Improving student engagement based on a sample of n = 1 = me

Early experiences of primary care at medical school solely acted to solidify Dr Jodie Blackadder-Weinstein’s ambition to become a plastic surgeon. However, now a Portfolio RAF general practitioner enjoying her career more than ever, Jodie explains the inspirational chance encounter that changed her path, and encourages others to open their eyes to all possible career options; namely one in general practice. Having just finished swiping through last night’s magical photos of the aurora borealis, I sit in a medical centre in the Norwegian Arctic Circle, with mile upon mile of perfectly white snow outside of my clinic window, preparing all…

CAR Immunotherapy: Driving Research from Bench to Bedside

The history of cell and gene therapy is not one without its peaks and pitfalls. This novel type of therapy promised to treat and cure almost any disease by inserting a corrective gene into the cells, with an important caveat: the molecular pathogenesis of the disease had to be properly understood. This year marks the eighteenth anniversary of Jesse Gelsinger’s death, the first directly attributed to gene therapy treatment. Gelsinger had ornithine transcarbamylase (OTC) deficiency, a metabolic disorder that prevents the body from breaking down and eliminating the build-up of ammonia. The gene delivery vehicle — a recombinant adenoviral vector…

Licensed to Kill: Priming the Immune System to Kill Cancer

The following is a two-part collaborative piece by Dr Alexander Gray, Chief Medical Officer for IDEA Pharma and UCL alumnus, and Gordon Weng-Kit Cheung, a researcher at the UCL Cancer Institute. The article highlights the promise and potential of immunotherapy in the fight against cancer, featuring the early pre-clinical development happening right here at UCL. In the article that follows, Gordon WengKit Cheung outlines the evolution of one of the most exciting developments in cancer treatment: immunotherapy, specifically CAR T-cell therapy. Back in 1989, as a fresh-faced medical student starting at UCL, the idea that you could transplant targeted immune…

Seeing the Light: My Journey to General Practice

Dr Ahmed Rashid speaks of his personal experience in general practice, an important area of medicine that has recently been thrust into the spotlight. Foundation year one (FY1) is an odd time. After endless years of jumping through academic hoops and revising for increasingly difficult assessments, you finally get to make that satisfying phone call to your bank asking them to change your debit card to include those two magic letters – “Dr”! That’s not the only change you’ll experience during this year. You have a full-time job and a commute to work. People treat you like a grown up…

By Choice: Not by Chance Supporting Medical Students Towards Careers in General Practice

Professor Valerie Wass, Emeritus Professor of Medical Education at Keele University, is the Chair of the By Choice – Not by Chance report. Here she briefly explores the need for such an investigation and provides a summary of the task force’s findings and recommendations for the future. The Challenge Knowledge, technology and health care delivery advance rapidly. One of the greatest challenges facing medical schools is to ensure their graduates are prepared to adapt to changes in health care over a career spanning 40+ years. It is tough for educators to think that far ahead. Now, changing patient needs and…