Delipidated cells of Mycobacterium smegmatis and Mycobacterium kansasii as well as purified cell walls of M. kansasii are shown to protect mice against Ehrlich ascitic carcinoma and a syngeneic lymphoid leukemia. These preparations, which are injected in 0.9% NaCl solution, have greater antitumor activity than killed cells of Bacillus Calmette-Guérin. The activity of purified cell walls is diminished by Pronase digestion and renewed delipidation, although, if suspended in small amounts of Bayol F, their activity is restored.

The active fractions are shown to be devoid of several of the noxious effects of whole mycobacterial cells, i.e., they do not sensitize to endotoxins and do not produce hypertrophy of spleen or liver; they also do not sensitize to histamine in opposition to what is observed after treatment by other immunoadjuvants such as Hemophilus pertussis or Corynebacterium parvum.


Work was supported in part by the WHO and the Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale Française.

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