Cancer and Most Diseases are Caused by Bacteria

by Alan Cantwell M.D.

A century and a half ago, Bechamp declared the microzyma is the essential unit of life. As a medical doctor, a microscopist and a cytologist (a specialist in the study of cells), he observed tiny, round granular bodies within the cells that glistened as tiny sparkles of refracted light. He was not the first to see the granules, but he was the first to suspect these “little bodies” might hold the key to the origin of life. Other scientists who observed these forms named them “scintillating corpuscles” and “molecular granulations.” Bechamp explored the nature and function of these granules contained within all human cells.

He studied them in various diseases. In tuberculosis (TB) the unhealthy cells contained large numbers of these granules. His varied academic background in medicine, chemistry and physics, and his special expertise in the use of polarized light, allowed him to devise unique biological experiments. Ultimately he showed that microzymas are tiny chemical factories which have the ability to ferment. Microzymas were named after Greek words meaning “small” and “ferment.”

Chemical tests proved microzymas were insoluble in water; and composed of hydrogen, carbon, and other elements, and produced nucleic acid. When heated to high temperatures they lost their ability to ferment. The microzymas were alive and teemed with chemically active energy. Bechamp declared that they were essential and indispensable anatomic cellular elements which digested, transformed, and assimilated nutrients required by the cells. He tried to kill them, but they proved indestructible. They were present in the amoeba, the smallest form of animal life; and within the smallest forms of plant life. Microzymas of each organ behaved differently from one another with different biochemical properties. The microzymas in the organs of young people differed biochemically from those in old people.

The transformation of microzymas into bacteria

Bechamp made a tremendous scientific discovery. Under certain conditions (and by a process known as “vibrionen evolution”) he observed microzymas transform into bacteria! First, they enlarged into round coccoid forms. Then the round forms might couple into two or more units; or they might sprout into rod forms of bacteria. Bechamp was sure the “little bodies” were involved in the fermentation process and in the production of disease.

Where do microzymas come from? He startled the scientific world by declaring: “They are the organized and yet living remains of beings that lived in long past ages. They are the transmitters of heredity. Within the chromatin material of the human sperm are contained all the microzymian granules needed to genetically reproduce all the different cells essential for the reproduction of the human species.”

Bechamp taught that all life arises from microzymas. After many laboratory experiments and microscopic examinations of these granules, the physician-scientist claimed that microzymas were capable of developing into common living organisms that go by the name of bacteria. Some of these intermediate bacterial stages were regarded by experts as different species, but to Bechamp they were all related and derived from microzymas.

Bechamp versus Pasteur

Antoine Bechamp (1816-1908) had an incredible list of scientist appointments at French universities: Doctor of Science, Doctor of Medicine, Professor of Medical Chemistry and Pharmacy at Montpelier, Professor of Physics and Toxicology at Strasbourg. The list goes on and on.

During his lifetime Bechamp was overshadowed by the iconic chemist Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), the most celebrated scientist of the nineteenth century. He is considered the Father of Medical Microbiology. And some call him the Father of Modern Medicine, a title quite remarkable as Pasteur was not a physician. Both men were highly-regarded members of the French Academy of Science, and each submitted their scientific findings to the Academy for review and publication.

Because Bechamp frequently criticized Pasteur’s work, an intense rivalry and feud between the two intensified in the Academy. But no matter how carefully Bechamp argued against some of Pasteur’s scientific methods and conclusions, the Academy always gave the nod to Pasteur.

As a chemist, Pasteur lacked Bechamp’s varied professional accreditations in the fields of biology, physics and pharmacology. Despite this, he achieved great fame by saving the French beer and wine and silkworm industries, and with pasteurization and vaccine research. He was consumed with fermentation experiments and with proving “air germs” were the basis for human disease, although he provided no explanation for the origin of atmospheric germs or how life began on Earth. In Bechamp’s view, Pasteur’s “air germs” had nothing to do with the origin and appearance of these microzymas in tissue. In fact, he wrote that Pasteur’s air germs most likely derived from dying life-forms. Adding more heresy to Pasteur’s dogma, Bechamp wrote that without oxygen, microzymas do not die—they go into a state of rest.

