Transcript of video profile of Denise Buenrostro, Ph.D., WRF Postdoctoral Fellow in the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Division of Immunology. Minor editing has taken place to improve clarity.
Hi. My name is Dr. Denise Buenrostro, and currently I am working on developing a smart T cell that can identify and eliminate viruses in cancer patients who’ve had a stem cell transplant. Basically, this is a cell in the immune system that is responsible for finding things that are not supposed to be there, and this includes bacteria, fungus and viruses, among other things as well.
So, the idea is that creating the smart T cell can identify and eliminate these viruses, possibly extending the life of these post-transplant patients, and also increasing their quality of life, because many of them have unresolved viruses, bacteria, and they get really severe complications such as encephalitis, which means brain swelling. They get … you know, their kidneys fail. All of these things.
The hope is that we can create a treatment that will treat viruses, but then we can apply this treatment to treat virus-induced cancers, which is actually a big research department actually at Fred Hutch.
And I want to thank WRF for their incredible support. They have not only provided a livable income for Seattle, a very expensive city, but is very supportive about their Fellows. They allow us, all of us, to come together, to chat, there’s a lot of networking opportunities. So there are different types of STEM disciplines: physics, marine biology, engineering—immunology, like I am—and we are all allowed to mix and mingle and talk about our research, which has allowed us to kind of think outside the box, and has encouraged it, to make sure that our research is always becoming more and more innovative.