A Look Ahead...
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Please read one, but not both, of the following websites:

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Then:

  1. Create a discussion thread on this page using the 'Add Comment' link below in which you identify and discuss an aspect of what is discussed in the site you read that you found particularly inspiring, and
  2. Offer your thoughts on at least one other student's original comment (if you're among the first to post, you may need to return to this site later to build on another student's thread).
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  1. What I found really inspiring about the cancer immunotherapy article is that scientists are taking different approaches to immunotherapy so as to treat the different types of cancer. The production of  "man-made immune system proteins" shows how determined these scientists are in treating this disease and they are not leaving it up to the immune system on its on to fight cancer .

    1. Like you said, I'm glad scientists are working to find other ways to treat cancer. While immunotherapy does have side effects, the article makes it sound like the administration is easier on the body then other treatments. Maybe if scientists keep working on this they will be able to treat all cancers with different kinds of immunotherapy.

  2. "What is Cancer Immunotherapy?" Article

    I found the treatment itself inspiring. While the treatment works better for some cancers and others need another form of treatment (chemotherapy) to work with it, I think that if we can use immunotherapy alone to treat some cancers then that can really help someone.

    • Chemotherapy can damage and weaken one's immune system; however, during immunotherapy, the immune system is stronger. It either adds man-made versions of immune system proteins to the immune system, allows the immune system to identify cancer cells, start an immune response against a certain disease, or another non-specific treatment that boosts the immune system. 
    • Similar main side effects between chemotherapy and immunotherapy are fatigue, nausea, decreased appetite, and shortness of breath. But, chemotherapy causes hair loss and immunotherapy does not. Hair loss can cause people to feel self conscious. A lot of women buy wigs or wear hats to cover their heads. Hospitals also offer a program to cancer patients to help them feel better about their appearance. If they were able to be treated with immunotherapy, yes they will still feel ill but they will (probably) not feel self conscious. 
    • Immunotherapy can be administered by an IV, oral, topical, or intravesical. If it is given by a shot, pill, or cream, it is delivered faster than chemo. Chemotherapy can takes hours, depending on the staff, how many transfusions your given that day, how long the labs take to process you, and you may need to receive chemo multiple times a week.
    1. I think this treatment is inspiring as well. Hopefully with this treatment and its ability to be administered more quickly, it will cause more patients to be more inclined to jump right into being treated. Sometimes chemo is daunting and it can steer people away from treatment all together, so hopefully immunotherapy creates an alternative to this issue. 

    2. I agree that immunotherapy is an approach that many more patients would jump to if given the choice. The point you made about chemotherapy and the negative side effects it imposes is a very good reason why immunotherapy is a positive alternative. Since chemotherapy makes patients feel sick, as well as self-conscious, patients might be more eager to start treatment if the side effects are less severe and obvious. 

  3. In the "Stanford Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine" article, one aspect that I found inspiring was that scientists and genetic experts are involved in sequencing their whole genomes and will be proof-of-principle patients and will understand their own genomes and ethical implications. This is exciting because it will hopefully lead to a breakthrough in understanding which medicines work for which individuals and at which doses, based on their genetics. With increased research, medicine and treatments can hopefully be more effective and will be able to help more patients.

    1. I really agree with you that SCGPM scientists will be able to help more people by studying genomics. Once medical treatments are personalized, every individual will be given the right medical treatment.

    2. I agree with you, especially on the aspect of personalized medicine. I think that it would be amazing to have a medical world where every individual could be treated in a way that suits them. Not only that but also the note on how people will be able to understand their own genomes and ethical implications because that will in turn give people a better understanding of their own health.

    3. I agree that it would be amazing to be able to see everyones illness as an individual case and I think that that technology will be available soon.  What I am worried about is whether or not the technology will be able distributed across the board.  For example, 23 and Me, a company that breaks down your genetic history and can provide health assessments costs $200 for ancestry and health.  I don't feel like that is an expense everyone would be able to pay.  There are also about 7.5 billion people in the world.  How long would it take to process all that DNA?  Is it possible to bring this individualistic approach to every individual?

  4. After reading the "Stanford Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine" article, I am impressed by the SCGPM scientists' effort of achieving personalization of medicine and therapy with the power of genomics. Patients diagnosed with the same disease can be completely different in terms of family history, ethnicity, and other medically crucial factors. Therefore, causes of the same disease can be different, an idea that could greatly influence the treatment and how we develop further in the future medical field.

    Also, the point made in "Evolutionary Genomics" get me thinking about how our philosophy will probably be shaped as scientists know more and more about genomics, about what makes us human beings and different from animals. The information contained in our genes can trigger significant changes in a variety of fields. Maybe one day we are going to see life in a different way.

