Rejuvenation treatment once attracted the rich and famous even the Pope but was later dismissed as trickery. Now it is being reconsidered in medical circles.
At the peak of his fame in the 1930s, Professor Voronoff, a Russian
physician, was doing ten monkey gland operations a week in which three
thin slices of monkey testicle were grafted (with silk stitches) on to
the inside of the scrotum. He was, as a result, a very wealthy man. He
occupied the whole of the first floor of one of Paris’s most expensive
hotels, surrounded by a retinue of chauffeurs, valets, personal
secretaries and two mistresses.
In 1952, a distinguished British surgeon, Kenneth Walker, described the
work as "no better than the methods of witches and magicians". And, in
another memorable phrase, the monkey grafts were swiftly dismissed as
"nothing more nor less than a piece of dead meat put in the wrong
In November 1991 an editorial in The Lancet suggested that the file on
Voronoff’s work be reopened and in particular that "the Medical Research
Council should fund further studies on monkey glands".