- Location: Chillán, Chile
- Date: May 2009
- Site visitor: Ferdinando Pisani
In a perpetual quest to be on the cutting edge, the Foundation for Alternative and Integrative Medicine (FAIM) cultivates consultative relationships with scientists who have a brilliant, logic, and eclectic mind. One of these people is Dr. Ricardo Vasquez-Sandoval, professor of Immunology of the University of Conception in Chillán, Chile.
Dr. Vasquez studied in Cuba and later pursued a career as scientist at the National University of Mexico (UNAM) where he won the Mexican National Prize in Medicine for his pioneering work in cancer research. For example, one of these was the innovation to extract lymphocytes from a patient's tumor and mature them in vitro into lymphokine-activated killer cells (LAK). Because of their cytotoxic potential, these were then reintroduced into the patient as part of a cancer treatment.
Two decades later, Dr. Vasquez is now shifting his attention to the benefits and advantages of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies. With the help of his students he is studying the effects of these on immunological parameters.
Many conversations we had with Dr. Vasquez have gone beyond pure medicine. They have also spanned across the economic, social, political and philosophical implications of the unstoppable revolution in medicine that is at the city gates. Being part of the scientific establishment, Dr. Vasquez laments that petty interests and obsolete ideologies are still stifling advancements in medicine. In a true revolutionary spirit, he says it is time for doctors to wake up, face the facts and open themselves to the advancements in medicine that go beyond the ones proposed by the pharmaceutical industry.