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I've spent 6 months doing cancer research AMA watch

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    Hello all,

    I thought I'd set up a thread regarding my undergraduate degree in biological sciences and my masters in translational oncology.

    For the past 6 months I've been doing research in a bloodwise centre of excellence lab for my research project and half of my masters

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    Did you always want to go into biological science? And why oncology, what drew you to that area?

    Also the lab work sounds amazing, what are you researching (idk if that makes sense) about?
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    How much do you get paid also what are your thoughts on the monsanto case?
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    (Original post by laila_a1)
    Did you always want to go into biological science? And why oncology, what drew you to that area?

    Also the lab work sounds amazing, what are you researching (idk if that makes sense) about?
    So initially during college I was dead set that I'd do Spanish and ab initio Italian at university. However I got ill during first year and ended up having to do a third year at college. During that time I realised how much I missed biology and stuck with it through university

    Oncology because I fell in love with my cancer biology module in third year, around the same time my boyfriend lost his mum to breast cancer and it provided a huge motivation to pursue a career in it. I was very fortunate to have some wonderful lecturers from that module who I'm still in contact with

    My research is looking at redeploying current drugs to treat multiple myeloma (plasma cell cancer). I'm currently writing up my dissertation and it seems to be never-ending
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    what does your research involve?
    and do you plan going into cancer research after finishing your degree?
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    What drugs are you repurposing for multiple myeloma ?
    What do you look for when you want to see whether a drug is suitable to be repurposed for multiple myeloma in general ?
    Differences in trying to treat blood cancers vs solid tumours ?
    View on new emerging cancer treatments such as CAR-T cells ,checkpoint inhibitors ,tumour infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and immunotherapy in general ?
    Do you think there is still a role for small molecule drugs ?Or do you think biological and cell based products dominate oncology treatment in the future ?
    What areas of cancer research such as different disease subtypes e.g. glioblastoma or stages e.g. diagnostics would you like to see more progress ?
    Ty for answering,thanks !
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    (Original post by entertainmyfaith)
    what does your research involve?
    and do you plan going into cancer research after finishing your degree?
    I've been testing 2 different drugs that have previously been identified by a group in birmingham and seeing how it affects cancer cell viabilities at different doses and finding the optimal combination dose. I've also looked to see how it affect myeloma bone disease (holes in the bone) and seeing if it can help build up bone.

    I'm applying for jobs currently which focus on cancer research in industry and I'll also be continuing to apply for PhDs
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    Wow that’s so cool. I hope you research is going well and good luck with your dissertation

    In the future do you want to do similar research helping to treat myeloma? Or a different area of oncology
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    (Original post by bobby147)
    What drugs are you repurposing for multiple myeloma ?
    What do you look for when you want to see whether a drug is suitable to be repurposed for multiple myeloma in general ?
    Differences in trying to treat blood cancers vs solid tumours ?
    View on new emerging cancer treatments such as CAR-T cells ,checkpoint inhibitors ,tumour infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and immunotherapy in general ?
    Do you think there is still a role for small molecule drugs ?Or do you think biological and cell based products dominate oncology treatment in the future ?
    What areas of cancer research such as different disease subtypes e.g. glioblastoma or stages e.g. diagnostics would you like to see more progress ?
    Ty for answering,thanks !
    1. an anti-tapeworm drug and an anti-epileptic drug (I cant say much more than that)
    2. We ideally want to see that it'll affect 1 of 3 things or all 3: reduction in the production of abnormal antibodies which can cause renal problems, reduction in the tumour burden and a reduction in bone disease. we test this in vitro and in vivo. Initial screening is done in vitro though to optimise doses
    3. every cancer is different, but the main difference is the use of stem cell transplants and lack of surgery for blood cancers. radiotherapy and chemotherapy is still commonplace for both
    4. whilst its a brilliant approach, we still need to have much more data on it- some cancers are highly immunogenic whilst others aren't so its understanding the tumour landscape more and how its systemic effects. It is also highly expensive so we also need to work on lowering the cost too
    5. I think they do have their place- leukaemia drugs like imatinib and ibrunitinib target receptor kinases, but it offers patients an alternative to an aggressive course of chemotherapy even if it is a daily pill they have to take. Likewise, for some cancers treatments haven't really developed from what they were.
    6. I think repurposing drugs has its place for every cancer. But I'd love to see more labs focusing on oncolytic viral therapies as a whole. For glioblastoma I'd quite like to see a treatment that is able to target its stem cells and the early stages of tumorigenesis
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    (Original post by laila_a1)
    Wow that’s so cool. I hope you research is going well and good luck with your dissertation

    In the future do you want to do similar research helping to treat myeloma? Or a different area of oncology
    Thank you

