The spontaneous healing of cancer is a phenomenon that has been observed for hundreds and thousands of years and after having been the subject of many controversies, it is now accepted as an indisputable fact. A review of past reports demonstrates that regression is usually associated with acute infections, fever, and immunostimulation. It is stated that in 1891, William Coley of New York's Memorial Hospital developed the most effective single-agent anticancer therapy from nature, which faded into oblivion for various reasons. Cancer therapies have been standardized and have improved since Coley's day, but surprisingly modern cancer patients do not fare better than patients treated 50 or more years ago as concluded by researchers in 1999. This article peeks into the history of immunostimulation and the role of innate immunity in inducing a cure even in advanced stages of malignancy. The value of Coley's observation is that rather than surviving additional years with cancer, many of the patients who received his therapy lived the rest of their lives without cancer. In our relentless efforts to go beyond nature to fight cancer, we often overlook the facts nature provides to heal our maladies.
Keywords: Acute infections; Coley's toxins; cancer; fever; immunostimulation; spontaneous regression.