Art is a discipline that is practiced with passion and science is a passion that is practiced with discipline
Dr. Keith Black

My days have been a big blur.. With school, hospital work and research, I haven’t had a weekend to myself. 

I love reading PhD comics (is there such thing as a MD comic??) and most of it is all fun and games, but this one was extra interesting. 

I love the research I am doing and its fascinating, but I can’t help think “what’s the point” pretty often. One of the thing that worries me the most as I read more papers is the quality of research. I definitely think this is driven by the competitive nature of graduate school and the job search and the need to have publications out, but it definitely slows down research as a whole now that we have so much to filter out. 

I hope to continue my research as I start medical school in the future… but I will keep all this in mind as I do, and work with the same zeal I started with to produce quality work.

Anyway, I am rambling on because I am so tired… I will update next time with a fresh mind and some exciting stories!

Galectin-1
There are a ton of approaches to cancer… but the most promising now a days seem to be an immune response approach. Galectin-1 is a membrane protein that is missing in many cancer lines and by introducing it, it was able to completely eradicate the cancer cells in rats.
Before anyone thinks.. they cured cancer! Here are some things you should consider about these research. Lots of studies designed this way seem to show very good results, but it is partially due to their ability to introduce these interventions invitro before introducing them into the animal models. If we could get every tumor/cancer cell to express these proteins, there are a number of treatments that would work just as great (pTK, p53..) The main problem with cancer research now a days is actually being able to target them efficiently, while reducing toxicity. 
However, it is great to see such an approach work since it immunotherapy is such a hot topic. With the specificity and strength our immune system can provide treatments like this have a great future outlook. Take a look at the study below; I would love to get my hands on some of this plasmid!

Natural Killer Cells Eradicate Galectin-1 Deficient Glioma in the Absence of Adaptive Immunity

Galectin-1

There are a ton of approaches to cancer… but the most promising now a days seem to be an immune response approach. Galectin-1 is a membrane protein that is missing in many cancer lines and by introducing it, it was able to completely eradicate the cancer cells in rats.

Before anyone thinks.. they cured cancer! Here are some things you should consider about these research. Lots of studies designed this way seem to show very good results, but it is partially due to their ability to introduce these interventions invitro before introducing them into the animal models. If we could get every tumor/cancer cell to express these proteins, there are a number of treatments that would work just as great (pTK, p53..) The main problem with cancer research now a days is actually being able to target them efficiently, while reducing toxicity. 

However, it is great to see such an approach work since it immunotherapy is such a hot topic. With the specificity and strength our immune system can provide treatments like this have a great future outlook. Take a look at the study below; I would love to get my hands on some of this plasmid!

Natural Killer Cells Eradicate Galectin-1 Deficient Glioma in the Absence of Adaptive Immunity

Clostridium novyi NT SporesUsing Anaerobic Bacteria to Kill Cancer
There are a ton of awesome research being done everywhere. The paper by Roberts show an awesome example of some innovative ideas out there! This group basically introduced the bacteria to target tumor cells. Since tumor cells are hypoxic due to the rapid proliferation of cells; and these bacteria thrive in hypoxic environments. 
The group tested their hypothesis in vitro, and in vivo models of rats, rabbits, dogs and even one human patient. 
There are still a lot of worries about the potential views of this treatment by both the public and other health care professionals due to the origins of the bacteria… but how awesome is this!
Anyways, if you are further interested, look up the paper below! I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately for some of the projects I’ve been working on here in baltimore and D.C., so I will be posting quick summaries of papers like this! Let me know if you guys completely hate this and want me to post something else… :)

Intratumoral injection of Clostridium novi-NT spores induces antitumor responses

Clostridium novyi NT Spores
Using Anaerobic Bacteria to Kill Cancer

There are a ton of awesome research being done everywhere. The paper by Roberts show an awesome example of some innovative ideas out there! This group basically introduced the bacteria to target tumor cells. Since tumor cells are hypoxic due to the rapid proliferation of cells; and these bacteria thrive in hypoxic environments. 

The group tested their hypothesis in vitro, and in vivo models of rats, rabbits, dogs and even one human patient. 

There are still a lot of worries about the potential views of this treatment by both the public and other health care professionals due to the origins of the bacteria… but how awesome is this!

Anyways, if you are further interested, look up the paper below! I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately for some of the projects I’ve been working on here in baltimore and D.C., so I will be posting quick summaries of papers like this! Let me know if you guys completely hate this and want me to post something else… :)

Intratumoral injection of Clostridium novi-NT spores induces antitumor responses

My first semester of M.S. is over! 

… also I have one publication that has been accepted 

… along with a few more in the process

… met some amazing people doing amazing things

… and am getting a better grasp of the type of physician I want to become.

This journey is looking like a long one.

Some updates.

