Introduction作者：Xu Rongxiang 出版社：CHINA SOCIAL SCIENCES PRESS 发行日期：2009 September
Back in 1991, American burn specialist Barbara repeated the experiments in the United States to validate the therapeutic effects of MEBT (Moist Exposed Burn Therapy) techniques invented by Professor Rongxiang Xu. As obtained by his Chinese peers from their practice, Barbara’s results again showed that even for patients with severe burn, not only were their lives in no danger, but the skin wound healings were also perfect without scars.
As the first traditional burn specialist who had known Rongxiang Xu in early years, and had supported and advertised Xu’s MEBT techniques, Barbara suggested that they worked together to identify the mechanisms behind the amazing therapeutic effects of MEBT techniques. Barbara predicted: “Once the puzzle is solved, this achievement will definitely win the Nobel Prize.”
In 1998, Gordon, another American researcher from the Office of Alternative Medicine made the same prediction. He was invited to attend International Conference of Integrative Medicine in China. During the conference, he directed Rongxiang Xu’s speech and highly appraised the MEBT techniques founded by Rongxiang Xu as a miracle in medicine.
During the dinner following the conference, Gordon expressed the intention to work with Rongxiang Xu to solve the puzzle behind the techniques. He said: “I have no doubt on the effects of this MEBT technique. The key point is that you have to clarify the mechanisms of skin healing without scar, which will be a huge contribution to science. In the field of molecular biology research, the Unite States has the most abundant theories, technologies, funding, and experimental resources. Based on my experiences and influence in the medical community, I believe that this research will be strongly supported in the United States. If the mechanisms of physiological healing in burn wound can be explained, it will have great chance to win the Nobel Prize!”
Seven years apart, the two American researchers made incredibly similar comments. They both used the same specification – Nobel Prize, to describe the significance of clarifying the mechanisms of physiological healing in burn wound under MEBT techniques.
If the mechanisms of physiological healing in burn wound by MEBT were indeed clarified, could it win Nobel Prize? Individual opinion here weighed not much. Although Barbara and Gordon both said so, we could not be too serious about it. Firstly, both American researchers were not the members of Nobel committee and not directly involved in the selection. Secondly, even if they were the members, there were still unpredictable factors in the selection process. There were previous instances in which Nobel Prize had been awarded to those who should not be awarded, and had not been given to those who should be given. Nobel Prize had indeed left some regrets to the world. The famous mathematician Chengtong Qiu recently mentioned that Nobel Prize is not the only measurement to evaluate scientific achievement.
We should not be too serious about winning or not winning Nobel Prize, but we should be serious about how to evaluate the significance of revealing mechanisms of physiological healing in burn wound. This was a realistic question, since Rongxiang Xu had announced to the world that he had obtained the results on mechanisms of physiological healing in burn wound.
In the afternoon of August 8th, 2000, the drizzling rain brought autumn coolness to the hot city of Beijing. Hundreds of researchers and reporters were gathered in Beijing Hotel to witness this historical moment, when Rongxiang Xu announced that his research team had completed the research on in situ physiological repair of burn tissues by skin stem cells.
How to estimate the significance of this research finding? By their professional instincts, the press smelled the major scientific news behind it. However, tissue engineering by stem cells was in its infancy at that time, the insufficient background information and knowledge made it difficult to accurately evaluate this finding. As a result, Beijing Evening News mistakenly stated that Rongxiang Xu’s results were listed on Journal of Science’s Top Ten List of the Best Scientific Advances when actually another stem cell research was chosen.
Nonetheless, the mistake made by Beijing Evening News reminded people to think over: the American scientists only completed isolation and proliferation of stem cells in vitro without clinically applying it for disease management. A mere finding like this could be honored as the first on the top ten scientific advances, then how the accomplishment, such as by using stem cells, Chinese scientists successfully regenerated skin in situ on burn wound tissues, and healed severe burn wound without scar, could be honored!
It was not our main focus whether there was definite correlation between Rongxiang Xu’s achievements and Nobel Prize or Top Ten Scientific Advances by Science. What we would really want to discuss here was the significance of Rongxiang Xu’s latest achievements in burn medicine, life science, and the future of human being.
Together, let us interpret Rongxiang Xu and his stem cell research.