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UPDATE - Press Release: From the Trenches to the Front Line - A Visit to a Cancer Research Lab

PhillieG's picture
Posts: 4837
Joined: May 2005

Here's a link to a press release for the new drug trial my niece and her team have been working on.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting the research facility that my niece Laura works at. She was a biology major in college and after spending some time working at a major pharmaceutical company she switched gears and got involved with R&D for cancer drugs. It’s not at the same firm she had been at, this is a smaller facility which shall remain nameless. We can’t be giving away trade secrets now can we?

While this company is not the largest it doesn’t take away from the fact that they are doing very important research with cancer drugs and the targeting of cancer with new drugs. That really seems to be where the industry is headed which I believe is a great thing. The idea it to kill the cancer by starving it in some cases or by delivering chemo only to diseased cells. My oldest son Dylan, is interested in Biology so Laura set it up so we could take a little tour of the facility and learn more about what she does. She had also prepped some colon cancer cells for us ;-)

It was very interesting to see the "enemy" face to petri dish. These little (bastards) cells can wreak such havoc on us. One popular drug used to fight colon cancer is Avastin. I know that many have been on that at some point. I was on it one month after the FDA approved it back in 2004 and stayed on it for five months. The way that Avastin works is that it helps to prevent new blood vessels from forming and feeding the tumor which in turn starves, kills, or shrinks the tumor. To look at tumors as the complex growths that they are, they possess certain qualities that once they are better understood can be used to help to control their growth. That's where Laura comes in. She's part of a research team that looks at certain drugs and/or tumors and is working on figuring out what makes them tick so to speak. They are learning new things all of the time. Part of the testing also involves using mice in studies. It's not her favorite part of the research but it's a very important part. Mice are given cancer cells that soon grow into tumors, then the tumors are treated with whatever drug they are testing and the results are measured and documented.

Like everything else in medicine, this can be a long process from the idea, to the lab, to testing in animals, to clinical trials, and on to FDA approval but it was so fascinating (for me) to see some of this in practice after having some understanding of how the process works. On another note, one of the current members of the Board of Directors had worked for another pharmaceutical company that had developed a cure for a very specific type of blindness that affected a relatively small group of people. While many shareholders were not too keen on pursuing this further because there wasn't a large financial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, this member stressed that they had an obligation to help people and not to base all decisions on profits. I found that to be very noble and refreshing.

I'm SO proud of my niece Laura for the work that she does, the enthusiasm she does it with, and that she could be working for a larger company for more money but instead is doing something she believes in and is trying to make a difference in the world.
Love you Laura!

pepebcn's picture
Posts: 6352
Joined: Aug 2010

encouraging , best to Laura!

tommycat's picture
Posts: 790
Joined: Aug 2011

Would have loved to have seen that petri dish. Thank God for people like her doing the work they do.
Hugs Phil

herdizziness's picture
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

to have seen the lab and to see your niece working in it. Kudo's to her and her co-workers for their dedication in trying to find new ways of attacking cancers' tumors.
Thank you for sharing this.
Winter Marie

Varmint5's picture
Posts: 384
Joined: Feb 2012

I don't think I could have looked at those slides. I know my daughter wouldn't want to see them. Sounds like a very interesting "field trip" though. It's good work they do in those labs - we'd be up a creek without their findings. Kudos to your niece.

Cathleen Mary
Posts: 821
Joined: May 2011


Please thank Laura for for all of us effected by this disease. People like her will make a difference.

Cathleen Mary

ron50's picture
Posts: 1595
Joined: Nov 2001

It is a trip that every cancer patient should make mate. Quite a few years ago my friend Tom was interested in a trial program of immunotherapy at the Queensland institute of medical research in Brisbane. He arranged a tour for us and we eyeballed several cancer laden petrie dishes including one growing melanoma.I don't think I have ever seen anything as evil looking as those little black hockey sticks. Tom was not eligible for the trial because of his age but they let him participate on a pay your own way basis. Unfortunately his colon ca did not play fair and although the lung mets were responding well new mets with a slightly different protein coating took out his liver. The institute was an amazing place, the head of melanoma research actually died from melanoma but gave them some outstanding information before he did. He virtually became a human guinea pig. They are a dedicated band and Qimr is totally Govt funded including admin. They also match donations on a dollar for dollar basis. At the time we visited a visiting American philanthropist donated 20 million dollars and the Govt matched it. It goes to show that the answers are not easy . We have some remarkable people working on the questions. We live in hope,Ron.

Posts: 2215
Joined: Oct 2011

Thanks for sharing that Phil

PhillieG's picture
Posts: 4837
Joined: May 2005

Laura shared the responses with her co-workers. They were very pleased to read the comments. I can't help but think that when you can put faces (or names) with the research that you are doing that it helps motivate you to work harder. It's pretty safe to say that EVERYONE knows someone with cancer. You also feel like you're making a difference in people's lives.
Thank you to all who commented...

I certainly know that this approach is by far not the only way to go. Nutrition certainly needs more studying (no money in it unfortunately). If one were to look back 40 years and see how colon cancer was treated it would seem barbaric, just as 15-20 years from now, this approach will seem barbaric. (and maybe it is...)
Damn it Jim, This treatment is barbaric!!!
~Leonard "Bones" McCoy

Posts: 960
Joined: Nov 2008

The scientists that devote their lives to the study of diseases and their treatments are unsung heroes. Thank Laura and the team there from me too..


Kathryn_in_MN's picture
Posts: 1258
Joined: Sep 2009

How interesting for you to get a chance to see research in progress that may change your life! Thanks to Laura and all who work hard to find new treatments or a cure.

Posts: 753
Joined: Apr 2011

"delivering chemo only to diseased cells"..........now that is what we like to hear!!!!!!

Thanks to all that are devoting their time and talent to make this a reality.

PhillieG's picture
Posts: 4837
Joined: May 2005

Coincides with Steve's post

Posts: 1428
Joined: Feb 2011

Cool, I read his, now I'll go back and re-read it.

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