Here’s the story:
Here’s the story:
I didn’t like his style.
Microbiology tutorial class from 12:30PM to ‘As-long-as-Dr. Joy wishes’ (till 3:30PM on ‘lucky-days’, up to even 5:00PM on usual days) – once a week, extended to 2/3 days per week when ‘Dr. Joy wishes’ – not something ‘my type’ would love to attend…
Yet, I had to.. He made us do so.
But, now that we’re at the end of our curriculum, MB is one of my favorites…
This was what Dr. Joy awarded me on our last MB class, for ‘overall good performance’ throughout the course.
I remember K60 students giving a gift-card to Dr.Joy, in which they wrote:
“You’ll remain in our memories like normal flora“
18th February, 2008
A friend of mine (herself a student of Dr. Joy) – Sifat Zerin Khan Disha mailed me this photograph today, taken on the 8th of Dec, 2007 – our (2nd) last official MB class. The subject of her mail was “The difference…”
Recently, I have had an article published in the annual magazine of Dhaka Medical College, “the Barshiki 2006” (ISBN # 984-300-000539-9; page 102-103). Here it is…
STEM CELL RESEARCH: YES / NO?
Sanjoy Kumar Chowdhury
Batch K61, Dhaka Medical College.
Remember Prometheus, who created man ‘in godlike image’ from clay, and gifted them ‘fire’? Legends say, Zeus had him carried to a Mountain where Ethon, the eagle would pick at his liver during the day, and it would grow back during the night – only to be picked at again the next day. Now, if you ask Prometheus, surely he would attribute regeneration as the cause of one of his “torments”- for which he desired ‘death rather than life’.
I wonder what our answers might be. We have heard about ‘super’-heroes in comic books and movies, whose injuries are ‘healed’ within seconds. We envy animals like salamanders as they can regenerate parts of their body. We can easily plan for partial hepatectomy knowing that it would grow back. Under this modern context, if you come to know that the new era in medical science is going to be “regenerative medicine”, what might your answer be?
The source of all hope is what we call Stem cells. The unique characteristics of stem cells include its self-renewal capacity and asymmetrical (and symmetrical – wherever applicable) replication technique, along with the most coveted feature – unlimited potency. Stem cells can be totipotent, pluripotent or multipotent cells; and sometimes even unipotent progenitor cells can be stem cells.
That is why we have the two basic types of stem cells (based upon their potency / source):
1. Unlimited / Embryonic Stem Cells (ESC)
2. Limited / Adult / Somatic Stem Cells (ASC)
Human Embryonic Stem Cells are currently obtained (for research purpose) from the ‘excess’ blastocysts of the In-vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics. In case of animals, Nuclear transfer (NT) or Altered Nuclear Transfer (ANT) techniques are also followed, popularly known as research / therapeutic cloning.
The advantages of ESC include truly unlimited potency and more importantly, their ability to grow outside the body in a laboratory. Also, they are relatively easier to find, isolate and maintain. ESCs formed by NT technique are genetically identical to the host they are obtained from – providing room for autografts.
But implanting undifferentiated ESC in living tissues can lead to teratomas. More important limitations include controversies regarding their source. Since human ESCs have only been obtained from the inner cell mass of blastocysts – which in fact ‘kills’ the blastocyst; ethical issues remain unsettled.
Obtaining Adult Stem Cells are easier and involve less controversial processes, and they are always genetically matched with the host. But they are only multi/uni-potent and difficult to identify, isolate and maintain. The advantage with ASC is their use in research and therapy is not as controversial as the ESCs.
Currently alternatives of ESC are being searched for due to the controversies they give rise to. Some of the prospective researches include:
• the use of umbilical cord stem cells,
• collecting cells from morula instead of blastocyst (since morula can sustain the loss of a few cells),
• ‘Reprogramming’ adult cells to turn on genes that allow versatility.
Progress in research regarding stem cells was rapid. Although it technically started with the first successful Bone marrow transplant in 1956, the first human ESC was isolated in 1998 by James Thomson and co-workers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2002, pancreatic cells derived from mouse ESC was used to cure Diabetes in mice.
Earlier this year (07 January, 2007), scientists at Wake Forest University and Harvard University report discovery of a new type of stem cell in amniotic fluid. This may potentially provide an alternative to embryonic stem cells for use in research and therapy.
Among the Diseases & Injuries Stem Cell Research has the potential to impact are Neurological (Parkinson’s disease, Multiple sclerosis, Neuroblastoma); Hematological (Leukemia, Sickle-cell anemia, Immunodeficiency, Lymphomas, Hodgkin’s disease, Bone marrow failure); Endocrine (Type 1 Diabetes); and Other diseases (Burns, Ovarian cancer, Breast cancer, Liver disease including hepatitis, Injuries)
Culturing stem cells and establishing stable stem cell line is one the most important aspects of stem cell research. Debates have risen regarding the ethical as well as the medical aspects of such research.
Firstly; acceptable, available and applicable sources of ESC still remain undiscovered. Using techniques like ANT to design blastocysts only for culturing (as they are rendered incapable of implantation into the uterus) can never be ethical for use in humans.
There is doubt regarding whether stable stem cell lines will actually be ‘stable’. Eventually all cell lines typically accumulate genetic mutations and stem cell lines will have to be monitored for such developments.
Moreover, actual use of such cells in therapeutic purpose has numerous questions to be answered. Chances of teratoma or oncogenic development remain. It was only in 2006 that the first mouse ESC was grown without animal products in the culture – which means we have a long way to go to exclude the probability of ‘chimeras’ human formation or unknowingly transmitting diseases by using such cells.
These are perspectives which we, the medical students of todays will have to consider. The decision will surely and soon be upon us to make – whether we will fear the wrath of Zeus and say ‘no’, or go ahead with the research and say ‘yes’ to a new mode of life…
I sincerely wish that it won’t take us 30,000 years… and I just hope that we have ‘the Hercules’ (who set Prometheus free), while we move along – to ensure ‘what promises to be the ultimate cure’ does not end up being a Frankenstein…
1. Microscopic 20x view of a colony of undifferentiated human embryonic stems cells. (University of Wisconsin Board of Regents, http://www.news.wisc.edu)
2. Mouse embryonic stem cells visible using fluorescent marker. (From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stem_cell)
When I was named among the four assigned to prepare a presentation regarding the “Pathologic aspect of Tuberculosis” (scheduled for staging 3 weeks prior to my assessment exam – which btw has nothing remotely related to TB as far as the syllabus is concerned), I was quite happy. It didn’t seem very difficult to me.
(Some people need two weeks to learn how stupid they are….)
Anyway, after 2 weeks of labourious research, this was what we came up with. Enjoy… and please do distribute / use any way you might need to…
[Note that this "read-only" version of the presentation was intentionally prepared to prevent accidental alternation. If you need to edit, use my name as the password]
Eagerly waiting for your comments…..
Have you noticed – this is becoming a “travel & living” type “photo”-blog…
Anyway, who cares ?
Sandhani central conference was being held in Bogra (Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Medical College – Bogra) this year, on the last week of Nov. We participated there representing Sandhani – Dhaka Medical College Unit.
But my visit in particular was not much related to the program, except the issue itself, and the fact that ‘Bogra Medical College – Students Hostel’ was the local station we had in mind.
We had some very unusual experiences while going to Bogra and returning, will share them some other time…
Lets start off with the lawn infront of the museum with lots of beautiful sculptures & other collections;
We were not allowed to take photographs within the museum itself, so tough luck there… but do visit it sometimes, its worth the journey.
Have fun !
Be good !
We (bunch of sandhanians craving for a break from medical studies) have been planning to visit St. Martins for quite some time now… And unlike most of our plans, this one suddenly seemed feasible !
Know what? (Like Murphy said) “If nothing can go wrong, it will anyway.”
We were scheduled to leave on the day after the Eid, i.e. on the 25th of Oct. But shortly, we realized that ‘the Eid = 25th’ ; and we have to pick one !
Then deciding to leave on the night of the 25th, we found 3 of our expected mates missing, unexpectedly.
“Where patience fails, force prevails” philosophy gained us 2 back ! (This Murphy guy must’ve been a real genius)
I’ve got lots of more photographs to show, but I guess the last one have shown it all.
Such beautiful is my country !
Within the very little breaks I get from my medical studies, I’ve started to travel a lot.. This time it was Chittagong, 2 days tour – 2 places to go – Rangamati & Bandarban.
I can’t explain how beautiful these places were… Now I know why they say :
দেখা হয় নাই চক্ষু মেলিয়া
ঘর হতে শুধু দুই পা ফেলিয়া
একটি ধানের শীষের উপর
একটি শিশির বিন্দু ।
Allow me to share with you some of the photographs I’ve taken.
First, Rangamati :
Next, it was Bandarban :
Lastly, a few travel tips :
1. There is no mobile phone network in Rangamati or Bandarban. (Though I could send sms from a particular 2/2 ft spot right in the middle of the highway in front of Meghla (Bandarban), I named it the GP spot .) There is tnt land phone connection though.
2. From both places, the last bus leaves at 6:30PM. Book your tickets early, or you’ll end up walking along the highway (like me!)
3. If you can pick time and spot carefully, you will be able to avoid tourist gatherings. Believe me, the places look a lot different when you are alone.