Sezione Medicina

from Leadership Medica n. 5/2000

Few people knew Cesarino (and this fact allow us referring some freely, without feeling tactless), but many will acknowledge the human typology underlying the axiom that bears his name. The “ Cesarino Axiom” may be enunciated this way: “Taken an “epsilon” INEXISTENT person at will, Cesarino had already met him”. I reassert: INEXISTENT. But provided this person was described as IMPORTANT, you could be sure that Cesarino, depending on sex, age, places, profession had (more or less deeply) flirted with, or shared the same university college, or flirted with his sister/mother/cousin/wife (this last case always before the two got engaged, or better before they met). Naturally all that occurred also to personages really famous: the invented personages started to be invented in order to prove that Cesarino invented. This way it established his axiom. That is his only provided that with him it reached its complete formulation. It is the same for the several “... disease”, “.. syndrome”, “.. Law”: phenomena existing far before acknowledging somebody the merit to have checked them by documenting ones' own ascertainment. The world is plenty of axiomatic Cesarini, and far less the medical science is an exception. All the opposite: medical science carries this axiom in its genetic map. It's a fact. Do you mind Cristobal Colombòn, the Iberian stand-in of Christopher Colombo? I say Cristobal Colombòn, that's insinuating figure that raised so much confusion about the image of Christopher Colombo. It's hard for us, the Italians, to find the way: information available here keeps us uninformed, but abroad since time they have clear ideas. Let's clear them up even for us. Cristobal Colombòn is that personage that in harbours make a lot of noise, by proclaiming he is equipping very daring expeditions, that he has reached already sublime targets and made marvellous discovers, he is a master in directing the chorus (heredity is not water...) of the stupefying and accomplices that make advertising to him in order to collect funds for fantastic enterprises. But if you are really attentive, you'll find that Cristobal Colombòn never sails, even if he goes on cashing money to equip investigation ships: he remains at the limits, ignoring the real plans of the real Christopher Colombo, Vasco de Gama, Magellano, Necker, Fong, Aguilar. But just got the news - even vaguely, of some discovers of theirs or some new horizons toward which their mind pointed to, then our lame Colombòn notices us that he was on this ways since 2 years the less, that this horizon, other hope to catch a glimpse of, he has already overcome...: Cesarino docet. And what about when you realize that the real discovers, after yelling “Earth, Earth!”, provoking the counterattack echo by Colombòn, once landed, find themselves in a quicksand shore and that the horizon was a mirage? This the moment Colombòn makes us know that “That's why he got there before, but he did no land. That's why he had already clearly seen that that horizon was morganatic (that's rich), and indeed he did not go on this way...” But, why, if he already knew everything, when discoverers and outlooks were announced, have he not already told or informed about? Ask Cesarino: provided “an important INEXISTENT 'epsilon' discover at will, professor Colombòn already made it “. Down the allusive allegoric masks: we are talking about genic therapies; a splendid research trend, but not always bright by the human point of view. Summing up, out of 93 clinic trials (clinic: is it clear?) concerning genic therapies and featured by inactivated adenovirus carriers, the United States National Institutes of Health discovered the concomitance of as far as 691 unfavourable reactions. I say 'discovered ', because spontaneously only 39 were noticed, nearly the 5 per cent out of the detected. The frontier research - and the medical one is not certainly an exception - is not free from risks: “The matter is that we are starting off a new era in therapy - a real Christopher Colombo says, professor Yuman Fong of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center at New York - and it will occur unsuspected side effects, and it will happen that many people will die due to these 'therapies'”. “That of genic therapies - professor Estuario Aguillar-Cordova del Baylor College of Medicine of Houston said- is a long book of which we have already read the foreword, plenty of hyperboles and with expectations that are detached from reality. Now we must write it, by distinguishing well facts by a scientific point of view, its next outlooks and the reasonable hopes “. There are hemophilics for whom the genic therapy could look that needs fewer transfusions and also for cancer it looks promising the realization of anti-cancer drugs planned according to the principles of the genetic therapy. Nevertheless, the number of patients for whom it has been achieved benefits is still to little to assert that these therapeutic protocols could keep worthy wide range, or on the opposite a wide scale could arise an unacceptable disadvantage/advantage rate.

Sergio Angeletti