Original Repository: Oregon State University. Library. Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers
Reproduced with permission of the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers. Oregon State University Library.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Anemia, Sickle Cell
The Molecular Basis of Disease
28 May 1963
I have not as yet seen any statement in the press along the lines mentioned in your letter of 22 May to me.
I have a vivid memory of the evening when I first had the idea about abnormal hemoglobin molecules in relation to sickle-cell
anemia. My memory is that you began discussing the disease after dinner, when the members of the Medical Advisory Committee
were holding meetings in New York. I am sure that I have the date of the meeting in my diary, but I do not have the diary
here. After you had discussed your interest in this disease, I then told you and the other members of the committee, who
were, I think, all present, about the suggestion that your statements had made to me, to the effect that the disease might
be really a disease of the hemoglobin molecule. The discussion was essentially as described by me in my Harvey Lecture, delivered
April 29, 1954. One fact that I did not mention in my Harvey Lecture is that I asked you if you saw any reason why I should
not check up on this idea, when I got back to Pasadena, by comparing the properties of hemoglobin from normal individuals
and from sickle-cell anemia patients, and you said that you didn't see any reason why I shouldn't go ahead.
I do not remember the conversation on the train between Denver and Chicago. Perhaps it is better for me to say that I do
not remember our discussing the matter on that train, but I do remember discussing the matter of Sherman's work with you,
after the original discussion, in the New York hotel.
One reason why I think that the original discussion was in New York, and not in Denver, is that my wife was not present at
the dinner where we held the original discussion and at which, also, Alton Ochsner discussed some of his experiences as a
surgeon, including an operation in which he cut an artery and had some trouble in sewing it up -- perhaps it was the aorta.
My wife was with me in Denver, but was not with me at the time of the New York meeting of the Medical Research Committee.