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):
The Molecular Basis of Disease
November 6, 1945
I was pleased to learn from your letter of November 1 that you have been appointed as a member of the Medical Advisory Committee
to aid in the allocation of the Life Insurance Medical Research Fund to suitable fundamental and applied research projects
and heart and blood vessel diseases. I am also pleased and flattered that you should write to me in connection with this
I have not carried out any work which bears at all on the problem of cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, our laboratories
are so crowded, and will continue to be so crowded for another year, that I believe it would not be possible for us to begin
such a program very soon. I am accordingly not taking advantage of your invitation to submit a research program of this sort
for the coming year.
There is one idea about a research program in a somewhat related field on which I would like to have your advice. I have
noted with interest that sodium salicylate has been used with some success in the treatment of acute rheumatic fever. The
action of the salicylate, in sufficient concentration in the blood, is to decrease the sedimentation time of the red cells.
I have the feeling that the damage done in acute rheumatic fever is the result of a change in the proteins in the plasma of
such a nature that the erythrocytes become coated with protein, in such a way as to cause them to stick together, and that
the action of salicylates is to inhibit this effect. It has occurred to me that it might be well worth while to carry on
a laboratory investigation of the effect of very many substances, in particular those such as salicylate which are known to
interact strongly with protein, in order to find out which substances or which mixtures of substances are most effective in
decreasing the sedimentation rate of red cells in blood which has a high sedimentation rate. One of the problems in which
we are interested is this one of the effect of proteins and other materials in the blood on the sedimentation rate; we would
like to get an understanding of this phenomenon. Do you think that this idea is a good one?