Reviews of Hanan Polansky's Book

Marc Pouliot, PhD - Associate Professor, Department of Anatomy and Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Laval, Canada


"First, I would like to congratulate the author for putting together such an insightful theory and impressive collection of supporting evidence, and most importantly, for being able to delineate functional links between seemingly distinct sets of observations. This is a well-organized, highly rigorous presented theory. The concept of microcompetition will change our approach in the study of chronic diseases and will furthermore give scientists a higher level of understanding in biology. Presentation of this concept undoubtedly provides a new set of opportunities for attacking chronic diseases. The idea that viruses are the cause of chronic diseases is not new, but the underlying mechanism, the evidence put forward, the molecular observations, the analyses, and conclusions certainly are. They lead the way to new approaches in chronic disease treatment. In my opinion, this book could be of great use to fundamental researchers. Investigators of specific areas will find well-presented concepts that transform our way of thinking about chronic diseases, and about the implication of viruses in biology and health in general. This work will eventually also have an impact on medical research and drug discovery, although realistically not in the near future; these areas not being typical bearers of new ideas. This is a very good theory, one that makes a lot of sense, and one that helps a lot in terms of trying to identify possible causes for chronic diseases. Time will tell, but regardless of being proved right or wrong, this theory has the merit of changing our current way of thinking, and this is probably the greatest contribution a new theory can bring."

 

 (Published in the scientific journal "Cell Cycle")


Elena N. Naumova, PhD - Professor of Public Health and Family Medicine, Director of the NIH-sponsored Tufts Imitative for Forecasting and Modeling of Infectious Diseases, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Tufts University School of Medicine


"No student of biomedical sciences could ignore the appearance of a new theory offering explanations for the origin of chronic diseases. Systematic testing and better understanding of a framework outlined by such a theory may lead to a paradigm shift in scientific view on the nature of 'health' as well as causality of 'disease'. To be honest, it took me three attempts to read this book. The first attempt resulted in frustration and confusion. The unusual writing style, complex terminology, and volume of information was daunting. I put the book aside, but the seeds of curiosity had been planted, and intriguing ideas took root. They began to grow, and soon I was forced to return to my reading. My second attempt was far more productive but nevertheless challenging. I went through all seven chapters of technical notes. It was a slow process, not because of the numerous mathematical equations (which were straightforward and well-supported) but because I found myself repeatedly distracted by independent thoughts and ideas triggered by the content of the book. I would read a sentence or two and immediately attach my own observations to the proposed frame, and test the fit; I was amazed by the serendipities. My third attempt was joyous; the book served its purpose - it made me think differently! What had first seemed like cumbersome technical notations became transparent when I connected them to the work I perform daily. I also realized that the area of my research interest - mathematical modeling of disease temporality - would benefit greatly by applying many fruitful ideas presented in Dr. Polansky's book. I believe that Dr. Polansky's book will catalyze the scientific learning process, promote interdisciplinary cross-fertilization, stimulate development of treatment strategies and drug discovery, and leave the reader inspired."

 

(Published in the scientific journal "Archive of Virology")


Raxit J. Jariwalla, PhD , Laboratory of Viral, Immune and Malignant Diseases, California Institute for Medical Research

"Cancer is a complex, multi-step process. Although important advances have been made over the last 3 decades in understanding the genetic changes associated with cancer, the origin of the disease remains unknown. Now, a book by Hanan Polansky entitled "Microcompetition with Foreign DNA and the Origin of Chronic Disease" [1] provides a new perspective on the basic mechanism associated with the disruption underlying cancer. The book introduces a new theory derived from recognition of patterns in reported observations. The observations represent isolated dots, which when connected generate a pattern in full view, namely a theory that identifies the disruption and the sequence of subsequent genetic, cellular, and clinical events associated with cancer. Dubbed "microcompetition", the theory propounds that foreign DNA can compete with cellular DNA for cellular transcription factors resulting in abnormal gene show abnormal gene transcription. A common source of foreign DNA discussed in the book is infection by a latent virus whose genome can persist indefinitely in cells. Several latent viral genomes have been associated with human cancer and latent infection was also found in other chronic diseases. The book derives numerous microcompetition based predictions and documents observations from a large number of studies consistent with the derived predictions. The book explains some puzzling observations in cancer research where genetic changes are not apparent around the control regions of dysregulated genes, and provides a mechanism for the action of latent viruses where expression of a viral protein is not readily detected. In explaining the relationship between latent viral infection and disease, the book introduces a new protein-independent paradigm, which is both logically congruent and empirically consistent with observations reported in an extensive number of studies performed under variety of experimental conditions."

 

(Published in the scientific journal "European Journal of Cancer")


Yvonne R. Thorstenson, PhD, Stanford Genome Technology Center, Stanford University


"The origin of chronic disease is one of the most important and vexing questions in biomedical research today. Hope for ameliorating human suffering caused by these diseases is a strong motivator for government funding agencies. Yet, it is difficult to point to a breakthrough concept, though many have been trumpeted. We have been tempted with explanations for chronic disease: one day it is environmental toxins in the air or in our food, the next day it is inflammation or infection. All of these are important lines of investigation, and it is reasonable to trust that the cumulative bits of evidence from all different areas will eventually reveal a satisfying answer. But what if we are missing a critical piece? Isn't it worthwhile to occasionally pause from our frenetic trajectory to consider possible alternative explanations? Maybe there is a path across the terrain that we didn't notice before. Hanan Polansky's book offers just such a thought provoking, mind-stretching opportunity. He provides a radically different perspective on the biomedical literature by applying a whole-system approach with mathematical models based on economic probability theory. Reading Polansky's book was like a mini-sabbatical. It allowed me to step away from my narrow viewpoint, examine my biases, and emerge with an unmanageable number of new ideas to think about."

 

(Published in the scientific journal "BioEssay")


John A. Pickrell, PhD, Associate Professor, Environmental Toxicology, Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine

"When discussing instruction in higher education with professional colleagues, we think-but are not sure-that we know what will be required of tomorrow's professional students. In reading this book, there arises a growing certainty, that tomorrow this theory's knowledge will be required of today's professional students. There is the sense that this book needs to be read, because we could learn valuable lessons and gain valuable perspectives. Enjoyment was irrelevant (and virtually nonexistent); however, it was nearly impossible to put it down! If most serious students try hard to understand Polansky's theory, we will view health and environmental sciences in a whole new way. If most researches whose work involves chronic diseases read this and work to understand it, we'll involuntarily begin to view and perhaps reshape our work through Dr. Polansky's lenses. It is hard to see how much this theory will reshape our lives. On the chance that we may be seeing, inexactly, the face of future medicine, we should read the 543 pages of 'Microcompetition with Foreign DNA and the Origin of Chronic Diseases,' by H Polansky."

(Published in the scientific journal "Veterinary and Human Toxicology")


 (Yurek) Jerzy K. Kulski, PhD - Professor, Division of Molecular Life Science, Department of Genetic Information, Tokai University School of Medicine, Japan and Associate Professor, Centre for Bioinformatics and Biological Computing, Murdoch University, Australia

"Having worked previously in a variety of research disciplines such as on the enzymology of phosphatases, endocrine regulation of reproductive biology and lactation, viruses and cancer, comparative genomics, immunogenetics and autoimmunity, I very much enjoyed the multidisciplinary aspects of the book. Hanan Polansky has connected the dots from various disciplines and revealed a compelling and unifying theory for the origin of chronic disease. His theory is well-supported by the reinterpretation of a considerable amount of published data. I particularly liked the way a number of different gene products, such as TF, CD18 and GABP, were used to integrate the different findings of cellular and molecular biology into a logical explanation of chronic disease. I found this book to be a fascinating read and I expect it will help me to reassess and resynthesize some of my own ideas and concepts about the origins of psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and atherosclerosis. All together, the book adds clarity to a highly complex subject even though it may require some rereading and follow-up studies to fully benefit from this thought-provoking and ultimately essential account of the origin of chronic disease." 

(Published in the scientific journal "Infection Genetics and Evolution")