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What Is Cancer: Looking Through the Multiplex Lens of Immortality

By Tony Banson and Tommy MacNeil, V Form

 

What Is Cancer: Looking Through the Multiplex Lens of Immortality

Cancer is a disease that has touched the lives of many around the world (Figure 1). It is a disease that afflicts both the young and old, and the rich and poor. The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 1,688,780 new cancer cases diagnosed and 600,920 cancer deaths in the United States in 2017 (Cancer Facts & Figures 2017). Biologically, this disease arises from one’s body when normal, healthy cells begin to grow uncontrollably. Because of genetic and environmental factors, the subset of cells no longer cooperate with evolution’s safety controls, bypassing important regulatory checkpoints of the cell cycle. With the advent of technology and medicine, humans are living longer and the cells that make up our bodies have more time to mutate in ways that can cause havoc. 

Figure 1 which indicates total number of cancer cases and deaths globally in 2012.

From a personal standpoint, cancer has touched the lives of many of our loved ones. (more…)

Striving for a Cure at the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research

By Katie Hartigan, VI Form

 

Striving for a Cure at the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research

Seattle Children's Hospital logo. (PRNewsFoto/Seattle Children's Hospital)

As my eyes scanned the people seated at the conference table around me, I admired each one of them immensely. To know that I was sitting in a lab meeting with the faces behind the statistic “93% remission rate for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia” was astonishing to me. I stared up at the projector screen taking in the jargon that I partially understood, trying to decipher each scientific discovery and hoping that one day my name too would follow some great breakthrough displayed on a similar projector screen.

In the spring of my junior year, I was selected to travel to Seattle that upcoming August to work at the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute. (more…)

From Classroom To Lab: My Work With T Cell Therapy

By Lilly Drohan, VI Form

From Classroom To Lab: My Work With T Cell Therapy

FullSizeRender-4This summer, I traveled to Seattle, Washington to work in the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute. My biology teacher presented me with the opportunity, and I immediately got my hands on it. Studying cancer at the microbiological level in Advanced Biology my junior year really challenged me and stimulated my curiosity, but what I experienced during August turned my attraction into almost an obsession. Dr. Michael Jensen, the director of the lab, takes an approach to pediatric cancer therapy that not many take: using the body’s own immune system to fight off the cancer. Dr. Jensen and his team reprogram immune cells called T cells using virus technology to give the cells specific properties that help them proliferate and target specific molecules expressed on cancer cells. This form of therapy is incredibly innovative and creative, and it was so captivating to be at the forefront of the further development of the treatment for just a brief month.
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