Although Pasteur lacked Bechamp’s understanding of disease pathology, he established through his discoveries the essential political connections that extended as high up as the Emperor of France. The times favored Pasteur because his ideas were in tune with the science and the politics of his day; and Bechamp’s ideas were not.

Bechamp, despite his brilliance, was eventually eclipsed by the younger Pasteur. His research can be explored in the English edition of his book, The Blood and its Third Element, published posthumously in 1912. The details of the scientific feud and plagiarism accusations can be found in Ethel Douglas Hume’s book, Bechamp or Pasteur?: A Lost Chapter in the History of Biology (1923). Both books are still in print and current editions are available from Caterpillar Ink.

Microzymas and bacterial pleomorphism

Robert Koch, a legendary figure in microbiology for his discovery in the late nineteenth century of acid-fast bacteria as the cause of tuberculosis (TB), was rigid in his belief that a specific germ had only one form (monomorphism). And he opposed all research showing some germs had more than one form (pleomorphism) and complex “life cycles.” Thus, from the very beginning of bacteriology there was conflict between the monomorphists and the pleomorphists, with the former totally overruling the latter and dominating microbiology to this day.

In the attempt to “classify” laboratory-grown bacteria as the lowest forms of life known at that time, there was no consideration given to any possible “connection” between any of the various species of bacteria. The dogma was that a coccus remained a coccus; a rod remained a rod; and there was no interplay between them. There was also no “crossing over” from one species to another, and the research of the pleomorphists suggesting otherwise was ignored.

When viruses were discovered they were made separate from bacteria, although bacteria are also known to be susceptible to viral infection. Viruses were put in one box; bacteria in another. As a result, the spectacular number of “filterable” pleomorphic microbial forms that form a bridge between the “living” bacteria and the “dead” viruses are still largely unstudied and considered of no great importance in clinical medicine.

Thanks to Pasteur, common “skin” bacteria like cocci and bacilli are often viewed as suspicious laboratory “contaminants” or “secondary invaders” or “opportunistic infections” of no great importance as etiologic agents. As a result of all this dogma and rigidity, medical thought was completely turned off to the possibility that certain cancers and chronic diseases might be caused by common pleomorphic bacteria originating in our own body cells. Therefore Bechamp’s idea that bacteria could arise from damaged human cells was deemed preposterous.

The legacy of Bechamp

Bechamp described the earliest stages of cellular microzymas as “granules.” Using a light microscope at its highest power, at a magnification of 1000 times. I don’t think it’s yet possible to definitively point to a single “granule” and claim it is a microzyma. A study of human microscopic pathology reveals the presence of countless granules in blood and tissue. However, because suitably-stained bacteria are visible at this magnification they are able to be identified. The appearance of blood and tissue bacteria associated with cancer and certain chronic diseases has been described by various (and always controversial) researchers since the dawn of microbiology in the late 1890s, when doctors finally accepted germs as a cause of disease. Unfortunately, modern doctors still do not accept bacteria that have been studied and reported in cancerous tissue and claimed to be the cause of cancer. Some vehemently oppose such a belief.

There are numerous scientists who owe a debt to Bechamp and his contention that human disease has its roots within the cells of the body itself. Cells are damaged. The microzymas within the cell react to this damage. Microbes develop from microzymas within the damaged cells, resulting in cellular inflammation and disease production.

In 1890 William Russell, a renowned Scottish pathologist, described “the parasite of cancer” that he discovered in every cancer he examined. German zoologist Gunter Enderlein (1872-1968) studied aspects of the microbes emanating from microzymas, labelling them as “protits” and described a “life cycle” for these pleomorphic organisms. Canadian microbiologist Gaston Naessens (1924- ) has also studied the life cycles of blood microbes he defines as “somatids” and other forms. With his specially-designed microscope capable of time-lapse microphotography, Royal Raymond Rife (1888-1971) was the first to directly visualize viruses and transformations of pleomorphic bacteria in human tissue. His scientific achievements are recounted by Jeff Rense on

Undoubtedly related to Bechamp is the cancer research of the notorious Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957), whose studies and conclusions concerning “bions” and “T-bacilli” derived from cancerous cells eventually landed him in an American prison where he died. My mentor Virginia Livingston (1906-1990), along with her co-workers, spent a lifetime in research preaching that cancer was caused by pleomorphic acid-fast bacteria. For more on these two physicians, see ‘Virginia Livingston: Cancer quack or medical genius?’ and ‘Dr. Wilhelm Reich: Scientific genius—or medical madman?’ on

