The Day Life Magazine Came To Sadtler

Back in the early sixties there was a running war between the FDA and supporters of a drug called Krebiozen which was touted as a cure for certain types of cancer. Two Yugoslavian brothers named Durovic had brought the whitish powder to the United States from Argentina. It was said to have come from the blood of horses that had been injected with a microorganism responsible for "lumpy jaw" in cattle.

In order to stop the sale and use of the untested drug, the FDA first had to determine exactly what it was and then hopefully to show that it had alrady been tested as a cancer treatment and had failed to show any positve effects.

One ampule of the material was obtained from its sponsors and an Infra-red spectrogram was prepared. A graduate student at a local university then sat down with a set of the Sadtler Standard IR spectra and went through the volumes page by page until a matching spectrogram was found.

It turned out that Krebiozen was actually a common amino acid named Creatin Monohydrate which had already been tested as an anti-cancer agent and had been found to be ineffective.
The identification was big news at the time and a photographer from Life magazine came to Sadtler's Vine Street laboratory late in 1963 to take pictures of the spectra lab, the personnel and the IR spectometers. The spectra lab personnel at that time included Traude Hegel (soon to become Mrs. Philip Sadtler), Wayne Liss, Fred Mercaldo and Bill Simons. The Sadtler employees excitedly awaited the publication of the story in Life magazine the following week but were disappointed to find that only a picture of the student looking at a volume of spectra had been included with the story.