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A New Reality for Cancer Patients

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…)

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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