We will evaluate the following aspects of your paper: Title (5 marks) – should be original and captivating. Do not use ‘Science & Society Assignment (or Paper)’, or our title ‘CAR T cells’ – groundbreaking cancer therapy at groundbreaking costs: hopes and challenges’. Tone and style (35 marks) – decide on the type of narrative you want to deliver (e.g. general information essay mainly aimed at reporting facts, testimonial report or case study, questions and answers, timeline approach, others) and maintain it from the beginning to the end. Your aim is to be informative, interesting, concise and creative. This type of writing requires language that is not too scientific/formal, but it should not be too casual/colloquial either. For example, the use of analogies as a stylistic tool to embellish your prose and make your science story more accessible is allowed but its overuse is discouraged. Examples of good journalistic science articles on this topic will be posted on Quercus. Two student papers from last year’s course will also be posted as examples. Links to science writing tips can be found below. Content (35 marks) – Here are some suggestions of points that may be discussed in your paper. Please note, you are allowed to either focus your paper on a particular issue or cover all of them to the same extent. If you decide to focus on a particular aspect, we suggest to also briefly touch on most of the other points (especially points 1 and 2).
1. A short introduction to describe CAR T cells as a type of cancer immunotherapy; the personalized therapeutic approach of CAR T cells; what types of cancer are good candidates for this therapy. 2. Description of CAR T cells: how are CAR T cells made, how they differ from normal T cells and how their molecular composition has changed from the building of the first chimeric antigen receptor. Why are CAR T cells considered ‘revolutionary’ in cancer therapy? A short exposition of the timeline of CAR T cell research is encouraged, including the successes and tragedies of several clinical trials that were undertaken, and ultimately led to the approval by FDA of two drugs in 2017. 3. Challenges a. Side effects: cytokine release syndrome and neurotoxicity are the most dangerous. Other problematic issues are the long-time permanence of CAR T cells in patients and their off-target effects, such as the killing of healthy B cells in patients with leukemia. b. High cost of production and logistics. Who should pay for CAR T cells? What policies are in place, and how should they be modified, to make this treatment accessible to patients independently from their economic status and geography. 4.Hopes a. Building better CAR T cells. Researchers in the field are trying to control the activity of CAR T cells, for example adding to the engineered receptor safeguard molecules that unleash the cells only in the presence of cancer cells, or building a mechanism that disactivates CAR T cell when the patient is in remission. b. CAR T cells in Canada. Where do we stand?
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