Well, it's one of those weeks again. I have two tests coming up: one on Tuesday that covers Viruses, Fungi, Autoimmunity, Hypersensitivity & Parasites and a cumulative final on Friday that covers everything from Biochemistry to what I just finished learning now. So that means everything I've learned since I finished Anatomy back in November.
Needless to say, I've been forced to excessively grind in my studies for the past week. And I'll be continuing to grind for the next couple days. If I can at least do just as good as I did last test, I'll be perfectly happy. As for the final, well…we'll see what happens. After this week though, I've got a couple weeks off until my next big block of material, which will be Neuroscience. I don't really even know what to expect going into that block…but I've decided not to think about it until the end of my Spring Break. 😊
While I was studying for this upcoming test, I came across a concept that I thought was cool as hell. I'm gonna warn you though, I'm about to sound like a straight-up nerd. But anyway while I was learning about therapies for tumors, I came across this technology that has the potential to become revolutionary when it comes to cancer treatment. This new approach, Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-Cell Therapy, literally takes your immune cells and makes them attack tumor cells in your body. How, you may ask? Well, your T-cells (one of the fighters in your immune system) are first collected from your blood and then engineered to produce unique receptors on their surface (CARs) that allows the T-cell to bind to whatever antigen or protein that we want it to bind to. After letting them multiply excessively in a lab, the CAR T-cells are returned to you and continue to multiply in your body while recognizing and killing cancer cells that have the antigens that match the CAR on your T-cell. So to put it simply, tumor cells have some things that normal cells don't have. So after being trained to look for these little differences, your fighter cells go and kill these tumor cells without hurting any of your normal cells. Isn't that incredible? I think it is! The whole treatment is still in its early days and is being tested in clinical trials, but results so far have looked promising for those people that didn't respond well to chemotherapy and don't have any other choices. Side effects are being studied as well and have been managed so far with steroids. Scientists have said that more research is needed before it can become an option to the general public, but what they've seen so far is promising. With time, the therapy can only improve and hopefully eventually expand to treat all types of cancer. For any of you that have been officially mind-blown and are interested in learning more about this therapy, here's a link describing it in better detail:
Turn up for cancer research!
On another note, I've officially started volunteering for the Ronald McDonald House. You know, I used to see them around here and there growing up, but I never knew what they were. As a matter of fact, I didn't know what the purpose of the house was until only a couple of months ago. If you don't already know, the RMH serves as a home away from home for those out-of-town families that have children that are staying in the hospital for an extended period of time. The house provides food, shelter, and community bonding between families that find themselves housed there while keeping the families close to their loved ones in the hospital. Here at Wake's hospital, there is a RMH Family Room on the pediatrics floor where family members can stop by and grab snacks or coffee, and just rest for a while. That's where I've been placed and I had my first day last Friday. I saw first-hand how appreciative the parents of the sick children were of me being there that morning, for if there isn't a volunteer available for any given 3-hour shift, the room is closed for that time period. I'm just happy that I can be of useful service to a population of people that are going through a tough time, and am grateful that I am able to interact with families in a perspective different from the one I will be trained to have when I become an actual doctor. I'm hoping that this experience will help influence the way I think about patients and their families in the future so that I can become that much more caring as a doctor.
That's it for today! I'll leave you with this:
No matter how bad you may think you have it, someone else in the world has it WORSE than you. Remember that.
Have a splendid week! And Happy Valentine's Day! Special s/o to my valentine 😉.
– Black Man, M.D.