P. GREANVILLE—Ever since I first saw it decades ago, Dr Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet, released by Warner Bros. in 1940 (with a screenplay that included John Huston among the talented writers), has struck me as one of the most memorable and noble films in Hollywood’s inventory of biopics. The word that defines this film is uplifting. Edward G. Robinson, an unforgettable actor of immense range, is simply magnificent in his portrayal of Ehrlich. As the anonymous author of the retrospective appreciation we publish below correctly notes, he is virtually absorbed by the role: “Robinson is wonderful in Dr Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet, disappearing into the character of Paul Ehrlich in a way that, given the strength and distinctiveness of his own personality, is quite remarkable.” The rest of the cast is equally outstanding.
SCIENCE & MEDICINE
ACTIVISTS & HEROESAMAZINGMEMORABLE CINEMASCIENCE & MEDICINE
NOBLE PURSUITSSCIENCESCIENCE & MEDICINE
CHARLES GRAEBER—Allison didn’t do it all, and he didn’t do it alone. But there’s little doubt that the now 70-year-old scientist’s work tipped the balance in a 100-year scientific debate. Allison’s work cracked open the door; subsequent breakthroughs have kicked it wide. The result is a fundamental course correction in the direction of cancer research and treatment and a groundswell of scientific talent and R&D dollars being funneled into a formerly discredited field of pursuit.
The war on cancer is not over; we have not achieved a full and total cure, and so far the handful of cancer immunotherapy drugs available have demonstrated robust and durable results in a minority of patients. But we have undeniably turned a corner in our understanding of the disease—what many scientists believe to be a “penicillin moment” in our quest for the cure.
AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISMAMERICAN STUDIESHEALTH & MEDICINESCIENCE & MEDICINE
P. GREANVILLE—We don’t know whether this article is a case of unwarranted stock “boosterism” or genuine cause for celebration, even the harbinger of a new age of medicine, a medicine in which “slash and burn” will not be the default modalities to combat dreadful diseases like cancer, but whatever the reality, the concepts outlined by the author in this report are indeed tremendously exciting, and worth wide public discussion.
Before discussing the mater further, do note that Kluth states in one of his closing paras that progress in this immensely promising field has been slow because investors have been few and unenthusiastic about pouring capital into ventures that might not see a return for decades, a clear indictment of the capitalist way of medicine, not to mention bad governance of public and private institutions. Indeed, if such is the case, where is the NIH and the richly endowed universities conducting basic research or charities such as the American Cancer Society (ACS)? Are public monies dedicated to this? Are other governments around the world also pursuing these lines of inquiry? If not, why not?
CHINASCIENCE & MEDICINE
2020 ACM Gordon Bell Prize Awarded to Team for Machine Learning Method that Achieves Record Molecular Dynamics Simulation
The famed physicist Richard Feynman once said, “If we were to name the most powerful assumption of all, which leads one on and on to an attempt to understand life, it is that all things are made of atoms, and that everything that living things do can be understood in terms of the jiggling and wiggling of atoms.” Molecular dynamics (MD) is a computer simulation method that analyzes how atoms and molecules move and interact during a fixed period of time. MD simulations allow scientists to gain a better sense of how a system (which could include anything from a single cell to a cloud of gas) progresses over time. Practical applications of molecular dynamics include studying large molecules such as proteins for drug development.
AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISMAMERICAN PARTY DUOPOLYAMERICAN STUDIESAMERICAN WAY OF LIFESCIENCE & MEDICINE
Which Coronavirus Policies Succeed, And Which Fail: N.Y. Times Analysis Confirms Historian Eric Zuesse Projections
ERIC ZUESSE—At Strategic Culture, on May 21, I had published my own analysis, which was based upon tracking the data globally and within countries, and within the various states of the United States, which analysis concluded that countries (and states) which apply the least-stringent regulations in order to keep as low as possible the spread of the virus are failing the most to contain or limit that spread. I labelled those the “libertarian” countries, and I noted that what I called the “socialist” countries — the nations which were the most strictly imposing scientifically confirmed regulations in order to keep those numbers down — were having the best success at limiting the spread of this virus.