Reflection on Leidy’s SeminarIn this week seminar we had as a guest Leidy Alvarado, who shared with us hercurrent research conducted in Purdue University located in Indiana. She is a currentPh.D. student focusing on the area of breast cancer. The title of her seminar was:Early detection of recurrent breast cancer using metabolite profiling.Breast cancer is still the leading cause of death among women worldwide. In thisexperiment they used a combination of NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) and GC xGC – MS (two- dimensional gas chromatography – mass spectrometry) to analyze themetabolite profiling. They used metabolite profiling because it can detect diseasesbased on a panel of small molecules. Metabolite profiling has various applicationslike early diagnosis, and the investigation of metabolites pathways, among others.Understanding that blood serum metabolite was sensitive to recurrent breast cancer,they applied metabolite profiling to investigate it.From the forty biomarkers researchers had initially, they narrowed it down to elevenbasing it on their ranked performance. The biomarkers were chosen using the methodof sensitivity vs. specificity. Sensitivity means the proportion of actual positives (sickpeople with the condition) and specificity means the proportion of negatives (healthypeople without the condition). In the phase of clinical diagnosis metabolite profilingdetected 75% of recurring patients compared with CA 27.29 marker that detected only16%. As result of the improved screening 55% of the recurring patients werediagnosed thirteen months earlier than by traditional clinical diagnosis. As theydeliberated their results, they stated that there would be an improvement on earlydetection and better treatments as result of the combined detection procedure.These were just some of the terms she shared with us and as a student who wants to
study in the area of oncology I found it very interesting. One thing she mentioned thattouched me was when you have a PhD you will always be learning but you become aleader. Hearing those words from her inspired me to keep firm in what I want, takerisks and embrace every opportunity that comes in my life.