Oncolytic Virus Therapy

Note: This is part 4 of my article series on cancer immunotherapy and covers the basic science behind cancer-killing (or oncolytic) viruses and how they might change the immunotherapy space forever.
If you don’t have prior exposure or understanding of how the immune system works or what immune checkpoint blockade therapies are, check out part 1 in the series where I go over the basics of the human immune system, and then come back to continue reading this article! If you want to read more about other immunotherapies, check out part 3 of this series where I cover tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes.

Image from Quanta Magazine


The Philosopher Who Challenged Our Most Basic Ideas About the Universe

Zeno shows the Doors to Truth and Falsity (Veritas et Falsitas). Fresco in the Library of El Escorial, Madrid | Image from Wikipedia

Consider a mighty ship that was only made of wood. Let’s call it… Sea Señor 😁. Let’s say Sea Señor is used by sailors for generations, passed down from one great sea captain to another. Just like any object, over time, the ship experiences wear and tear, namely rot. So, to keep it in working condition, rotting wood planks are replaced by metal parts one by one. Now let us consider the day that the very last piece of wood in the entire ship is replaced with a metal part. Right after this moment, is this ship still the same…


How Using Far-UV Light Could Prevent Future Pandemics

Photo by Rich Smith on Unsplash

The attempt to take control of the COVID-19 pandemic has quite clearly been an utter failure. Apart from the successful development of vaccines in a record low time, there were significant issues with detection of the virus, governmental actions to bring the virus under control, and public acceptance of social distancing, mask, and lockdown policies, as well as problems with vaccine distribution in many places even now.

As Sam Harriss and Rob Reid discuss in the episode (embedded below) on the Making Sense podcast, the fast growth of the synthetic biology significantly increases risks of engineered viruses causing future pandemics.


Boosting Activated T-Cell Responses

Image from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

As we’ve discussed in the past two articles, though the immune system is extremely versatile and powerful, in some individuals, cancer cells are able to develop mechanisms to avoid or even directly block the immune system, allowing them to form life-threatening tumors.

Now, one way to overcome these mechanisms is with the help of drugs like the immune checkpoint inhibitors we focused on in the previous article. But, another class of immunotherapy are adoptive cellular therapies (ACT), which, on a fundamental level, isolate and extract T-cells, expand their populations outside of the body, and then inject them back into the…


Epicurus | Philosophy Talk

I I had to choose something to designate as the one constant reason behind all the actions almost every person takes throughout their life, it would be the pursuit of happiness. We as humans care so much about things like money, social status, romantic and familial relationships, and friendships only because we falsely think that those will lead us to achieving true happiness in our lives.

But, this is where a great mystery of life lies. Even when some people have amassed large amounts of money, have high social status, have a strong romantic relationship, and tons of friends, many…


Releasing the Brakes on the Immune System

Note: This is just part 2 of my article series on cancer immunotherapy and covers the basics of what might be the earliest breakthrough in immunotherapies: immune checkpoint blockade therapy. It will require a basic understanding of the cellular mechanisms in the immune system.
If you don’t have prior exposure or understanding of how the immune system works, check out part 1 in the series where I go over the basics of the human immune system, and then come back to continue reading this article!

Photo by Alex King on Unsplash

As obvious as it may seem today, the concept that the immune system was capable…


Crash Course Immunology — Part 1 of Cancer Immunotherapy Series

Note: This is just part 1 of my article series on cancer immunotherapy and covers basic immunology concepts that you might need to know to better understand the remaining articles on specific methodologies for cancer immunology.
This article does assume that you have some understanding of topics like transcription, translation, mitosis and meiosis, the chromosomal theory of inheritance, and cell biology. If you aren’t familiar with these, I’ve linked some resources for different topics throughout the article as they come up, so feel free to read those, understand the topic, and then come back to continue reading the article!

Photo by UCSF Health

Let’s Start From The Top

You…


How Is It Different Than Your Normal Age, and Why Is It Important?

Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash

Everyone knows that as a person gets older, their health slowly gets worse and worse. From a young age, we’ve seen grandparents and other “old” people suffer from different diseases, frailty, poor eyesight, and a host of other problems.

But what some people might not realize is that it’s not as simple as a linear function where everyone in the world has the same health deterioration at the same age. …


Photo Source: Pinterest

The Exciting Science Behind Generating A Map of the Brain

Humanity has come a long way since we first evolved from our ape ancestors. It started slow (extremely slow), with figuring out how to light a fire and make tools using stones, but quickly picked up to the point where, about 200,000 years later, we can manipulate life at the smallest orders of molecules, launch people into space, and even manipulate atoms to meet our desires.


A CRISPR-mediated Coronavirus Treatment and Prevention Strategy

In mid-February, this year, Timothy Abbott, PhD Candidate at Stanford University’s Bioengineering Department, and Dr Marie La Russa, a research scientist working at Dr Stanley Qi’s lab at Stanford, found a way to create a therapeutic agent to prevent all forms of coronavirus.

In this breakthrough research, Abbott was using an approach called PAC-MAN (Prophylactic Antiviral CRISPR in huMAN cells) to attack RNA viruses, which includes the coronavirus family, and degrade their genetic code. …

Akshaj Darbar

18 y/o innovator working on reversing ageing and researching cancer vaccines. www.akshajdarbar.com

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