I think regenerative bioscience is a complete game changer in the medical field. Today pharmaceuticals dominate the medical field as the primary form of treatment for most injuries and maladies. Although there are plenty of medicines on the market that prevent various health problems from progressing and may actually reverse severe illnesses; most medications are limited to treating symptoms and none of them regenerate degrading tissue, release natural biological factors for healing, or completely replace entire organs. Regenerative medicine gives people and animals with otherwise permanent injuries or diseases the chance to heal where traditional pharmaceutical treatments have failed. In my family, there is a long history of autoimmune disorders. Many of the pharmaceuticals used to treat these disorders have a host of terrible symptoms, many of which I saw firsthand as my grandmother declined. Today a number of therapies are being developed in regenerative medicine to mitigate inflammation, enhance T-cell function and concentration, etc., as well as treatments to prevent the onset of autoimmune disorders for those at risk, and many more. Although most of these regenerative therapies are still in clinical trials, they have the potential to transform the prognosis and quality of life for innumerable patients. If these treatments were available for my grandmother twenty-five years ago, when the onset of rheumatoid arthritis set in, she would probably still be here today.
As cliché as I know it sounds, I have wanted to be a veterinarian for as long as I can remember. My dream has always been to work with animals in a career where there are always different problems to solve and where my job makes a difference in someone or something’s life. Although I still want to become a veterinarian, my work as an undergraduate researcher in The West Laboratory has opened my eyes to a PhD track I was not really aware of previously.
by Mary Kate Mehegan RBC Fellows Undergraduate Student