Review of Reviews,  6 (1892), 195–96.

Can Cancer be Cured? Report of the Mattei Investigation Committee



Editorial, News-Commentary


Medical Treatment, Heterodoxy, Homeopathy, Quackery, Controversy, Boundary Formation

    Reports that the 'lamented death' of Morell Mackenzie has led to the 'reconstruction' of the medical committee examining the efficacy of Cesare Mattei's medicines for the cure of cancer, with George W Potter being appointed as the new chairman. However, when certain members of the new committee defended the expediency of its formation in the medical press, the Matteist doctors mistakenly assumed that the committee's rules had been violated and 'refused to continue their treatment any longer under the observation of the Committee'. Accordingly, the committee produced a draft report of its findings up to that point and 'thereupon dissolved'. The report concludes unambiguously that 'sufficient evidence has been obtained to convince the Committee of the altogether inert character of the so-called cure', and that there is nothing 'which tends to differentiate it favourably from other so-called "cancer cures", which have invariably been found in practice to fail'. (195) In a letter responding to the report, the Matteist doctors point out that 'while not asserting that any cures have been effected, the patients have experienced relief, and one and all are persuaded that they are better after having used the medicines'. Noting that this is 'a somewhat lame and inconclusive result to be arrived at after all the trouble that has been taken', suggests that 'our readers can form their own opinion of the evidence which I put before them'. (196)

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