Despite the general belief that normal, healthy human blood is “sterile,” there is more and more evidence that human blood harbors bacteria normally, both in health and disease. These bacteria have been determined to be staphylococcal, streptococcal, and corynebacteria-like pleomorphic cell wall deficient bacteria, some of which are acid-fast. For examples of direct viewing of microscopic findings of bacteria in normal blood, see Tom Detwiler’s website (

Microzymas, tissue granules and coccoids, and cell wall deficient bacteria

How are microzymas related to the bacterial theory of cancer? According to Livingston and others, the cancer germ is an intra- and extracellular bacterium that can be identified by special staining of cancerous tissue, particularly the acid-fast stain—a stain traditionally used to detect TB bacteria. Cancer bacteria are pleomorphic, some of the largest “large body forms even attaining the size of red blood cells. The most common form in tissue is the granular (coccoid) form. However, pathologists do not accept the idea that these tissue bodies are microbial in nature. The larger bodies are sometimes interpreted as “Russell bodies” of dubious origin, but never as Russell’s “parasite of cancer.” (For more on large bodies, see my online article: ‘The return of the cancer parasite.’)

Figure 1. Fite (acid-fast) stained tissue section of AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma of the skin. Arrows point to a collection of variably-sized coccoid forms and granules (microzymas?) in the dermis portion of the skin. Insert shows Gram-stained Staphylococcus epidermis cultured from the tumor. Note the size and shape of the staphylococci in lab culture which appear similar to those coccoid forms seen in the tumor. Magnification x1000, in oil.

Figure 2. Tissue section of breast cancer showing a group of variably-stained extracellular coccoid forms. Compare the size of these “granules” with the size of a group of red blood cells seen in the upper right. Fite stain, x1000, in oil.


Figure 3. Tissue section of prostate cancer showing a cell laden with intracellular coccoid forms. A few of the forms emanate from the cell and become extracellular. Fite stain, x1000, in oil.


Figure 4. Tissue section of Hodgkin’s disease (lymphoma) of the lung showing a cell with intracellular
granules and coccoid forms (microzymas?). Gram stain, x1000, in oil.


Figure 5. Autopsy section of connective tissue from a fatal case of Hodgkin’s disease. The coccoid forms breaking out of the cell are variably-sized (pleomorphic) and some of the largest round forms attain the size of “large bodies.” Fite stain, x1000, in oil.

If bacteria evolve from the microzymas within the cell, as Bechamp proposed, the first appearance would be the formation of granules and coccoid forms intracellularly. The following five microphotographs show examples of how these granules (microbial coccoid forms) might appear in cancerous tissue, such as in AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma of the skin, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and Hodgkin’s disease (lymphoma).

Bechamp and the future of medical science

At the turn of the 21st century a remarkable acknowledgment took place. Scientists now believe that that the majority of our body cells are not human cells. On the contrary, 50% of our cells or more are estimated to be microbial cells, mostly bacteria. There are over 37 trillion cells in our bodies.

What role do our trillions of body microbes play in the chronic diseases of aging and in cancer? At present, we don’t know. We now recognize these germs are scattered in various tissues and organs of the body once thought to be sterile. And the blood contains bacteria which undoubtedly are carried to every cell in the body.

So why do doctors object so strongly when a scientist concludes that bacteria (rather than viruses) play a role in cancer? Are doctors failing to recognize bacteria in cancerous tissue? Whatever the answer, the role of bacteria in cancer will have to be settled once and for all. In the meantime we continue to ignore cancer microbe research to the detriment of the patient.

Pasteur was the genius of his day; and Bechamp’s microzymian theory and contrary views were an annoyance to the Academy. The medical establishment knew how to deal with rebels like Bechamp. His work would be ignored by the “authorities” and never cited by the “experts.” His ideas would never be taken seriously in journals and textbooks. Biomedical editors would purge his name from the pages of their scientific publications. Bechamp would quickly vanish from the annals of science. This is the way all medical rebels are silenced by the establishment.

Suggested reading

Alan Cantwell, M.D. is a retired dermatologist and cancer researcher. He is the author of The Cancer Microbe and Four Women Against Cancer, both available from See more at:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *