Procain: A Discovery

Ana Aslan

Life History - Part 14

 

 

Lucas Cranach the Elder: Fountain of Youth
Lucas Cranach the Elder: Fountain of Youth

In 1946, Ana Aslan published her first experiments with the substance Procain. The idea had fascinated her while she was working as a ardiologist. She was particularly interested in illnesses of the arteries and treated her patients after the method of the well-known French surgeon René Leriche, who injected Procain for these illnesses. From 1946 to 1949, she achieved very good therapy results with this treatment and began using it for chronic arthrosis, which usually surfaces in advanced age. In Timissoara, she injected these patients with the substance vascularly and regularly over a longer period of time. She soon noticed a mild improvement of the symptoms, but especially the very clear improvement in the general condition of the patients being treated. They began to show an interest in life, read, chatted animatedly, and were interested in their futures and in their families. They also seemed to sleep deeply and refreshingly. It followed that one could assume that Procain had an overall positive effect on the psycho-physical condition of patients, and its greatest gift to them was and improved quality of life. The foundations for the development of Gero-H3-Aslan had been laid.

 

Aslan with the treated student
Aslan with the treated student

On 15th April 1949, Ana Aslan had a breakthrough. A young medical student with an advanced knee-arthrosis, came to her clinic. He was in terrible pain and had not been able to use his knee for three weeks. She told him about her experiments with Procain, and he allowed her to administer the substance intravenously. She injected a 1% solution and did not have long to wait for the result, which was nothing short of miraculous. He was able to move his knee immediately and stretch out his leg without pain. She continued the treatment for 2 more weeks, until the student had recovered completely.

 

After these indisputable successes, Ana Aslan started thinking. Near the clinic was the park of Timissoara. Here she often sat in the afternoons during a short break from her work and watched the old people. She often saw an old couple, leaning against each other for support and able only to take tiny steps. Another old gentleman sat on a bench leaning on his crutches, holding his head in his hands, personifying despair. Why, thought, Ana Aslan, could one not help these people? She kept on returning to the park. She felt a deep empathy for these old people. If the young student could walk again after the injections, and the other patients felt so much more alive after regular treatments with Procain, why should the response not be just as positive with these old people? Instead of this, one had written them off. Ana was possessed by the idea to help them and bring them back into a full life.

 

At last she decided to go to Bucharest with her discoveries. Prof Danielopolou advised her to inform Parhon of her results immediately. He was immediately persuaded that Procain had a positive effect on the ageing process. He advised her to continue her experiments and invited her to become the head of his Experimental Department in Bucharest. He would make all the necessary arrangements. It seemed urgent to both of them, and a few months later she was back in Bucharest. The adventure had begun in Timissoara, and continued in the capital city, where the actual battle was to begin.

 

When she wanted to present the results of her experiments to the Rumanian Academy of Medicine, she noticed that envy had spread amongst her colleagues, the scientists Milcu, Lupu, Nicolau, and Benetato argued against her. They required 25 cases as proof and refused to listen to Aslan's lecture at the next session of the Academy. She took the setback philosophically. After all, Alzheimer had grounded his findings on one single case, and Hodgkin only on 6. Both of them had been proved correct. Her fighting spirit made her immune to setbacks. Gradually, the attacks only made Ana more ambitious than ever before. Life would be boring without conflicts, even though the arguments with the colleagues often turned personal. How could a woman dare to try and equal them or even overtake them? She generously forgave their mean-spiritedness

 

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