Q Fever! Medical Humor & Satire

June 27, 2001 | Volume 2, Issue 6

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Ball-Peen Hammer Shows Activity Against Tumor Cells

Clinical application may be years away, caution scientists

CLEVELAND, OH--In a development that may revolutionize the treatment of cancer, a researcher at Morrison University has announced the discovery of a technique that effectively destroys 99.9% of cancer cells in vitro.

Distraught Researcher
Dr. Barry Pinsky

In his groundbreaking laboratory work, Dr. Barry Pinsky has been able to destroy malignant cells by whacking their glass or plastic containers repeatedly with a hammer, thus pulverizing the contents to a fine pulp and spilling the nutrient broth that sustains them all over the floor.

Pinsky's group says an element of serendipity was at frist involved. According to Dr. Eli Bergerman, whose lab is across the hall from Pinsky's, "Barry came in at nine, and then around ten he got a call telling him his research funding had dried up."

"Well, he was already a little on the touchy side, ever since his wife took off with one of his grad students. All of a sudden he just grabbed a hammer that was lying on a bench."

The distraught researcher then "went postal," according to sources at the scene.

In a remarkable series of subsequent experiments, which took place shortly before Pinsky's loss of lab space and academic appointment, it was demonstrated that all tumor cells in the laboriously maintained cell cultures had been destroyed, through a process scientists have christened "smashing."

"Smashing," in which living cells are suddenly and repetitively subjected to extreme external forces, has been shown to result in rapid leakage or spurting of cell contents, followed rapidly by cell death.

While the results have created tremendous commotion in the cancer research community, experts cautioned that it may be some time before cellular "smashing" becomes a regular part of the anti-cancer armamentarium.

Dr. Clovis O'Rourke, an oncologist at Central West Memorial Hospital in Topeka, KS, argued that some tumors may be difficult to "smash" with ball-peen hammers, "particularly if they are located in or near vital organs, like the heart, lungs, or brain."

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