‘Concentrate on basic research’
‘Concentrate on basic research’. Harald Zur Hausen is not just known as a Nobel laureate or an expert on cancer research but an academician par excellence.
Hyderabad: Harald Zur Hausen is not just known as a Nobel laureate or an expert on cancer research but an academician par excellence. When he visited the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) here on Tuesday to deliver a lecture on his studies, he interacted briefly with students and scholars for a while in which he strongly suggested to go in for full-throated research work in their area of interest. “Research gives you thorough knowledge over the subject. It gives you confidence and it provides you a kind of instinct that makes you a student all through your life,” he exhorted.
Advising students to repose full faith in their guides, he however, cautioned them not to be blind in doing the work. Narrating his own experience, he said “Follow the guide. But if you are confident on some aspect, go by your own perception. During the course of my research at the German Cancer Research Centre, Heidelberg, my guide was not convinced with a theory I proposed. He rejected it, I pondered over it for few days and my conscious and understanding told me that I was right. I went ahead with what I had thought right and ultimately it was proved correct. My guide too corrected himself and he mentioned it later in his memoirs.”
Stating that science should be pursued with hypothesis and idea, Harald added that- “When I discovered human papilloma viruses causing cervical cancer, nobody in our lab endorsed my views. But when I argued with the help of data, others were convinced and accepted it and eventually I received Nobel.”
Harald strongly advocated for research on basic sciences. “If you go deep into the basics, only then applications can be invented and drugs can be developed. So, I advise you to concentrate on basic research without which clinical application is not possible”, he said.
‘Vaccination is not satisfactory’
Interacting with media at CCMB, Harald said vaccination has not been fully satisfactory in the prevention of cervical cancer. “It has started just five years back and there has been no proper data to evaluate the results,” he explained.
“The incidence of cervical cancer was less in Australia due to its concerted efforts of vaccination and preventive mechanism but in developed countries including India, it has been on the rise,” Harald added.
Stating that the carcinogenic mechanism of HPV is direct, he said that “the progression from infection to cervical cancer requires something like 15–25 years. Within this period, a couple of modifications occur within the host cell DNA. These mutations are due in part to a low degree of expression of viral on co-proteins and are in part due to other chemical and even physical factors.”
Herald Heusan, who received Nobel in 2008, later delivered a lecture at the IICT auditorium on his discoveries