Bechamp, despite his brilliance, was eventually eclipsed by the younger man. The details of the scientific controversy and plagiarism accusations are chronicled in E. Dougles Hume’s book, Bechamp or Pasteur?: A Lost Chapter in the History of Biology (1923), remarkably still in print.

Bechamp had his own ideas concerning the origin of life and the germ theory of disease. In animal and plant cells he observed infinitesimal microscopic “granulations” that he considered the incorruptible elements of all life. After many laboratory experiments and microscopic examinations of these granules, the physician-scientist claimed these so-called “microzymas” were capable of developing into common living organisms that go by the name of bacteria.

In his view, Pasteur’s “air germs” had nothing to do with the origin and appearance of these microzymas in tissue. In fact, Bechamp wrote that Pasteur’s air germs most likely derived from dying life-forms. Like Folk a century later [see Part One of this article], Bechamp found barely visible microzymas/bacteria in chalk and limestone that he interpreted as survivor life-forms of past ages. Although all the microzymes looked similar, they varied in their chemical abilities. Each tissue, or organ, or gland had microzymas that differed from each other.

Hume claims Bechamp and his colleagues showed these tiny microzymas were, in reality, “organised ferments” with the potential to develop into bacteria. In this development, they passed through certain intermediary stages. Some of these intermediate bacterial stages were regarded by people like Koch as different species, but to Bechamp they were all related and derived from microzymas. Adding more heresy to Pasteur’s dogma, Bechamp wrote that without oxygen, microzymas do not die – they go into a state of rest. Bechamp preached, “Every living being has arisen from the microzymas, and every living being is reducible to the microzymas.”

Like Bechamp, Henry Charlton Bastian’s (1837-1915) studies investigating the origin of life were closely tied into his understanding of the origin of infectious disease. He was also the last of the great scientists to uphold the theory of “spontaneous regeneration”, by concluding that life could come from non-life. Like Reich a century later, he argued that microorganisms were produced as by-products of the disease process, not as opportunistic infections, but from degenerating tissue by a process Bastian termed “heterogenesis.” Heterogenesis is the idea that living organisms can arise without parents from organic starting materials – an idea certainly not in accord with Pasteur and Koch.

Bechamp and Bastian’s research was also a threat to the followers of Charles Darwin (1809-1882), whose evolution theories revolutionalised science. Like Pasteur, Darwin was not a medical doctor and had no training in human pathology. And while doctors like Bechamp and Bastian and others were discovering new forms of life emanating from human diseased tissue and from the bowels of limestone, Pasteur, Koch and the Darwinians simply disregarded all this in favour of their own research and pronouncements.

Bastian paid dearly for his unorthodoxy (and for some well-publicised but failed experiments) and his once-famous name is largely forgotten. Microbiologist and science professor James Strick has recently revived interest in Bastian’s books and research and his books on the origin of life; and a six-volume set reprinting much of his work has been recently published. Strick is also the author of Sparks of Life (2000), which chronicles the famous nineteenth century scientific and bacteriologic debates over Darwinism and spontaneous generation.

Pleomorphism and the Classification of Bacteria

Koch, famous for his tuberculosis discoveries, was rigid in his belief that a specific germ had only one form (monomorphism). And he opposed all research showing some germs had more than one form (pleomorphism) and complex “life cycles.” Thus, from the very beginning of bacteriology there was conflict between the monomorphists and the pleomorphists, with the former totally overruling the latter and dominating microbiology to this day.

In the attempt to “classify” bacteria as the lowest forms of life known at that time, there was no consideration given to any possible “connection” between the various species of bacteria. The dogma was that a coccus remained a coccus; a rod remained a rod; and there was no interplay between them. There was no “crossing” from one species to another, and the research of the pleomophists suggesting otherwise was ignored.

When viruses were discovered they were made separate from bacteria, although bacteria are also known to be susceptible to viral infection. Viruses were put in one box; bacteria in another. As a result, the spectacular number of “filterable” pleomorphic microbial forms that form a bridge between the “living” bacteria and the “dead” viruses are still largely unstudied and considered of no great importance in clinical medicine.

