Cancer-The Fight of Our Lives
Having passed the halfway mark in my internship I feel now is a good time to reflect on where I have come. Time has simply flown by in a whirlwind of experiments and data analysis, setbacks and breakthroughs, times of frustration and satisfaction. I have learnt how research often involves being adaptable and taking initiative, and an awful lot of patience!
So far I have been quite fortunate in that my experiments appear to be going to plan. The project is specifically focused on Ovarian Cancer. It is the fifth most common cancer in females, and the most common post menopausal Cancer. Prognosis is rather bleak, with five year survival at just under fifty percent, thus making it an important Cancer to target. I have been working specifically with two cell lines in order to establish whether there is a synergistic effect when two drugs are given in combination in order to produce a larger therapeutic effect. As cancer drugs can have severe side effects, it is important to administer as minimal a dose as possible that will still cause a therapeutic effect. When combining drugs, it is possible for each of the drugs to potentiate each other, and thus can cause a larger effect than either drug given individually, thus allowing lower doses to be given. The results so far have been quite promising, and hopefully future results will be equally promising.
In terms of leadership. The placement has been very informative. I have seen various styles of leadership demonstrated, as well as different sized teams having to be managed and directed in order to remain focused on the main goal, which in this case is better outcomes for Ovarian Cancer patients. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I will be attending some meetings with pharmaceutical companies and clinicians, which will allow me to experience the commercial aspects of research, as well as more exposure to clinical outcomes. On a personal level, I have had to apply many management skills throughout my project, be it time management in terms of turn around of results from experiments, or prioritising certain experiments over others due to funding limitations. I have also learnt the importance of using the skill sets of individuals available to the team. Everyone on the table has something to offer to the team, it is up to a leader to realise and use the tools at their disposal in the most effective way.
Good luck to everyone and I hope you all have a good experience!