Things have been pretty hectic for me lately.. which reflects on my lack of posts. 

My first semester here is coming to an end and I have learned more than I ever dreamed of. Classes have been pretty limited, but the lab is amazing. I have also been spending around 20% of my time at a local hospital doing palliative care research. 

Doing lab work and clinical work like this has really sparked my interest in MD/PHD programs. I am suppose to be working towards applying in 2015 June, but with my future commitment to teach for america, there have been mixed consensus from people when I should actually apply. 

Some deans are telling me I should wait until I am half way done with TFA so that I don’t have to defer if I get an acceptance. Applying with the intention of deferring doesn’t show full dedication and may act negatively towards my application.

Some are telling me not to do TFA at all if I am really serious about MD/PHD programs…

Oh what to do, does anyone have some insightful thoughts regarding this?

Stanford Med is doing an amazing series on “surgeons at work”. There are stories of people’s journey to becoming a surgeon, exciting new frontiers in surgery, and people’s thoughts regarding the future of medicine. 

This specific set of photos are by Dr. Max Aguilera-Hellweg. The emotion of the OR that this image captures is amazing right?

Tricking Obamacare
This article is very troublesome.. The Government Accountability Office released a statement saying how 11 out of their 12 fictitious applicants were approved for obamacare. 
Of course with a new program, new issues and fraud are bound to happen. But if it is as simple as lying to a document on the computer, it can mean disasterous results. With this sort of statistic out, how can we trust the numbers that have been released by the government so far? How are we supposed to be comfortable putting our trust in this new system?
I am looking forward to what this will mean and how things will be fixed. Do you have any ideas?

Tricking Obamacare

This article is very troublesome.. The Government Accountability Office released a statement saying how 11 out of their 12 fictitious applicants were approved for obamacare. 

Of course with a new program, new issues and fraud are bound to happen. But if it is as simple as lying to a document on the computer, it can mean disasterous results. With this sort of statistic out, how can we trust the numbers that have been released by the government so far? How are we supposed to be comfortable putting our trust in this new system?

I am looking forward to what this will mean and how things will be fixed. Do you have any ideas?

Afrezza
Sorry guys, I’ve really dropped the ball on updating the blog more often! I will try to get on more often and mix in news with personal experiences so that I can share more often.
Anyhow… here is an awesome application of nanoparticles! Inhalable insulin is not a new idea, but this shows promising future results. The past models had to be large, and bulky due to the drug delivery system. Because inhaling drugs often results in a very diluted amount with a lot of it not being absorbed correctly, in order to have the correct dosage of insulin it was difficult. Also it was very difficult to clean, got messy and eventually was taken off the market within a few years. 
Here, by using nanoparticle insulin they were able to compact the device (increased delivery transfection). I really look forward to seeing this new Afrezza in action as it leaves the FDA and clinical trial stages (the graveyard of inventions) to do great things!

Afrezza

Sorry guys, I’ve really dropped the ball on updating the blog more often! I will try to get on more often and mix in news with personal experiences so that I can share more often.

Anyhow… here is an awesome application of nanoparticles! Inhalable insulin is not a new idea, but this shows promising future results. The past models had to be large, and bulky due to the drug delivery system. Because inhaling drugs often results in a very diluted amount with a lot of it not being absorbed correctly, in order to have the correct dosage of insulin it was difficult. Also it was very difficult to clean, got messy and eventually was taken off the market within a few years. 

Here, by using nanoparticle insulin they were able to compact the device (increased delivery transfection). I really look forward to seeing this new Afrezza in action as it leaves the FDA and clinical trial stages (the graveyard of inventions) to do great things!

Here are some amazing SEM images of some of the nanoparticles that are being worked on right now. Many of these are polymer dendrimers. Dendrimers just refer to the branching out of the chains, and is a very generic terms (we see them in “dendrites” too). But the amazing thing is that by having dendrimers we can substitute the different branches with functional groups, hormones and other molecules to change the physical property of the molecule. This doesn’t limit us to change the hydrophobic/hydrophilic nature of the particle, but also allows us to activate different pathways, or make them biodegradable. 
Sorry I have been missing the past few weeks, but I have been so busy learning! I will post some awesome uses for these nano particles in the next few weeks!

Here are some amazing SEM images of some of the nanoparticles that are being worked on right now. Many of these are polymer dendrimers. Dendrimers just refer to the branching out of the chains, and is a very generic terms (we see them in “dendrites” too). But the amazing thing is that by having dendrimers we can substitute the different branches with functional groups, hormones and other molecules to change the physical property of the molecule. This doesn’t limit us to change the hydrophobic/hydrophilic nature of the particle, but also allows us to activate different pathways, or make them biodegradable. 

Sorry I have been missing the past few weeks, but I have been so busy learning! I will post some awesome uses for these nano particles in the next few weeks!