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a method of treating diseases in man and animals by injecting protein parenterally, that is, not through the alimentary canal. The proteins are usually administered intramuscularly; they include one’s own blood (autohe-motherapy), the blood of a donor (isohemotherapy), and milk or a solution of casein, milk’s main protein (lactotherapy). Other proteins are also used, including serums and vaccines (serotherapy and vaccinotherapy). Serotherapy and vaccinotherapy are specific in the effect they produce, and the action of a preparation is aimed at the causative agent of a particular infection. All other types of protein therapy are nonspecific in nature and are aimed at increasing the body’s general resistance.
Various chronic and pathological diseases whose course is mild, for example, infectious processes, infectious and allergic processes, and trophic ulcers, are usually indications for protein therapy. Attempts have been made to use nonspecific vaccinotherapy in treating tumors and leukemia by the contemporary French scientist G. Maté.
The products of both autolysis and the decomposition of injected proteins are most important in protein therapy. Their stimulating effect on restoration processes in tissues is well known and is reflected in a series of old biological concepts, including G. Haberlandt’s wound hormones, A. Carrel’s tre-phons, and V. P. Filatov’s biogenic stimulants. Two factors are probably important in the mechanism of protein therapy. The first factor is that the products of protein decomposition activate the body’s own proteins, including those that are immunocompetent, on the basis of the feedback principle. The second factor is that the presence of a large quantity of low-molecular protein precursors in the tissue medium provides the plastic material required for biosynthesis.
The beneficial effect that protein therapy produces in the treatment of tumors is possibly related to the fact that all forms of protein therapy raise the level of normal regenerative processes and that antagonism exists between regeneration and development of the tumor (the Soviet biologist B. P. Tokin, 1940, 1959). This phenomenon was further investigated by Austrian researchers—F. Seilern-Aschpang and his colleagues (1960–63)—who showed that in invertebrates and some vertebrates, for instance, tritons, tumors rarely develop in parts of the body that are easily regenerated, such as the tail and extremities in the triton; when they do develop in such parts of the body, they generally heal by themselves. Involution of a tail tumor in a triton can be accelerated by amputating the healthy part of the organ, thereby triggering regeneration.
G. B. GOKHLERNER