    I'd quite like to stay in haematological cancers, but I've grown to love bone oncology and oncoloytic viral therapies over the course of my masters so it's a bit of a mix. I realised just how much I love research and being in a lab
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    (Original post by lilGem)
    1. an anti-tapeworm drug and an anti-epileptic drug (I cant say much more than that)
    2. We ideally want to see that it'll affect 1 of 3 things or all 3: reduction in the production of abnormal antibodies which can cause renal problems, reduction in the tumour burden and a reduction in bone disease. we test this in vitro and in vivo. Initial screening is done in vitro though to optimise doses
    3. every cancer is different, but the main difference is the use of stem cell transplants and lack of surgery for blood cancers. radiotherapy and chemotherapy is still commonplace for both
    4. whilst its a brilliant approach, we still need to have much more data on it- some cancers are highly immunogenic whilst others aren't so its understanding the tumour landscape more and how its systemic effects. It is also highly expensive so we also need to work on lowering the cost too
    5. I think they do have their place- leukaemia drugs like imatinib and ibrunitinib target receptor kinases, but it offers patients an alternative to an aggressive course of chemotherapy even if it is a daily pill they have to take. Likewise, for some cancers treatments haven't really developed from what they were.
    6. I think repurposing drugs has its place for every cancer. But I'd love to see more labs focusing on oncolytic viral therapies as a whole. For glioblastoma I'd quite like to see a treatment that is able to target its stem cells and the early stages of tumorigenesis
    What’s your view on the escalating price on cancer drugs,not just for new treatments but for some old ones too ?
    I remember reading an article on possibly using the zika virus to target glioblastoma ,which I thought was pretty clever !
    What would you say are the main challenges for bringing on oncolytic virus treatments to market ?
    Plans after you finish your degree ?
    I heard that treating blood cancers is relatively easier than solid tumours.Why is that ?
    Cancer biology is such a big field,how do you manage to keep on top of latest advances ?
    What do you think are the main challenges for cancer research in terms of basic biology,diagnostics and treatment ?
    Ty for answering again !
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    What made you choose cancer research?
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    (Original post by bobby147)
    What’s your view on the escalating price on cancer drugs,not just for new treatments but for some old ones too ?
    I remember reading an article on possibly using the zika virus to target glioblastoma ,which I thought was pretty clever !
    What would you say are the main challenges for bringing on oncolytic virus treatments to market ?
    Plans after you finish your degree ?
    I heard that treating blood cancers is relatively easier than solid tumours.Why is that ?
    Cancer biology is such a big field,how do you manage to keep on top of latest advances ?
    What do you think are the main challenges for cancer research in terms of basic biology,diagnostics and treatment ?
    Ty for answering again !
    1. so the cost of new drugs is about £80 million and takes 15 years to develop obviously contributing to the large costs. the NHS does have a cancer fund but they can only justify so much. Likewise, cancer is an ageing disease so with the population living longer there will undoubtedly be more cases.
    2. It'll be finding a target for the virus to bind to and replicate as well as finding a suitable virus which for all the different types of cancers is a lot. Also the doses of the drugs, how they'll be taken.
    3. I'm applying for jobs in industry and also PhDs both focusing on cancer research
    4. with blood cancers the mutations are a lot more defined and we have a greater understanding of its pathogenesis. With solid tumours the pathogenesis is a lot less clear, even if we know some common mutations found. However whilst each cancer is different, the subtype will also vary by individual
    5. I follow journals and labs on my twitter account, nature and I get recommendations of new articles through referencing software
    6. Biggest challenge is late presentation so patients present in the later stages and so have less treatment options available. So a big focus at the moment is on biomarkers e.g. ctDNA, biopsies. Basic biology- metastasis as its the key killer and we still don't know as much as we should to properly target it. Chemotherapy/ radiotherapy resistance- often leads to the former and we can't use the drugs that may have worked previously

    Hopefully that's helped
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    (Original post by cxlvin)
    What made you choose cancer research?
    As I previously mentioned I did a third year module in cancer biology which I fell in love with and I had some wonderfully supportive lecturers. I also did a second year summer studentship looking at mechanisms of chemotherapy resistance. Lastly, my boyfriend lost his mum to cancer during my third year so that's more of a personal motivation to try and find a cure.
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    (Original post by lilGem)
    1. so the cost of new drugs is about £80 million and takes 15 years to develop obviously contributing to the large costs. the NHS does have a cancer fund but they can only justify so much. Likewise, cancer is an ageing disease so with the population living longer there will undoubtedly be more cases.
    2. It'll be finding a target for the virus to bind to and replicate as well as finding a suitable virus which for all the different types of cancers is a lot. Also the doses of the drugs, how they'll be taken.
    3. I'm applying for jobs in industry and also PhDs both focusing on cancer research
    4. with blood cancers the mutations are a lot more defined and we have a greater understanding of its pathogenesis. With solid tumours the pathogenesis is a lot less clear, even if we know some common mutations found. However whilst each cancer is different, the subtype will also vary by individual
    5. I follow journals and labs on my twitter account, nature and I get recommendations of new articles through referencing software
    6. Biggest challenge is late presentation so patients present in the later stages and so have less treatment options available. So a big focus at the moment is on biomarkers e.g. ctDNA, biopsies. Basic biology- metastasis as its the key killer and we still don't know as much as we should to properly target it. Chemotherapy/ radiotherapy resistance- often leads to the former and we can't use the drugs that may have worked previously

