Jane Bugler experience on the Gerry Kelly Studentship this Summer 2013

I was one of four students who went to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA this summer. Through the studentship set up last year by Dr. Peter O’Gorman and Dr. Ken Anderson in DFCI we had the chance to experience a clinical setting in one of the best cancer hospitals in the world.

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Shane and I were appointed to shadow Dr Richardson in the multiple myeloma clinic while Sophie and Grace went to the lab to shadow Dr Anderson. In the clinic we gained an in depth knowledge into multiple myeloma from the patients who presented with the disease. We also witnessed their response to chemotherapy and the success of stem cell transplantation as well as the limitations of these options for some patients who relapse.

The most impressive aspect of this experience was to see the close relationship between the clinic and the lab – the “bench to bedside” approach.
Many patients are included in clinical trials which have been developed by the hospital. The data collected from these protocols is hugely significant, not just in developing drugs, but improving patient therapy in the hospital and worldwide.

It was also inspiring to see the great relationship the doctors, nurses and hospital staff have with their patients, making their stay in Dana Farber more comfortable.

We thoroughly enjoyed exploring Boston and the warm temperatures which had a great effect on our Irish skin! We visited the surrounding areas, including Cape Cod and New York and we spent Independence Day enjoying the fireworks and festivities on the Charles River in Boston. Boston is a beautiful place, and I will most definitely go back in the future.

From working in the clinic and meeting the patients, I learned so much about multiple myeloma and how the disease and the treatment affect the lives of the patients. The six weeks were the most challenging, but the most rewarding I have ever spent.

I am privileged to have been selected for such a great opportunity and thank Dr. Richardson, Dr. Anderson and Dr. Peter O’Gorman for all they have taught me and allowed me to be apart of such a great experience.

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