Bittner , John Joseph
(1904–1961) American experimental biologist
Bittner, who was born in Meadville, Pennsylvania, gained his doctorate at the University of Michigan and spent the greater part of his academic life involved in cancer research. He was George Chase Christian Professor of Cancer Research at the University of Michigan and director of cancer biology of the University of Minnesota's medical school (1942–57), and latterly professor of experimental biology.
While working at Ben Harbor Research Station, Maine (1936), Bittner found that some strains of mice were highly resistant to cancer, while others were very prone to it. If the young of cancer-resistant mice were transferred to cancer-prone mothers they became cancerous, apparently via the mothers' milk, whereas cancer-resistant parents induced resistance in cancer-prone young. Bittner's discovery of viruslike organisms in the milk of cancer-prone parents suggested that these organisms are the cause of the cancer. Bittner's findings followed, and may be linked with, those of Francis Rous, who made the controversial finding that other viruslike organisms are, perhaps, the cause of sarcomas (tumors originating in connective tissue) in chickens. Such work does not, of course, suggest that all cancers are caused by viruses or viruslike organisms, merely that some forms may be.

Scientists. . 2011.

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