Most doctors simply want to know the name of the microbe, if any, cultured in the lab from their specimens; and what antibiotics the germ is “sensitive” to. Thanks to Pasteur, common “skin” bacteria like cocci and bacilli are often viewed as suspicious “contaminants” or “secondary invaders” or “opportunistic infections” of no great importance as etiologic agents.

Koch’s postulates became dogma to prove that certain bacteria cause disease, but the postulates did not work very well for viruses. And even when “filterable” pleomorphic bacteria were shown to cause disease and Koch’s postulates were fulfilled, the research was still generally ignored because such germs were not considered “valid” life-forms.

As a result of all this dogma and rigidity, medical thought was completely turned off to the possibility cancer was caused by bacteria. But to the minds of some medical heretics, these century-old scientific beliefs were wrong, wrong, wrong.

Cancer and the “Cancer Microbe”

As some scientists are finally realising, there is a large realm of microbial life-forms that lie between “bacteria” and “viruses.” It is this relatively uncharted never-never land of microbiology that lies at the heart of life, disease, cancer, death, regeneration, and perhaps even immortality.

In the life of every researcher there is a person or group of people to whom a great debt is owed. In my scientific life as a practising dermatologist and as a clinical researcher, there are four women who are my icons in medical science. All four I knew personally as valued friends, and each contributed greatly to my understanding of the greatest mystery of medical science: the origin and cause of cancer.

The combined reported research of Virginia Wuerthele-Caspe Livingston (a physician), Eleanor Alexander-Jackson (a microbiologist), Irene Diller (a cell cytologist), and Florence Seibert (a chemist famous for developing the TB skin test), is indeed a treasure-trove for anyone seeking to learn about “the cancer microbe” and the heretical microbiology of cancer. I wrote about these now deceased women in my book, The Cancer Microbe (1990), and I connected their cancer research to Bechamp’s and Bastian’s discoveries in the nineteenth century, as well as to Wilhelm Reich’s condemned cancer and orgone research.

In 1950, Wuerthele-Caspe Livingston and Alexander-Jackson, along with John A. Anderson (head of the Department of Bacteriology at Rutgers), James Hillier (head of electron microscopy at the RCA Victor Laboratories at Princeton), Roy Allen (a cell histologist), and Lawrence W. Smith (author of a well-known pathology textbook used in medical colleges), all combined their talents to write a paper entitled “Cultural Properties and Pathogenicity Obtained from Various Proliferative and Neoplastic [cancerous] Diseases,” published in the December issue of The American Journal of the Medical Sciences. The characteristics of the cancer microbe in blood, tissue, and culture, were described in detail; and the extreme pleomorphic nature of the organism was revealed in photos taken with the electron microscope at a magnification of 31,000X.

The cancer microbe (which she later called Progenitor cryptocides) was filterable through a pore designed to hold back bacteria. But in the filtrate were “virus-sized” microbial forms, which grew in time to the size of conventional bacteria. For the next two decades these four women and their colleagues continued publishing details about the microbiology of cancer. Livingston’s two books, Cancer: A New Breakthrough (1972) and The Conquest of Cancer (1984) are unfortunately now out-of-print.

Livingston believed everyone carried cancer microbes in their blood and tissues. And the microbe was essential for life. In 1974, she discovered some cancer-associated bacteria produced an HCG-like hormone – the human choriogonadotropin hormone, which is an essential hormone needed to start life in the womb. But she also thought the microbe was the germ that did most people in as they aged. The microbe was Mother Nature’s built-in terminator to force old people off the planet and to make room for new life on the planet.

At the time of her death in 1990, Livingston was widely regarded among the cancer establishment as a quack. Even though her research was published for three decades in reputable medical journals, the American Cancer Society still claims her “cancer microbe” does not exist. An ACS-sponsored Internet web page states: “One report on the bacteria Progenitor cryptocides, which Dr. Livingston-Wheeler claimed caused cancer, found that the bacteria does not exist but is actually a mixture of several different types of bacteria which Dr. Livingston-Wheeler labelled as one.” Who was the author of the report claiming her microbe did not exist? According to the ACS, the author was “anonymous.”