    1. I agree that personalization in treating cancer is extremely important. Since cancer develops from normal human cells, which contain different DNA in each individual, it is crucial that a treatment focused on each individual is needed. 

  5. After reading the "Stanford Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine" article, I am impressed by the SCGPM scientists' effort of achieving personalization of medicine and therapy with the power of genomics. Patients diagnosed with the same disease can be completely different in terms of family history, ethnicity, and other medically crucial factors. Therefore, causes of the same disease can be different, an idea that could greatly influence the treatment and how we develop further in the future medical field.

    Also, the point made in "Evolutionary Genomics" get me thinking about how our philosophy will probably be shaped as scientists know more and more about genomics, about what makes us human beings and different from animals. The information contained in our genes can trigger significant changes in a variety of fields. Maybe one day we are going to see life in a different way.

    1. I agree that understanding how a complete understanding of genetics can greatly further medical treatment and care. I think it could be the key to understanding how to treat cancer. Also, I agree that better knowledge of genomics and individual genes could vastly improve individual care, as the differences in two people's genes might greatly affect how they should be treated.

  6. I really agree with you that SCGPM scientists will be able to help more people by studying genomics. Once medical treatments are personalized, every individual will be given the right medical treatment.

  7. The current research in cancer immunotherapy I believe is going to become a rising treatment. I think it is a much more natural alternative  that can be used for many different types of cancer. Specifically, I am interested in cancer vaccines. As stated online, vaccines are often thought to be given to people before they get an infection, however this makes me wonder how a vaccine would work for a patient who already has cancer. The purpose is boost the immune response against cancer cells, but I wonder how the vaccine is regulated and how to know the proper amount of cancer cells or pure antigens being inserted.  

    1. I agree that immunotherapy seems to be a very effective treatment because it works in harmony with a person’s body, so it can be used in many different cases of cancer. I also am curious about how the vaccine is regulated because it seems that it would be very harmful if too many cancer cells were used, or even if to many pure antigens are added. I would love to know how they find and keep a balance between the two different components to ensure that the treatment is effective as possible.

  8. What I found the most inspiring about the SCGPM is how in-depth and thorough they are planning to be in treating disease in the future, including cancer. The fact that they are able to sequence entire humans' genomes when this was only done for the first time in the past twenty years is astonishing. While cancer proves every day to be an endlessly complex disease, the SCGPM is taking an equally complex path to treat it, which shows serious courage by those on the forefront of this technology, and will be very inspiring to those witnessing it and hopefully benefitting from it as well.

    1. Being able to sequence our entire genome is astonishing indeed. It is amazing to see all the advancements scientists have made over the years . Scientists are discovering more and more about cancer and will continue to do so. Hopefully even leading to a cure.

  9. I found it interesting how immunotherapy works with a person’s body to fight cancer, by either stimulating your own immune system to work harder or smarter, or by giving your system the components that it needs to fight the cancer. Instead of doing all of the work for your body, the treatment helps use the immune system to work in harmony with the treatment by either boosting or training the immune system.

    1. I also find this to be inspiring, I had no idea how large of a role the immune system plays in the treatment, while also needing some external help through the various treatments listed in the article. It is very nice to see that patients seem to be suffering less with these treatments that are boosting their immune system.

    2. I agree with you – I think the entire concept of immunotherapy is interesting, and it gives me a lot of hope that with a lot of studying, testing, and funding, we will be able to naturally rid the body of cancer rather than subjecting patients to chemotherapy and radiation which can be long and tiresome processes with consequences. I am so excited to see where the future of immunotherapy goes.  

    3. Modern cancer treatments are so hard for the patients to go through with them. Even if the patient recovers from cancer, the whole process drains their life. I am sure that finding a new way of treating cancer is much better than having chemotherapy with a 100% success rate.

  10. I find the entire idea of personalized medicine inspiring because think of how many people live in the world and then think of how many people who live in the United States alone. For doctors to believe in and pursue a treatment that really is personal to you is amazing. Because, not only dealing with cancer, but even little medical needs, we know that medicines don't always work on everyone. 

    1. I agree, no two people are the same so it makes no sense for a large percent of the population to receive the same treatments.  I think that an individual approach will lead to better treatment and a better understanding of disease because we will be able to look at it as well from an individual level.

  11. The platform presented by the Stanford Center would be a real break through in medical science.  Every person is different and individual which makes it hard to treat them because one drug could work wonders for one person but kill another.  Being able to create a program that can take our individual traits and understand what makes us different and similar from each other would help medical professionals better treat individual patiences.  It would also lead to a better understanding of ourselves and the things we should do to stay healthy.  Finally, it could lead to much better treatment of cancer.  On problem with cancer is that it comes from within our own biology so for every patient there are that many variants of the disease.  Knowing ourselves at a cellular level will help us understand our sickness at a cellular level as well.

