Big­otry inhibits ad­vance­ment of med­i­cal sci­ence

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - COMMENT -

ONE of your most es­teemed columnists, William Saun­der­son-Meyer, quite rightly pos­tu­lates the en­emy of big­otry is rea­son.

He does not go on to test the corol­lary that the en­emy of rea­son is wil­ful ig­no­rance. How­ever, rea­son is no proof against a de­ter­mined bigot.

Take the case of an Is­raeli re­search sci­en­tist, who stum­bled upon a chem­i­cal com­pound that erad­i­cates can­cer cells without harm­ing nor­mal cells. The sub­stance may prove to be the long sought-af­ter “holy grail” in the wider field of can­cer treat­ment. For now, it shows prom­ise as a spe­cific weapon against breast can­cer.

While do­ing DNA re­search, the sub­stance’s ef­fect on can­cer cells was an un­ex­pected, and po­ten­tially huge, dis­cov­ery. The sci­en­tist ex­plains: “We found those drugs some­how turn on a mech­a­nism in can­cer cells that causes them to die within 48 to 72 hours without harm­ing nor­mal tis­sue... In fact, the nor­mal cells con­tinue to pro­lif­er­ate even in the pres­ence of the drug.”

Against this ex­cit­ing, earth-shat­ter­ing dis­cov­ery, in­ter­na­tional news net­works have touted a US-based or­gan­i­sa­tion’s con­fer­ence on breast can­cer aware­ness, to be hosted in Egypt, as an ex­am­ple of “un­prece­dented co-op­er­a­tion” in the re­gion.

But the cel­e­bra­tion of unity may be pre­ma­ture. Is­raeli doc­tors were in­vited to the event as well. Last Sun­day the doc­tors re­ceived brief no­tices, telling them they were no longer in­vited to the con­fer­ence, by or­der of Egyp­tian Health Min­is­ter Hatem el-Gabali.

Kenneth Price, PhD, a clin­i­cal and foren­sic psy­chol­o­gist of Dal­las, Texas, said: “I am puz­zled that a med­i­cal con­fer­ence (of this na­ture would be held) in Egypt, given the back­ward­ness of Egypt’s health care sys­tem.

“In con­trast, tiny Is­rael has pro­duced thou­sands of med­i­cal sci­en­tists and physi­cians who have pub­lished nu­mer­ous re­search ar­ti­cles that have ad­vanced our knowl­edge in med­i­cal sci­ence (among other ar­eas).”

What kind of big­otry and un­rea­son­ing ha­tred would al­low politi­cians to shoot them­selves in the foot and in­hibit the ad­vance­ment of med­i­cal sci­ence by ban­ning the pre-em­i­nent leaders in the field from such an im­por­tant con­fer­ence? And who would later, hyp­o­crit­i­cally, use the re­sul­tant Is­raeli de­vel­op­ment for their peo­ple’s ben­e­fit? Rod­ney Maz­in­ter

Camps Bay

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