Thursday, April 29, 2010

Full Circle

So, normally I will not make posts so close together but under certain circumstances, I will. For example, I have been working on a Senior project/paper for my Advanced Biopharmaceutics class for about month before I presented today. It dealt with Oral Lymphatic Drug Delivery. Now I know that the casual reader may not understand that but one aspect of that area is using medications to activate our immune system to fight cancer. Now up until today (the day of my presentation) there were no drugs on the market that do this. We have been fighting cancer by either prevention, surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy. But today that changed. TODAY, that changed! The FDA approved a new drug, Provenge, to treat prostate cancer by activating a person's own immune system to attack the cancer cells. This is revolutionary. I mean this could quite possibly be the largest breakthrough in cancer treatment, EVER! Now it is a little early to be able to understand the impact on our entire fight against cancer, but this is truly promising, and I saw it coming! Now I am not taking credit but it is finally nice to see my academic efforts pay off a little.

The reason I feel obligated to post right now is because my presentation (along with a friend of mine, Thomas) dealt with this type of therapy exactly. And both of us, along with our professor, agreed that no treatment existed like this and that we hope that companies and researchers alike would be able to capitalize on it. Talk about coming full circle. As the science nerd that I am, this is really, really, REALLY exciting! Actually, I am a little bummed that I am not a part of that first group of people getting Provenge approved, but it opens the door for many new therapies of cancers and potentially other severe diseases, like HIV. It truly is a great day for medicine!

Here is an additional link posting in September of 2009, describing the mechanism for these drugs a little better. And if you don't believe me about my presentation, I can send it to you if you want...just let me know!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Return to the Promise Land?

As my senior year of college comes to a close, I realize that even though I continued to play sports I have no real athletic accomplishments. In grade school, I was on a championship soccer team (actually I believe my younger brother Adam scored 2 goals to my 1 in the championship game, and like 20 to my 3 all season but whatever), a championship and runner-up little league baseball team, and even a runner-up basketball team. In high school I was a freshman when the baseball team went to state, won two district titles playing Big League baseball, and played in the state tournament twice for the district team. Not to mention the intramural basketball team of "Team 4.0" beating the likes of 3 former varsity basketball players (and a couple of other guys we didn't care too much for) in a game where I sprained my ankle in the first 10 minutes. By the way, "Team 4.0" referred to the fact the everyone on the team had a 4.0 GPA. This also doesn't include having friends play in the Little League World Series, State Baseball Championships, and cheering on my brothers success (Adam in travel soccer and basketball tourneys, Jacob in State rugby championships and travel baseball). And those of you who consider competitive marching band as a sport like I do, we went to State my freshman year and came within one out of step clarinet player away from State my senior year. Overall, I was highly involved in athletics, WINNING athletics! Oh, and none of that includes the dynasty of ping pong known as the BPPL (there will be a post about this soon).

But in college, I have had no real connections with any players on any significant teams. So I turn to intramural sports, and I have NO intramural championships. Four years of basketball and football have only produced one quarterfinal football appearance. I have tried table tennis and racquetball but neither remotely panned out. I reluctantly tried co-ed softball last year with a group of girls that had previously won the Women's division, but evidently mixing with some guys produced a team who went 0-4. But maybe...just maybe...I can see a return to the promise land. Tonight, my Men's softball team played in the final four and was just two games away from that elusive intramural championship. And this is not some B-league or dorm's the Men's Open league with literally only one rule-"You must go to Purdue." My team, Taco Tuesdays, was 6-0 and has outscored our opponents 67-19. And our pitcher has the nastiest knuckleball, IN SLOWPITCH SOFTBALL!

Now, me even thinking about posting this entry jinxed it as we lost 8-7. We actually rallied in the top half of the last inning to score 5 runs and go up 7-6. However, the other team hit a walk-off 2 run HR. Oh so close!
But I see the potential. This same team of pretty athletic guys has only one senior that I know of, ME! And with me returning in the fall for graduate school we will have at least one more run at the softball (and football) titles. Granted I play 2nd base and hit anywhere from 6th to last in the line-up, but I could care less. If you didn't know already, I hate to anything. Mariokart, basketball, Trivial Pursuit, paper football, Chuzzle Deluxe, Bananagrams, you name I want to win it. Now, I understand that as I get further and further into the realm of science my athletic career will continue to diminish (except for maybe table tennis which again will be another post). So here's to hoping for one final return to the podium and to winning that elusive intramural championship!

Oh here is a funny clip I found of a
baseball rain delay...I do miss hanging out on a baseball field, so a sandy intramural softball field will have to do!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Beginning

With all great endeavors there must be a beginning. For those of you who know me, you know I am not much of a writer. I enjoy conversation, but as I enter into the world of graduate studies (which I'll get to in a minute), I found that I wanted to give blogging a try. The plan for this blog is for me to allow a window into my world as a young pharmaceutical scientist. I also envision this blog to be a spot where family and friends can keep up to date with my life along with anybody wanting to pass the time reading about anything from new FDA regulations to new cars to how good the Purdue basketball team will be next year. There are no given themes or topics to this blog. The content will solely depend on whatever is on my mind at the time and what events are occurring around the time of writing. Ultimately, I hope to release weekly (or even biweekly) posts but for now it will be on a "free time" basis. So let's bring everyone up to speed.

My name is Matt Jackson and I am currently finishing my Senior year at Purdue University. I am majoring in Pharmaceutical Sciences and have been accepting into the Ph.D. program at Purdue starting in the fall of 2010. I have lived in Indiana my entire life but I want to move outside of the Midwest at some point in my life. Currently, I am the Staff Resident (RA to the RAs) at McCutcheon Hall and until my employment is up at the end of the semester that is all I will say about that (other than I am very fortunate to have been a part of the McCutcheon Residential Life Staff team).

I think putting my goals into perspective will aid in the directionality of this blog and ultimately will decide if any of you readers actually care enough to follow me. I am fascinated by science and particularly pharmaceutical science. My dream is to one day own my own Pharmaceutical company which may or may not make it big because it would be run differently than any other drug company. In my experience, marketing people dictate what scientists can and cannot do, and that must change. It cannot always be about making money as it should be about helping people. But enough of me on a soapbox...

I am not trying to make people laugh or to upset anybody. I am simply in need of a way to further my writing skills while hopefully making a few people slow down and think now and then. Overall I am an optimistic person which wishes nothing but the best for everyone. However, I also believe you get what you deserve. I have no intentions of making it big like my high school classmate Mark did with Club Trillion. I just want to show people what I think and as I may get further away from friends and family, this seems to be the logical next step.

I'll end with a quick was reported today that the fastest internet speeds are found in college towns. I just wonder if Drew remembers the days of "56K modems" like I do?