Thursday, June 21, 2007

A Peek Behind the Curtain

While working, I always enjoyed getting a chance to see where the rubber met the road. This took me to visits at a steel mill, a call center, a data center, a pharmaceutical plant, an air traffic control tower simulator, numerous movie sets, a beer plant and cheese manufacturer (that was pleasure, not working), a solar photovoltaic manufacturing facility, a check processing center, a bank vault (with $20 million in cash), numerous blood centers, a coal mine, a coal fired power plant, a nuclear power plant (“A” list tour including the cooling pools), and now most recently a cancer research laboratory. You know how in the Wizard of Oz towards the end of the movie when Dorothy pulls back the curtain to expose the wizard, it was sort of like that with the cancer lab, but it was real.

We met with the cancer lab manager who gave us an “A” list tour. We saw how tumor cells were brought into the lab and where live cancer tumor cells are grown into cell lines. Cell lines are used during assessment analyses to determine drug effectiveness and cancer growth pathways (e.g., how cancer spreads from the primary tumor site to other bodily sites like the lymph nodes when implanted into lab animals). We saw test tubes, met cancer research doctors and technicians, saw high powered microscopes, deep freeze vats used for cryo freezing of cells at about minus 260 degrees centigrade, a cold room, and more. Cancer research is a very expensive, tedious, and laborious process, yet so important. We thank the individuals who allowed us this peek behind the curtain. There is so much taking place these days and it all requires funding, ethical approvals by internal review boards, grant writing, and lots of paperwork. For my sake and those that come after me, we owe a lot to these hard working, passionate, and dedicated individuals who are trying to make life better for others.

1 comment:

liteblue said...

Glad you're back on-line and we're looking forward to speaking with you when YOU'RE up to it. Thinking of you in AZ, Love, the Lichtblaus