    Hopefully that's helped
    What is it like applying to do a masters ?How was the process ?What kind of result do you need at undergrad to get accepted ?
    If it wasn’t oncology ,what other area of biomedical science do you think you could have ended up studying ?
    Are you worried about how Brexit might affect UK research ?
    How is UEA in general ?
    View on cannibinoids potential in cancer treatment ?Asking because people seem to be touting them as a cure all for everything and it does get a tad annoying.
    Sorry for asking so many questions !
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    (Original post by bobby147)
    What is it like applying to do a masters ?How was the process ?What kind of result do you need at undergrad to get accepted ?
    If it wasn’t oncology ,what other area of biomedical science do you think you could have ended up studying ?
    Are you worried about how Brexit might affect UK research ?
    How is UEA in general ?
    View on cannibinoids potential in cancer treatment ?Asking because people seem to be touting them as a cure all for everything and it does get a tad annoying.
    Sorry for asking so many questions !
    The process was much like undergrad with a personal statement, application form. I was interviewed for my masters and 2 others and I also sent my CV. Most places will want a 2.1, few accept a 2.2

    I think I would have otherwise gone for infection and immunity

    I am absolutely terrified

    I loved UEA, it's small and has a community feel; the lake is a lovely break from concrete. Norwich itself is lovely and I do miss it sometimes

    I think claims need to be taken with a large pinch of salt- they may have an anti-cancer effect but we still don't know much about which part of it does and how it does. A lot more research needs to be done
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    1. How did you find the jump between undergrad to a master's in terms of both academic difficulty as well as the day-to-day life?
    2. What is your weekly schedule like in terms of hours in labs, lectures (?), seminars, etc
    3. Did you always love doing lab work at undergrad?
    4. How do lab classes differ in a master's compared to undergrad?
    5. How are you finding applying for PhDs? When did you start the application process?

    Thank you and sorry for all the questions, I graduated this summer in Biology and I'm starting a master's next month which heavily involves cancer biology.
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    (Original post by lilGem)
    I've been testing 2 different drugs that have previously been identified by a group in birmingham and seeing how it affects cancer cell viabilities at different doses and finding the optimal combination dose. I've also looked to see how it affect myeloma bone disease (holes in the bone) and seeing if it can help build up bone.

    I'm applying for jobs currently which focus on cancer research in industry and I'll also be continuing to apply for PhDs
    ah that's so cool! hope the research goes well
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    (Original post by LeaX)
    1. How did you find the jump between undergrad to a master's in terms of both academic difficulty as well as the day-to-day life?
    2. What is your weekly schedule like in terms of hours in labs, lectures (?), seminars, etc
    3. Did you always love doing lab work at undergrad?
    4. How do lab classes differ in a master's compared to undergrad?
    5. How are you finding applying for PhDs? When did you start the application process?

    Thank you and sorry for all the questions, I graduated this summer in Biology and I'm starting a master's next month which heavily involves cancer biology.
    I found there was an initial module to get everyone up to speed and learn techniques required for writing at postgraduate level- much more critical appraisal involved rather than just theory. I found it to be quite intense though as each module bar my research project was crammed into 6 weeks. As long as you stay on top of reading its bearable- I've actually done much better this year than any year of undergraduate

    So my course is unique in the sense we had a half day wednesday and thursday off; the other days were filled- this meant we had time for work. There are only 16 people on the course so the lectures we had were more like seminars with presentations forming part of the assessment every few weeks. We didn't do any lab based things up until a week or two before starting our research project- then it's been in the lab 9-5 if not earlier or later since.

    I liked it at undergrad, but I didn't have the best third year supervisor. This year has really made me appreciate the value of a good supervisor for research which definitely reinforced it.

    I can't really comment- the lab work we did prior to our projects was more using techniques which may or may not be required during our project e.g. microCT, tissue culture, westerns. The lab work for the project will of course vary

    PhDs are very competitive- I actually had a 2.2 at undergrad so whilst I've been applying and not being successful they have said I will be considered due to research experience and roles in sci comm- and the fact my project may lead to two publications. Those who have been successful on the course had a placement year, 1sts and 1 is in the process of getting a paper. They were also applying constantly from September.
    Whilst I still want to do a PhD supervisors have said research experience in industry or long term is preferred so I'm also applying for those too
 
 
 

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