Over the past four decades I have tried to keep this research alive by showing pleomorphic cancer bacteria in human cancer and in certain other diseases of unknown origin. For readers with Internet access, some of my photos of cancer microbes are presented on the web site of the on-line Journal of Independent Medical Research (; and abstracts of my medical publications can be found on the National Library of Medicine’s “PubMed” web site ( Simply type in “A Cantwell + cancer bacteria”.

In my research I have observed germs grown in the lab from cancerous tissue. Frequently they grow as simple round cocci, or as a mixture of cocci and rod-shaped bacilli, and rarely as streptococci. From diseases like scleroderma, I have seen “old” cultures evolve into peculiar and highly pleomorphic fungus-like “actinomycete” organisms, or evolve into bacteria resembling tuberculosis-type bacteria. Not infrequently, expert microbiologists could not agree on what to name these pleomorphic bacteria.

I have seen microbes change from one species to another, depending on what they are fed in the laboratory – staphylococcus germs that turn into rod-forms of corynebacteria and back again to “pure” staphylococcus, depending on the lab media for growth. But most importantly, I have seen these bacteria in specially-stained (acid-fast stain) tissue sections made from cancerous tissue, indicating these microbes are not contaminants falling out of the air. And decade after decade all cancer microbe research remains forgotten, ignored, and overlooked because physicians cannot conceive of such bacteria as causing cancer.

Milton Wainwright at the University of Sheffield, UK, is a rare microbiologist who has written sympathetically about the bacteriology of cancer, titling some of his recent publications: “Nanobacteria and associated ‘elementary bodies’ in human disease and cancer” (1999); “The return of the cancer germ; Forgotten microbiology – back to the future” (2000); “Highly pleomorphic staphylococci as a cause of cancer” (2000); and “Is this the historical ‘cancer germ’”? (2003).

In, Can Bacteria Cause Cancer?: Alternative Medicine Confronts Big Science (1997), David J. Hess charts the history of bacteria as etiological agents in cancer. An anthropologist at Renssalear University, he claims this research has not only been forgotten or disregarded, but actively suppressed. Hess cites financial and professional interests, as well as more general cultural factors to help explain the suppression.

Body Blood Bacteria

The idea that the blood contains bacteria related to cancer has been repeatedly raised by various cancer microbe researchers. But the idea was never taken seriously because bacteria grown from cancer patients were never considered anything more than inconsequential bacteria like staph, strep, and various common bacilli of no etiologic significance. Furthermore, these bacteria are believed to be frequent laboratory ‘contaminants.’ Physicians still expect disease-causing bacteria to be of a specific species type and to cause a “specific” disease. And medical doctors believe each form of cancer is “different.” The variety of different species of pleomorphic bacteria recovered from various forms of cancer makes physicians highly dubious about a bona fide cancer microbe specific for cancer.

In a series of papers (1970-1979) using the electron microscope and various testing procedures, an Italian team of researchers headed by Guido G. Tedeschi showed that the erythrocytes (red blood cells) and the blood platelets of both normal and diseased patients are cryptically infected with pleomorphic bacteria. Electron-dense “granular bodies” were found within the erythrocytes, and a variety of microbial forms and species were reported as mycoplasma-like and corynebacteria-like L-forms of bacteria, staphylococcus epidermidis, micrococci, cocci, and cocco-bacillary forms.

Such microbes are similar to what various cancer microbe researchers have reported over the past century. Some of Tedeschi’s microbes were acid-fast, a staining quality characteristic of Livingston’s cancer microbe.

All of this indicates that human blood is definitely not sterile, and should raise suspicion these tiny blood bacteria could be involved in the production of disease – a conclusion Wilhelm Reich came to a half-century ago. Like Reich, Tedeschi’s team suggested the evolution of cocci and diphtheroids taking origin from cell-wall-deficient forms seems not to be related to a particular state of illness, but to be the consequence of a generalised crypto-infection.

