BC Cancer Education Day

Friday, May 24, 2019 - By: Jasleen G, Alex ‘20

Students Book P and Jasleen G had the privilege of being invited to attend the Education Retreat Day at the BC Cancer Agency this past Regatta weekend. The students were able to attend educational seminars presented by senior researchers at the Trev Deeley Research Centre in Victoria. These seminars provided invaluable insight into cancer biology and current groundbreaking research. 

Students were given the opportunity to pose questions and interact with established scientists in an academic environment. After engaging in a detailed presentation and background of the process of a polymerase chain reaction, students were given the opportunity to conduct a lab in the esteemed research facility. The PCR allows scientists to copy particular DNA segments over millions of times to create enough DNA that can be further analyzed. In teams, students conducted the lab using real samples of DNA from various anonymous cancer patients. 

After combining the samples with Taq polymerase and primers and allowing the samples to undergo denaturation, annealing, and extension, ample DNA samples were synthesized. By use of gel electrophoresis, results of the PCR reaction were visualized and students utilized these results to determine appropriate courses of treatment for these patients. Students determined the viability of treatment options by noting whether or not they were HER2 or ER receptor-positive and presented their course of treatment to the scientists. 

It was extremely interesting to assume the role of cancer researchers for the day and have the opportunity to work in this highly regarded facility. Students were provided insight into the most current and innovational treatments being developed such as CAR T cell therapy research. Students were also given a tour of the immunotherapy lab, Canada’s most innovative lab for T cell therapy research. 

This experience was incredibly interesting and valuable and allowed both Brentwood students to gain a deeper understand and appreciation for current cancer research, scientists, and facilities.

Jasleen G, Alex ‘20

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