Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Dinner in Copenhagen was interesting. I had a long conversation with Robert Peter Gale, a pioneer of stem cell transplants. Among the things we discussed was Michael Frayn's marvelous play about the Dane Niels Bohr and the German Werner Heisenberg. I had seen the play in Bob's home territory, New York, and he had seen it in London. There is, of course a BBC TV version which is well worth getting, starring as it does Daniel Craig (the new James Bond) as Heisenberg, Stephen Rea as Bohr and Francesca Annis as Margrethe Bohr.

Sitting on my other side was a member of Elsevier's staff, a young Moslem woman from Egypt. I attempted to discuss the Ed Hussain book about Islamists. I am afraid that I was unable to get her to talk about Islamic doctrines - it was like trying to get a member of the Church of England to talk about Christianity - they know that they are Christians, but don't know much about what Christianity stands for. I mentioned that Ed Hussain had returned to his roots as a Sufi Moslem. That did ring a bell. "It is the branch of Islam that is closest to Christianity," she said.

If you read Hussain's book, you will see that most of the ideas he now espouses are Christian ideals. Reading him you can see how some people see the three great monotheistic religions as similar. For him, though Christianity is a no go area because he could not believe that Allah (the name of God in Arabic, used by Syrian Christians as well as Moslems) could have a son. When witnessing to Moslems it is best to avoid using this metaphor to describe the relationship between the persons of the Godhead.

The other great joy of Copenhagen was meeting Anders Rosen, who was one of the presenters at the Eric meeting who spoke about the molecular targets of the immunoglobulin on the surface of CLL cells. Anders is a Christian whose parents were Baptist missionaries in China. I can't tell you good it is to meet another Christian who is working in science.


Anonymous said...

So, anything related to CLL to report from the meeting?

One thing I've learned recently is that there is a thriving research community in Europe, and some of them are researching CLL.

I've heard that the Germans are very dogmatic about clinical trials, insisting that patients start and stop trials on a particular day, and that rigid insistence has been to the detriment of patients who died from infection when Campath was used too soon after Fludarabine.

(BTW the play 'Copenhagen' played in the US on PBS. It is very good.)

Terry Hamblin said...

Yes, look at the entry on ERIC. The clinical trial of Campath following FC in Germany taught us that you have to wait at least 3 months after FC before starting Campath - something that was unknown before. It was therefore a very useful trial.

Chonette said...

I am sure something is always learnt from trials, how ever small that might appear to be.
I also heard Dr. Michael Hallek from Germany that they like to have a window of two months from finishing Campath to doing the Stem Cell transplant; he said they like to have the donor ready so they can get the CLL patient at the best time, no to leave it for too long and have him deteriorating, but 2 month window was what they found right