A more recent study entitled “Are there naturally occurring pleomorphic bacteria in the blood of healthy humans?”, by R.W. McLaughlin and associates in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology (December 2002), confirms the presence of a wide diversity of microorganisms within the blood of healthy people. And with new research showing nanobacteria in the blood, it is apparent there is much to learn about the bacteriology of the blood and what it contains normally and what it contains in disease.

As they have done for a century, microbiologists will undoubtedly quibble about what to name these organisms. But what is much more important than a name is to determine what they “do” – not in the laboratory, but in the human body. What is the energy force that allows these microbes to exist in harmony with us? And what turns them into killers?

Science, Soul, Spirit, and Immortality

Helena P. Blavatsky (1831-1891) is the controversial founder of the science of Theosophy, a philosophical and spiritual group with a keen interest in the origin of life. In researching this article, I came across her name on a web page connected to Bastian’s nineteenth century studies on tiny bacteria in limestone. Her ideas about the origin of life are amazingly prophetic in light of current findings of nanobacteria in microbiology and geology, and her idea of a “vital force” seems similar to Reich’s “orgone energy.”

Blavatsky wrote: “Life is not the expression of the organism, but, on the contrary, the organism is the expression of some prior and indestructible vital force. Nothing ever dies. Life’s opposite is not death, but latency. Indeed… one is compelled to ask whether all humanity, past and future is not imprisoned in latent form in the rocks and sands of our terrestrial sphere.”

In The Secret Doctrine (1888), she claims: “Everything that is, was, and will be, eternally IS, even the countless forms, which are finite and perishable only in their objective, not in their ideal Form. They existed as Ideas, in the Eternity, and, when they pass away, will exist as reflections.”

Science has little or nothing to say about spirit, soul, and the hereafter. And skeptics are always seeking “proof.” But if a disease like cancer is indeed caused by microscopic bacteria, it would indicate physicians have been unable to see what was quite plain for some nineteenth and twentieth century scientists to observe using simple light microscopy. And with powerful electron microscopes there is now little excuse for not “seeing” bacteria. With this in mind, it would behoove scientists, especially cancer experts, to do a little soul-searching (pun intentional).

In addition, scientists cannot seem to agree where life begins. So can we trust them completely to know when life ends? If human life continues after death, it must exist largely as energy. And can energy ever be destroyed? Einstein tells us matter and energy are interconnected and essentially different forms of the same thing. And physicists are excited about the possibilities of quantum physics, which is beyond my ken. Professor of Mathematical Physics, Frank Tipler, confidently proclaims physics will lead to the immortality of humankind. In his controversial book The Physics of Immortality (1994) he states, “Either theology is pure nonsense, a subject with no content, or else theology must ultimately become a branch of physics… The Goal of physics is understanding the ultimate nature of reality. If God is real, physicists will eventually find Him/Her.”

In the Bible, God tells us we came from dust – and to dust we shall return, which is not terribly encouraging for those not confident about an afterlife. But what if dust contained elements and building blocks that could re-make life over and over again for all eternity? And isn’t Earth basically a big pile of dust? And couldn’t this be “God’s little secret” He wants us to unravel?

And what is life if it is not pulsating with cosmic energy? If the tiniest of life forms can exist in meteors millions or billions of years old, and if we are composed and descended from the tiniest forms of life, why can’t we live forever?

All we might need is a speck of dust and a little “faith” to ignite that spark of life that would get us going again.

Alan Cantwell MD is a retired physician and cancer researcher who believes cancer is caused by bacteria and AIDS is man-made. There is probably no other physician on the planet whose publications are as controversial. Dr. Cantwell is a frequent contributor to New Dawn, and his various articles on AIDS and cancer can be found on the New Dawn website Much of his research can be found on, and thirty of his published papers can be accessed at (type in Cantwell AR). He is the author of two books on the man-made epidemic of AIDS: AIDS and the Doctors of Death, and Queer Blood, and a book on the microbiology of cancer, The Cancer Microbe. His new book is called Four Women Against Cancer. Dr. Cantwell is now happily retired from the clinical practice of dermatology for 10 years, and lives in Hollywood, California. Web site: Email:

The above article appeared in New Dawn No. 82 (January-February 2004)


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