Sickle Cell Anemia - A Very Fortunate Series Of Events - Finance and Markets

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The story:

Way back in 1940, a medical student at Johns Hopkins University published a paper. It helped change the course of modern medicine.

In it, Irving Sherman noticed that light passed through red blood cells of sickle-cell anemia patients differently than they did healthy subjects. He published his findings, but nothing much ever came of it.

While Mr. Sherman’s initial paper failed to make much buzz, his information stuck in the mind of a Harvard professor. Years later, this same professor will find himself sitting on a train next to Linus Pauling. Linus Pauling is another medical researcher, and the two quickly began a lively discussion.

During the discussion, Mr. Castle told Mr. Pauling about Mr. Sherman’s paper, and that’s when lightning struck.

Mr. Pauling was obsessed with proteins. He believed that abnormal proteins were the cause of many of man’s most debilitating diseases. The problem was he couldn’t find the proof. When he heard about Sherman’s findings, he instantly knew that Hemoglobin was the root cause of sickle cell anemia.

In 1949, Linus Pauling, Harvey Itano, S.J. Singer, and Ibert Wells published a paper. The papers called “Sickle Cell Anemia, a Molecular Disease.” It lays the foundation for the field of Molecular Medicine. Linus Pauling would receive two Nobel prizes and many other awards for his work.

The takeaway:

There is no insignificant information when it comes to investing. You don’t have to understand what the data means so long as you remember it later. What may seem like a simple thing one day could be the foundation for a new investment thesis the next. And who knows, it might be the thesis that allows you to retire early.

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