对抗传统智慧

剑桥——1974年修完研究生课程后,我有幸与哈佛医学院的福克曼博士一起从事博士后研究工作。福克曼博士有理论认为切断营养来源可以遏制肿瘤的生长。他认为肿瘤会分泌一种叫肿瘤血管生成因子的物质,导致周围的血管向其生长,并为其输送营养、排出废物。福克曼推测血管生成过程是肿瘤存活的关键因素。

这种理论完全有悖于传统智慧。审核福克曼科研拨款的科学家认为新血管的生成仅仅是因为炎症。但福克曼仍坚持研究,并最终证明这种化学物质确实存在。四十年后的今天,已有1000多万患者接受过这种物质的治疗,其中既包括黄斑变性等新生血管性疾病,也包括各式肿瘤。

我在他的实验室工作时也有过类似的经历,我当时负责分离抑制血管生长的主要大分子量物质。这需要发明一种生物测定法,让我们在肿瘤生长过程中观察对血管生长的抑制。

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