A disease with the characteristics of a leukemia has been found to be serially transmissible in adult Swiss mice by means of cell-free filtrates. Thus far, the disease has been transmitted through twenty-six serial passages with filtrates as well as cell suspensions. The agent readily passes through Selas 03, Berkefeld N, and gradocol membrane filters—these last having an average pore size of 220 mµ. Filtrates remain stable when stored for long periods at –70°C. or when lyophilized. Splenic tissue containing the agent, which was subjected to massive doses of x-ray (50,000 r),—far more than sufficient to kill the cells,—show undiminished infectivity. The agent is inactivated by heating to 56°C. for 30 minutes and by exposure to ether or formalin.
The disease can be transmitted to adult Swiss mice or DBA/2 mice, but not to adult PRI, C3H, A, C57B1/6, or F1(C58 x BALB) mice. Intraperitoneal, subcutaneous, intracerebral, and intramuscular injections are all effective.