This Net Science film begins by introducing a child named Sandra with leukemia and following her as she gets routine blood work done. The narrator then explains that scientists are seeking to prove that a virus is the cause of cancer in humans. Doctors Grace and Stuart are called upon to help explain the present knowledge. The narrator explains that cancer is a disease of the cells, and then gives a brief description of cells, and shows through time-lapse photography how normal cells and cancerous cells reproduce differently under a microscope. He then explains what viruses are and what they do. Dr. Stuart explains how she works with diseased cells in plants, and shows how she isolates diseased cells from leaves and then infects healthy leaves to study the disease, and then does the same with cancer in mice. Dr. Grace grows human cancer cells, and conducts experiments similar to Dr. Stuart's, except with monkeys, which he assures the audience are very healthy and treated lovingly. He explains that with the infected blood of his patients, he can isolate cancer cells and infect the monkeys to track the progress of the disease. The film then shows Sandra's mother talking to a doctor about leukemia. The doctor explains to her that the experiments that have been shown strongly suggest that cancer is caused by a virus, but that the medical community is still waiting on definitive proof. With that proof, he believes doctors will be able to develop vaccines to both prevent and treat the symptoms of cancer. The doctor explains to Sandra's mother that while there is much to be learned about cancer, research in recent years have had significant impacts on the life expectancy and quality of life of patients.
The National Library of Medicine believes this item to be in the public domain. (More information)
Spectrum (Television program)
Black and white
James Grace, Sarah Stewart.
Produced by Eliot Tozer ; directed by Bert Shapiro ; edited by Kurt Hirschler ; electron micrographs, Robley C. Williams, Robert A. Zeigel, Lee Suk Chai ; light micrographs, George O. Gey, Gordon Kaye ; executive producer, David Prowitt ; time-lapse films, Pasedena Foundation for Medical Research.