This is all information I was looking at once to develop the theme that cancer researchers were understanding cancer in order to create cancer. That’s a much larger theme. If you would like to take these sources and develop some articles please feel free to do so. The German-American link on cancer research has strong ties to those with German-American collaboration in World War 2.
1884. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center was founded in 1884 as New York Cancer Hospital on Manhattan’s Upper West Side by a group that included John J. Astor and his wife, Charlotte.
1895. The German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen discovered x-rays while experimenting with electricity in his laboratory in 1895. MSKCC
1902. First x-ray machines installed Just six years after German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen announced his discovery of “X-radiation” (x-rays), Memorial Hospital obtains two x-ray machines for use in treating cancer. MSKCC
May 7, 1907. American Association for Cancer Research: On May 7, 1907, eleven prominent scientists meet at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., to found the American Association for Cancer Research. James Ewing, MD, is selected as the first of many outstanding AACR Presidents.
1910. Around 1910 James Ewing, a professor at Cornell University’s medical college, established a collaboration with Memorial Hospital with the help and funding of industrialist and philanthropist James Douglas, who gave $100,000 to endow twenty beds for clinical research, equipment for working with radium, and a clinical laboratory for that purpose. Douglas’ enthusiasm and funding for development of radiation therapy for cancer inspired Ewing to become one of the pioneers in developing this treatment.
1913. Douglas had an interest in the possible therapeutic potential of radium and went on to found the National Radium Institute in 1913. In the same year Ewing co-founded the American Society for the Control of Cancer (now the American Cancer Society). The friendship between Douglas and Ewing grew, and Ewing became one of the pioneers in using radiotherapy for cancer. Cancer Index
1919. wiki Alfred Sloan and deputies created the General Motors Acceptance Corporation, a financing arm that practically invented the auto loan credit system, that allowed car buyers to bypass having to save for years to buy Ford’s affordable car.
November 5, 1923. wiki Pierre DuPont resigns as President of General Motors. Replaced by Alfred Sloan.
1929. Autoweek: the world’s first economic crisis threatened (Opel’s) existence, and the heirs agreed to sell the company in 1929 to General Motors for $33 million.
1931. Autoweek: Opel becomes a wholly owned GM subsidiary.
1931. 900,000-VOLT TUBE TO COMBAT CANCER; Largest X-Ray Device of Kind Being Built by General Electric for Hospital Here. YEARS NEEDED TO MAKE IT
A 900,000-volt X-ray tube, to be the largest of its kind in the United States, is being made for the Memorial Hospital, to be used in the treatment of cancer, it was announced yesterday at the closing sessions of the joint meeting of the American Physical Society and the Optical … VIEW FULL ARTICLE IN TIMES MACHINE
In 1931 the then-most-powerful 900k-volt X-ray tube was put into use in radiation-based cancer treatment at Memorial; the tube had been built by General Electric over several years. In 1931 Ewing was formally appointed president of the hospital, a role he had effectively played until then, and was featured on the cover of Time magazine as “Cancer Man Ewing.”
January 4, 1933. Nazi Hydra, 50 The meeting took place in utmost secrecy on Jan. 4 1933 with two Americans present: John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles. The Dulles brothers were there representing their client, Kuhn, Loeb & Co., which had extended large, short-term credits to Germany and needed assurance of repayment from Hitler before committing to support him. Goebbels recorded the success of the meeting in his diary on Jan. 5, 1933: “If this coup succeeds, we are not far from power… Our finances have suddenly improved.”
1934. In 1934, John D. Rockefeller Jr. donated land on York Avenue for a new location. Two years later, he granted Memorial Hospital $3,000,000 and the hospital began their move across town
1934. GM president Sloan and overseas president Mooney both made efforts to obscure Opel’s U.S. ownership and control. Beginning in 1934, the two concocted the concept of a “directorate,” comprised of prominent German personalities, including several with Nazi Party membership. This created what GM officials variously termed a “camouflage” or “a false facade” of local management. But the decisions were made in America where GM was Opel’s sole stockholder.
