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Tag Archives: Cancer
By Sophie Haugen, VI Form
A New Reality for Cancer Patients
“No radiation. No Chemo. No Cancer.” These are the words on the sign hanging from the window of the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute. Partway through my fifth form year in Advanced Biology, Jack Thalmann and I were fortunate enough to be selected for internship positions at a cutting-edge research lab for one month of the coming summer.
This past August, we traveled to Seattle and lived in Magnolia, an urban-residential neighborhood located a few miles north of downtown Seattle, with Max (‘72) and Marcia Witter. Each day we commuted to the Ben Towne Center and worked in the Jensen Lab, which focuses on immunotherapy as a treatment for pediatric cancer. Dr. Michael Jensen (‘82), the director of the Center, has made remarkable strides and has achieved some incredible success. Dr. Jensen and the staff at the Jensen Lab take an innovative approach to fighting cancer: they collect blood samples from pediatric cancer patients, genetically engineer the patient’s own T-cells to recognize cancer cells, and infuse the treatment back into the patient’s body. (more…)
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.
From a personal standpoint, cancer has touched the lives of many of our loved ones. (more…)
By Katie Hartigan, VI Form
Striving for a Cure at the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research
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…)
By Lilly Drohan, VI Form
From Classroom To Lab: My Work With T Cell Therapy
This 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.