The historian, Thomas Kuhn, described science in terms of paradigms, pervasive frameworks of scientific thoughts. A poor paradigm promotes fragmentation of scientific logic, while a good paradigm promotes unity. According to Grand Dean of American Cellular Biology Gilbert Ling, “The incorrect paradigm cannot bear to look at history, because it has no coherence. History, to it, is merely yesterday’s newspaper. The coherent theory sees its roots in history and absolutely depends on and is part of history.”
In 1994, Polly Matzinger and Ephraim Fuchs lit fire to the swamp of conflicting ideas in immunology. By simply pointing out the obvious, Matzinger enlarged the paradigm sufficiently to contextualize many apparently discordant observations. Here is her seminal publication:
• Tolerance, danger, and the extended family.
And here is the oncology game changer:
• Is cancer dangerous to the immune system?
And then there’s this one; who knew that immune responses are initiated and stopped by tissues?
• Tissue-based class control: the other side of tolerance.
The Danger Model, the robust current paradigm, easily looks to the past and sees its roots. Although the War on Cancer failed to investigate the materials, methods and mechanisms of cancer pioneers William Coley and Max Gerson, Danger embraces both clinical investigators and offers tantalizing insights into the workings of their contributions.
• A Medical Application of Matzinger’s Danger Model: Coley’s Cancer Vaccine
• Practice of Gerson’s diet therapy in neoplastic diseases: A tissue-centric nutritional immunotherapy that anticipated Matzinger’s Danger Model with its tissue-based effector class control
If your discipline shares any cross-cutting issues with the above methods of cancer management, and you have ideas for basic or translational research, we would like to hear from you.