May 2, 1934. Edwin Black: …May 2, 1934, after practicing his Sieg Heil in front of a mirror, (James D.) Mooney and two other senior executives from General Motors and its German division, Adam Opel A.G., went to meet Hitler in his chancellery office. Waiting with Hitler would be Nazi Party stalwart Joachim von Ribbentrop, who would later become foreign minister, and Reich economic adviser Wilhelm Keppler. As Mooney traversed the long approach to Hitler’s desk, he began to pump his arm in a stern-faced Sieg Heil. But the F—hrer surprised him by getting up from his desk and meeting Mooney halfway, not with a salute, but a businesslike handshake.
June, 1934. jweekly. In June 1934, GM’s publication, General Motors World, effusively recounted the meeting between Mooney and Hitler, proclaiming, “Hitler is a strong man, well fitted to lead the German people out of their former economic distress … He is leading them, not by force or fear, but by intelligent planning and execution of fundamentally sound principles of government.
1935. Washington Post: In 1935, GM agreed to build a new plant near Berlin to produce the aptly named “Blitz” truck, which would later be used by the German army for its blitzkreig attacks on Poland, France and the Soviet Union. German Ford was the second-largest producer of trucks for the German army after GM/Opel, according to U.S. Army reports.
1935-1936: Ann Arbor District Library: During 1935-1936, at the urgent request of Nazi officials, who realized that Germany’s scarce petroleum reserves would not satisfy war demands, GM and Exxon joined with German chemical interests in the erection of the Ethyl tetraethyl plants. According to captured German records, these facilities contributed substantially to the German war effort: “The fact that since the beginning of the war we could produce lead-tetraethyl is entirely due to the circumstances that shortly before the Americans had presented us with the production plants complete with experimental knowledge.” Edwin Black: … GM moved quickly – in conjunction with its close ally Standard Oil. Each company took a one-quarter share of the Reich ethyl operation, while I.G. Farben, the giant German chemical conglomerate, controlled the remaining 50%.
1936. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: In 1936, the hospital began a move to our present location on York Avenue, on land donated by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and the new Memorial Hospital opened in 1939. The building, which was reconstructed between 1970 and 1973, stands on the site today.
1937. jweekly. By 1937, Opel had grown to triple the size of Daimler-Benz and quadruple that of Ford’s fledgling German operation, known as Ford-Werke. By the end of the 1930s, Opel was valued at $86.7 million, which in 21st-century dollars, translates into roughly $1.1 billion.
May 1, 1937. Adolph Hitler institutes the Order of the German Eagle to bestow awards to foreigners.
July 30, 1938. Washington Post: In July 1938, four months after the German annexation of Austria, (Henry Ford) accepted the highest medal that Nazi Germany could bestow on a foreigner, the Grand Cross of the German Eagle.
August, 1938. Washington Post: The following month (August, 1938), a senior executive for General Motors, James Mooney, received a similar medal for his “distinguished service to the Reich.”
March, 1939. Washington Post: Documents show that the parent companies followed a conscious strategy of continuing to do business with the Nazi regime, rather than divest themselves of their German assets. Less than three weeks after the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia in March 1939, GM Chairman Alfred P. Sloan defended this strategy as sound business practice, given the fact that the company’s German operations were “highly profitable.”
April, 1939. jweekly He stated in a long, April 1939 letter to an objecting stockholder that, in the interests of making a profit, GM shouldn’t risk alienating its German hosts by intruding in Nazi affairs. “In other words, to put the proposition rather bluntly,” Sloan said in the letter, “such matters should not be considered the business of the management of General Motors.”
August, 1939. The Jerusalem Post: Indeed, in August of 1939, the world wondered when Hitler might invade Poland. During those days, Opel, under the direct day-to-day supervision of GM’s senior executive, Cyrus Osborn, played its role in Germany’s fast-paced military plans. The company was already manufacturing thousands of Blitz trucks that would become a mainstay of the Reich’s upcoming Blitzkrieg. The German military in early August urgently ordered Blitz truck spare parts to be delivered to Reich bases near the Polish border. Days later in August, nearly 3,000 Opel employees, from factory workers to senior managers, were drafted into the Wehrmacht.
September 1, 1939. jweekly At 6 a.m. on Sept. 1, 1939, Germany launched its Blitzkrieg against Poland, with troops arriving in Blitz trucks manufactured by GM’s Opel. The night before, Sloan reportedly told stockholders that GM was “too big” to be impeded by “petty international squabbles,” according to a congressional investigation.
Mid September, 1939. Washington Post: After the outbreak of war in September 1939, General Motors and Ford became crucial to the German military, according to contemporaneous German documents and postwar investigations by the U.S. Army. James Mooney, the GM director in charge of overseas operations, had discussions with Hitler in Berlin two weeks after the German invasion of Poland.
Late 1939. Ann Arbor District Library: During the last quarter of 1939, for instance, GM converted its 432 acre Opel complex in Russelsheim to warplane production. From 1939 through 1945, the GM-owned Russelsheim facility alone assembled 50 per cent of all the propulsion systems produced for the JU-88 medium range bomber. According to the authoritative work of Wagner and Nowarra, the JU-88 bomber, by 1940, “had become the Luftwaffe’s most important bomber, and remained so for the rest of the war.”
June, 1940. jweekly In June 1940, Sloan brought Mooney back to America to head up GM’s key participation in America’s crash program to prepare for war. Mooney’s mere appointment sent shivers through the anti-Nazi boycott and protest committee, which well remembered his 1938 medal for what the Nazis had termed “service to the Reich.” The Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League railed in a letter to Roosevelt: “How should we interpret the placing of a Hitler sympathizer and a Hitler servant (one must render service to the Reich to deserve such a medal) at the throttle of our defense program? Doesn’t that appear suspiciously similar to the planting of Nazi sympathizers in key positions? In June 1940, about the same time Mooney returned to America, Sloan wrote to a colleague, expressing disdain for FDR’s democracy while grudgingly acknowledging his admiration for Hitler’s fascist drive, even if that drive had become criminal. “It seems clear that the Allies are outclassed on mechanical equipment,” Sloan wrote, “and it is foolish to talk about modernizing their Armies in times like these — they ought to have thought of that five years ago. There is no excuse for them not thinking of that except for the unintelligent, in fact, stupid, narrow-minded and selfish leadership which the democracies of the world are cursed with.”
Summer, 1940. jweekly Nevertheless, GM was still masquerading as if it had no control of the Opel operation. However, by the summer of 1940, a senior GM executive wrote a more honest assessment for internal circulation only. He explained that while “the management of Adam Opel A.G. is in the hands of German nationals,” in point of fact GM was still “actively represented by two American executives on the Board of Directors.”
Late 1940. However, Turner does state explicitly that “by the end of 1940 more than 10,000 employees at Opel’s Russelsheim plant were engaged in producing parts for the Junkers bombers heavily used in raining death and destruction on London and other British cities during the air attacks of the Battle of Britain.”
April, 1941. jweekly When at the end of 1940 the White House began to insist that GM break off relations with Latin American car dealers suspected of being pro-Nazi, Sloan defiantly refused. He lashed out at Washington, accusing it of protecting communists at home while focusing on GM dealers in South America. “I have flatly declined to cancel dealers,” Sloan wrote in April 1941 to Walter Carpenter, a GM board member and vice president of DuPont. Days later, on April 18, 1941, Carpenter retorted, “If we don’t listen to the urgings of the State Department in this connection, it seems to me just a question of time … The effect of this will be to associate the General Motors with Nazi or Fascist propaganda against the interests of the United States … The effect on the General Motors Corporation might be a very serious matter and the feeling might last for years.” By now, Assistant Secretary of State Adolf Berle, whose portfolio included the investigation of Nazi fronts and sympathizers in Latin America, had had enough of Sloan and GM executives. Berle circulated a memo asserting “that certain officials of General Motors were sympathetic to or aligned with some pro-Axis groups. … that this is [a] ‘real Fifth Column’ and is much more sinister than many other things which are going on at the present time.”
August 8, 1945. NY Times: The first application of American industrial research techniques to cancer research was projected yesterday in an announcement by Alfred P. Sloan Jr., chairman of General Motors Corporation and sponsor of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, of a $4,000,000 grant for a Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research at the Memorial Cancer Center in this city.
1948. jweekly After the war, starting in 1948, GM began openly running Opel operations.
Early 1950s. About 75% of the compounds evaluated as potential cancer fighters in the early 1950s were tested at Sloan-Kettering. But the institute’s capacity could not satisfy the needs of the scientific community, and demands mounted for creation of a national cancer drug screening program. At the same time, public pressure to do something about cancer increased, and it found voice in the lobbying efforts of the American Cancer Society, which agitated for increased funding for research. As a consequence, the budget of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) grew from $0.5 million in 1937, its first year, to $1.75 million in 1946 and $14 million in 1951 (ten years later the budget reached $110 million). And there was more money from the National Institutes of Health and from private sources for research grants. By the early 1950s cancer research had become well funded.
February 8, 1951. review of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: On February 1, 1951, Ms. Lacks visited Johns Hopkins in Baltimore … cells from the tumor were removed for research purposes without her knowledge or permission, which was standard procedure at that time. … During her second visit eight days later, Dr. George Otto Gey obtained another sample of her tumor. … Gey “discovered that [Henrietta’s] cells did something they had never seen before: They could be kept alive and grow.” (p. 94) Cells obtained previously from other sources would survive for only a few days. Some cells in Lacks’ tissue sample behaved differently than others. Gey was able to isolate one specific cell, multiply it and start the HeLa cell line. As the first human cells that could be grown in a lab and were “immortal” (did not die after a few cell divisions), they could then be used for many experiments. This represented an enormous boon to medical and biological research. It is estimated that total weight of all the HeLa cells ever grown exceeds 50 million metric tons. … Demand for the HeLa cells quickly grew. A special unit was established in Tuskegee Institute, Tuskeegee, Alabama, where African-American scientists helped grow the HeLa cells and also evaluated Dr. Jonas Salks’s polio vaccine.
April 15, 1952. NY Times. Sixty years ago, radiation and chemotherapy for cancer were in their infancy; if the surgeon could not cut a tumor out, things were just about hopeless. So the researcher, Dr. Chester M. Southam, was studying viruses for their cancer-killing potential. Studies had shown that a pathogen called the Russian spring-summer encephalitis virus could eradicate tumors in mice. Because that virus was considered too dangerous for people, Southam searched for something milder, settling on the newly discovered West Nile virus. The work was done in two bedded rooms separated from the rest of the hospital by an old-fashioned screen door. Dr. Donald Armstrong, attending physician emeritus at Memorial Sloan-Kettering who was a trainee at the time, said the screens were placed to minimize the possibility that a rogue mosquito would transmit virus to other patients or staff members. Southam injected West Nile virus into more than 100 people with advanced cancer and few treatment options, then reported his findings in journals. The work generated substantial excitement. “Deep Cancers Temporarily Shrunk by Rare Nerve Virus From Africa,” The New York Times reported on April 15, 1952. “Nerve virus” indeed: Southam had selected West Nile because he thought it would be harmless. In naturally occurring cases from Africa, it had caused only slight fever. But in New York, things turned out quite differently. Eleven percent became ill, and a few quite ill, with symptoms of what we now consider classic West Nile encephalitis: fever, weakness, confusion and even seizures. Virus was isolated from the cerebrospinal fluid of one patient, while in others it was cultured from blood more than three weeks after inoculation. In one type of cancer, lymphoma, tumors did shrink in 3 of 8 injected patients, compared with just a few responses in the 100 with other types of cancer. But five of the same eight lymphoma patients developed severe West Nile disease, including encephalitis a rate far higher than in everyone else.
1954. The Journal of Immunology publishes Anti-Virus Antibody Studies Following Induced Infection of Man with West Nile, Ilhéus, and Other Viruses, by Chester M. Southam and Alice E. Moore. Table 1 is “Development of serum antibody tilers suggestive of or diagnostic of virus infection, following experimental inoculation of viruses in cancer patients.” The viruses were West Nile Virus, Egypt 101, 19 and 21 Viruses (?), Ilheus Encephalitis Virus, Newcastle Disease Virus, Bunyamwera Virus, Br I virus (?), R Virus (?), Semliki Forest Virus, Rabies Virus.
1954. DNB Stories: So in 1954, (Chester Southam) injected the HeLa cells into a dozen hospitalized cancer patients without telling them what he was doing or why.
1956. DNB Stories: Southam wanted next to see if the HeLa tumors would grow in healthy persons as well. 150 state prisoners volunteered to him for various reasons (such as feeling it would help atone for their crimes) and he injected the HeLa cells into 65 of them in 1956.
1956-1960. DNB Stories: Southam then injected the HeLa cells into more than 600 other people in the years following that, including every OB-GYN surgery patient at Sloan Kettering, each time lying to these patients about what he was doing. “We’re just testing for cancer,” he told them.
1960. In 1960 the program (Cancer Chemotherapy National Service Center (CCNSC)) began to screen extracts of natural products, both plant and animal, as complex mixtures of compounds of unknown structures. By that year CCNSC was screening 30,000 samples a year, about ten times Sloan-Kettering’s volume.
1963. 100md: Avir Kagan was an attending physician at Brooklyn’s Jewish Chronic Disease Hospital (JCDH) in 1963, when he received a surprising request: Would he participate in an experiment in which live cancer cells were injected into chronically ill patients? … The physician who spearheaded the experiment, Chester M. Southam, was a respected clinical investigator at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center who was studying the immunology of cancer. … Southam approached Emanuel E. Mandel, director of the Department of Medicine at JCDH. Mandel agreed to cooperate, and it was he who asked Kagan to participate. When Kagan declined, Mandel recruited a resident physician to perform the injections. Although details of what occurred remain disputed, some facts are clear. Twenty-two patients received injections of a “cell suspension.” The word “cancer” was never mentioned to the subjects. … When Kagan and his colleagues David Leichter and Perry Fersko learned that the experiment had proceeded, they resigned from JCDH. Meanwhile, William A. Hyman, a member of the hospital’s board of directors, had grown alarmed and sued the hospital to obtain the records of the patients. It was Hyman’s lawsuit that alerted the media, resulting in “the hottest public debate on medical ethics since the Nuremberg trials of Nazi physicians.” Indeed, it was Hyman and other critics at JCDH who had first termed Southam’s experiments “acts which belong more properly in Dachau.”
January 26, 1964. NY Times: Medical research circles are buzzing over the disclosure last week of experiments in which persons were injected with living cancer cells without their knowledge. The problem came to light last Monday when it was disclosed that 22 patients at Brooklyn’s Jewish Chronic Disease Hospital had been injected with living cancer cells with their consent but without their knowing what the injections really consisted of. It came out subsequently that nearly 300 other patients at the Sloan‐Kettering Institute for Cancer Research and Memorial Hospital for Cancer and Allied Diseases had also participated in this work and that many of them had, similarly, not been told that the injections contained living cancer cells. A third group, inmates of the Ohio State Penitentiary in Columbus, Ohio, volunteered for the tests, knowing that the injections consisted of cancer cells. The research, under the direction of Dr. Chester M. Southam of Sloan‐Kettering, has been going on for 10 years. It is aimed at studying the nature of the body’s defense mechanisms—the immune reactions—in healthy persons, cancer patients and persons suffering from chronic diseases other than cancer. The important outcome of the study so far is that a cancer patient’s immune mechanisms are deficient. compared with those of the two other groups. The nature of the deficiency is now being studied.
1967. Ann Arbor District Library: After the cessation of hostilities, GM and Ford demanded reparations from the U.S. government for wartime damages sustained by their Axis facilities as a result of Allied bombing. By 1967, GM had collected more than $33 million in reparations and Federal tax benefits for damages to its warplane and motor vehicle properties in formerly Axis territories, including Germany, Austria, Poland, Latvia and China.
To be continued.