    1. I agree. If individuals possessed their own genetic data, it would not only give them better knowledge of what they need to do to maintain good health, but create a system of treatment and care much elevated from that which we have now.

  12. The section on pharmacogenomics on the SCGPM site caught my attention. The goal of this research is to predict what drugs in what doses are most effective to different individuals. It made me think about a future in which people could have drug-necessity profiles, which carry the level of certain drugs that an individual needs to flourish. While this section intrigued me, I have my doubts about its level of success considering the current issues with the pharmaceutical industry and drug addiction. Disease prevention will certainly be a cooperative fight, with many cures coming from many different angles. 

  13. After reading the article regarding immunotherapy, I found it very interesting that one of the forms of the treatments is a vaccination. I had no idea that many of these treatments were alternatives or supplements to chemotherapy and other treatments that cancer patients go through, however, the cancer vaccination seemed to be the most intriguing. I wondered if this option is going to become more common, or if it was used in rare cases. The progress that doctors and researchers have made in the treatment of cancer inspired me even more after reading the article.

    1. I also found the idea of vaccinating against cancer incredibly interesting. What rather intrigued me about the whole idea of cancer vaccinating though is what the backlash would be against the vaccines. As vaccines for other diseases are already met with such backlash, how would a vaccine for a disease that is currently so hard to cure be met? Especially if the vaccines do not have a 100% success rate? 

  14. I found the SCCPM's studies on the origins and progression of cancer most inspiring. It reminded me of Farber working backwards to try to find a cure for leukemia. He tried to start in the "basement" of cancer, and found a "new way of thinking about cancer". I think that SCCPM's work on the origins of cancer is so inspiring because it could do the same, or influence new treatments for cancer. I believe that cancer research needs to understand the beginnings of the illness in order to bring about its end.

  15. I read the article on immunotherapy. I’ve never heard of immunotherapy – I didn’t think it was possible to take your immune system (something that is a part of you) and strengthen it to fight cancer (a disease that usually needs chemotherapy, radiation, and/or more to cure). I always thought the immune system was solely focused on fighting infections, so I never imagined it could help cure cancer. If anything, I thought cancer just weakened the immune system. So, to me, it was not one simple point, but the whole idea of immunotherapy that I found particularly inspiring. It is so fascinating to me that we can alter the immune system, either with man-made proteins, drugs, or vaccines. This entire concept gives me hope that with further testing and studying there could be a vaccine or a drug that everyone could take in order to avoid certain types of cancer, or even all cancer, altogether.

    1. With new technologies such as CRISPR we can alter event the DNA of cells to shape them into whatever form we want. Immunotherapy could be taken to a whole new level if this technology were more widely accepted by people who only see it as a moral question instead of a breakthrough waiting to happen

  16. I thought the idea of genomics and personalized medicine to be a really inspiring thing, as it doesn't only apply to cancer treatment, but to every form of ailment. If we could personalize medicine to each individual, then we could avoid some of the dangers of surgery and medicating, such as unintentional addiction and a decreased likelihood of superbugs. I find it really inspiring that I could one day go to a doctor to be treated for allergies, or some other common ailment, and they would know the exact medication and dosage I would need to cure my sickness, instead of playing a guessing game that tends to occur with illnesses in which treatment can be "vague."

  17. I think the idea of immunotherapy could be really effective against cancer. I believe that if our immune systems could recognize cancer cells most of the time, cancer wouldn't be a dangerous disease. I like that there are researchers who are trying to always find new ways of preventing diseases, especially when it comes to one that is considered to be "untreatable" for centuries. 

    1. Immunotherapy shows great promise for improving cancer treatment. Using the body to fight cancer seems to me to be a more effective method because the immune system has been built to do this over the course of millions of years, and also has more ability to reach the intended cancerous tissues of the body, where standard anti-cancer drugs might be eliminated from the bloodstream or simply not make it to target tissues. 

  18. I'm find the idea of immunotherapy to be interesting as other treatments of cancer tend to be invasive or life altering, whereas this fights the cancers without using anything that doesn't already exist inside the body. Although it does mean altering immune system cells, it could lead to a way of fighting the spread of cancer if a tumour were to be found late in its life immunotherapy combined with a surgery or chemotherapy could be an extremely effective treatment. 

  19. I agree with Grace, I find immunotherapy itself inspiring. The treatment has now been around for some time, but its use is becoming more common as this type of treatment improves. Using the body's own immune system as a means of fighting cancer is inspiring because for one, it is a very novel idea, and also because it produces fewer health effects that other anti-cancer drugs used in chemotherapy. Several people in my family, including my father and grandmother, have had cancer and were treated with chemotherapy. Both suffered some negative and permanent effects from this treatment in addition to the extreme discomfort of the whole ordeal. So a new treatment that reduces these side effects is great!