Methuselahs Confound Professor Searching for Biological Joshua
Youth Drug Pleas Swamp Scientist
"It's a frenetic state of life, like trying to run the Grand National," moaned Dr. Caroll M. Williams, professor of Biology, yesterday. Dr. Williams, who recently found in humans a juvenile hormone that may possibly control aging, has been engulfed by requests for what deluded octogenarians seem to believe is a "miracle rejuvenator," a "Peter Pan" wonder drug.
In an article in the British journal Nature this month, Dr. Williams described his success in extracting from human tissue a hormone that controls metamorphosis of insects. When applied to caterpillars of this hormone prevents their becoming butterflies. "Unfortunate publicity," according to Dr. Williams, has apparently deluded hundreds of the nation's oldsters into taking the chemical for what the New York Times calls "a biological Joshua commanding the biological sun to stand still."
"I receive 50 to 100 letters every morning asking where to get the stuff," bewailed Dr. Williams. "Actually, there is not enough of the hormone in the world to permits experiments on animals. There is no proof that it even has any effect on humans.... After getting 20 to 30 long-distance phone calls a day on the subject, I have finally unplugged my phone."
Dr. Williams is now working alone night and day to analyze the purified hormone so that it can be synthesized, mass-produced, and tested on higher forms of life. He expects to finish his work "in a few months," barring interruptions. Members of all major American drug concerns, concerns, he notes, are working on the project in competition with him, and "it is hard to try to do research in the middle of all this confusion.