mercredi 18 juillet 2012
CONTEXT, BREAST CANCER, ARROGANCE, MINA AND MALAYSIA
Don't be arrogant, because arrogance kills curiosity and passion.”
Recently I had been thinking about CONTEXT, in a phenomenological sense, but never thought that I would learn something about Context in the non Social Sciences, the so-called Hard Sciences.
This is that story. Of how context matters at the Cellular Level as well.
Let us begin at year 2008. A strong of coincidences, but do they exist? but a prepared mind, a curious mind was introduced to a very curious mind in Malaysia. I remember the day clearly, we were guests at the home of the master of Awadhi Cuisine as well as the Creative Director of Astro TV.
He was from India and within the first few minutes I knew he had within that skull an extremely active brain. During each of my visits to KL I made a special effort to meet up with him, till he got tired of the commercialization of his environment and went back to India
Doctor, he said to me, you must watch TED videos.
So thanks for this gift from Malaysia, even though he was from India and the gift he gave me, TED, is American.
This morning, a note from TED arrived to inform me of the new videos available for viewing. TED videos are available free of charge to download, they subtitled in many languages and they encompass the entire spectrum of the world of knowledge… watching one TED video a day, at the end of the year your knowledge base would increase tremendously, if only you are curious to follow the information through and convert it into your personal knowledge.
I chose to watch a video
Experiments that point to a new understanding of cancer
Having received the good news from Cuba yesterday that a close friend was suspected of having breast cancer was cleared of that suspicion (Grateful Grateful).. Having close family members with past and present breast cancers, I wanted to be on top of the information about Cancers.
An older lady takes the stage, with conservative dress and well coiffed hair, and I noticed that she spoke with an accent that I couldn't place. Could it be East European? Certainly not Arabic. A tinge of Hebrew may be?
I was fascinated by what she had to say. The introduction caught my attention, be daring and think out side the box, which resonates well with me and my professional life. At a time when people are queuing up to be conformists, it chimed well. For Thirty years, she struggled, ostracized by the scientific community because she had theories about cancer cells and how they spread which contradicted the accepted theory of Oncogenes that cells that become cancerous carry the gene for that cancer, like Her-2 for breast and prostate cancer. After many years of struggle (she briefly mentioned that no one would fund her scientific work!), she was able to prove that at cellular level, Context overrides. In different contests, cells do different things.
The conventional wisdom is that a cancer cell when put into another part of the body will create more cancer cells and then currently the “poisons” cancer doctors use, such as the ones my sister had to go through, kills all the cells but multiplying cells like the cancer cells more efficiently. It is truly a very gross form of therapy, like using a machine gun to kill a mosquito!
MINA BISSELL, the senior scientist was able to show experiments where she was able to reverse the process of cancer by adding the missing ENVIRONMENT. Watch the video and it is truly amazing to see cancerous cells regaining their normal shape and form. Form and Function in balance, between the Extra Cellular Matrix and the Nucleus of the Cell. WOW indeed…
Congratulations Professor Bissell! Like your colleague in San Francisco, Elizabeth Blackburn, from Australia, who deciphered human Telomeres and won the Nobel Prize for Medicine, I expect to hear that Mina Bissell has won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, in the very near future.
This video was filmed in June 2012 and uploaded in July 2012 and I received the notification today.
Then I got interested in this professor as a person, who is she, where does she come from. Imagine my pleasant surprise that she was born and raised in Teheran and was the top student in all of Iran in the year of her high school graduation. Few months later she came to the USA to study, ending up with BA, MA and PhD from Harvard Universities and currently is the Senior Scientist at Berkeley, California at LBL. (Lawrence Biological Laboratories).
(Mina.. one of the meanings, depicted above)
In an interview she had mentioned that she had to choose between English Literature and Chemistry and that Chemistry had won. Her favourite book was The Little Prince by Antoine St Exupery and now it is True North by the Australian Historian writer Jull Kerr Conway.
But what touched me was this bit about her, which has a personal meaning for me:
“My childhood hero, however, was Iranian Prime Minister Mosadegh, who was a forthright, courageous man who asked Britain and the United States to help nationalize the oil. He was portrayed in the American press as pro-Communist, yet nothing was further from the truth -- he was a constitutional man. However, because of the sentiments against him, he was toppled -- a very sad event for that country. Years later, there was an admission that this was a bad mistake. I believe that had he stayed in power, the tragic events of the so called "Islamic Revolution" brought about by decades of oppression, would not have happened”
In another Interview she was asked:
I haven't gone back since the Shah fell because I'm very outspoken and wouldn't tolerate it if someone said, “Put that thing on your head.” Not once did I have to wear even a scarf, despite the fact I had an Ayatollah for a grandfather.
The curious thing is that even now, 54% of those studying engineering, medicine, and architecture at universities across Iran are women. And 52% of Tehran University faculties are women. Who hears about this? All you hear is Ahmadinejad!
I am truly happy to learn about this women and her work. And for my Iranian colleagues and intellectuals in and outside of Iran, let her be a guide to you, an inspiration. During the recent meeting of Endocrine Society I was so happy to see so many young Iranian doctors (almost all of them based in the USA), who would contribute to the society that they call home.
Iran’s Loss is the Gain of the World. Let the arrogance that kills Curiosity and Passion and Excellence of so many Iranians, let that stay behind in Iran with the Bearded Ones.
So thank you Malaysia for your ongoing gifts to me..through Iran in this case. I truly enjoyed writing this.. Gracias. Merci Beaucoup. Obrigado.
It is also good to see the illustrious professor does take time to spend as much time with her family as possible! or feasible!