Send Cristal to King's! #MasteringCancer

Send Cristal to King's! #MasteringCancer

I am raising £7,000 to partially fund my MRes in Translational Cancer Medicine at King's College London.

We did it!

On 16th Jun 2018 we successfully raised £615 with 24 supporters in 42 days

Welcome to my Crowdfunder Project! 


I am raising £7,000 to partially cover the tuition fees for my one year MRes in Translational Cancer Medicine at King's College London.

 

Whilst at King's, I will study the current and emerging methods in cancer research, which are employed in drug and clinical study design, as well as in the discovery of novel therapeutic targets. In this way, I will become a specialist trained researcher and I hope to help in the worldwide fight against cancer. My main goal is to translate the findings obtained in the lab into meaningful assets in the clinical setting, thereby improving cancer treatment and increasing patient survival rates. I hope that my research can go beyond King's and makes a significant contribution to the current understanding of cancer.

Please share and donate as generously as you can. I genuinely appreciate your support and I trust that with your help I can reach my goal and head to King's College London in September. 


About me 

Assalamu alaikum (may peace be upon you), my name is Cristal. I am 22 years old and I was born and raised in Panama.  Four years ago I was awarded a competitive scholarship to study my undergraduate degree at the University of Keele, where I now am a final year Biochemistry and Human Biology student. Without this scholarship, it would not have been possible for me to study what I am passionate about, due to coming from a low-income family. To have had the opportunity to study abroad has been of extreme benefit for both my personal and academic development.

During my second year at Keele, I completed modules in molecular cell biology and cell signalling, which made me fascinated about the alterations of cellular processes and how these can lead to the pathophysiology of many diseases, including cancer.  Later on, in my third year, I worked on and produced a 9,700-word project dissertation on the sodium – hydrogen exchanger isoform 1 (NHE1) and its role in triple negative breast cancer invasion and metastasis. I investigated inhibition of NHE1 as a novel target in breast cancer therapeutics. Throughout my third year, I have also studied other aspects of cancer including epidemiology and cancer diagnosis, for which I produced literature reviews in cancer aetiology and novel markers for the diagnosis of prostate cancer, respectively. All these, combined with my previous knowledge and experience gained at university, powered my desire to continue to study cancer at Master’s level.

At Charles Darwin's house (Down House) in the Borough of Bromley, London. 

I am now in the last stretch of my degree and I have recently been given my dream offer to study an MRes in Translational Cancer Medicine at King's College London, which ranks 36th worldwide and 7th in the UK, according to the World University Ranking 2018 by the Times Higher Education. However, I cannot accept my offer unless I raise the fees, due to insufficient personal funds. I took the initiative to Crowdfund as a means to partially fund my Master’s. I trust that with your help and my family’s life savings I will raise the fees I need and I will make it to King's in September.


Why support me? 

The tuition fees for a one year Master’s course are of £22,800 for overseas payers, which is a lot of money. Unfortunately, I am not eligible for any current scholarships offered by the University due to the nature of my course and my nationality. I am not eligible for student loans offered by Student Finance England either. Overall, I need to cover £22,800 in tuition fees and between £13,000 - 15,000 for annual living costs.

The entry requirements for my degree are both academic (I need at least a 2.1 in my current degree) and financial  (I need to prove that I can pay for the course and living expenses – I am an overseas tuition fees payer). Many students like me are forced to turn down the offers we are made purely on the fact that we do not have enough money to pay for it. With your support, I hope to be able to study my dream MRes course at King's College London. 


What is Translational Cancer Medicine? 

Translational Cancer Medicine (or Translational Cancer Research) is the science which bridges the laboratory and clinical settings with an overall aim of developing new personalised therapies, discovering new targets and improving the way we treat cancer. Translational Cancer Medicine is a growing field with pervasive commercial and therapeutic potential. It is a process of constant feedback and aims to expand our understanding of the cancer biology and generate novel therapeutic and diagnostic agents. 

In this field, researchers, clinicians, and the pharmaceutical industry work together to produce the breakthroughs that will tackle the most urgent medical challenges of our times and improve patients’ lives on a global scale. 


Why King's College London? 

King's College London MRes in Translational Cancer Medicine is a very dynamic course, taught by specialist scientists and clinicians. King's is a highly regarded institution and comprises internationally recognised labs/departments, with a focus on cutting-edge research.

The MRes takes place in a world-class research environment, and it takes both theoretical and practical approaches. I will engage in two 6-months laboratory placements and work on my areas of interest, within the division of cancer studies. Not only do these placement rotations will train me in cutting-edge translational research, but they will also give me the opportunity to become a valuable team member and help the discovery, development, and testing of new treatments to fight cancer.  This is reminding of my ultimate goal: to be able to help patients. The course also includes one taught module (Fundamentals of Translational Cancer Medicine), wherein I will produce a written assignment based on two preferred examples within the two lab disciplines in which I will work on as part of my two lab placements. The course structure will allow me to get the chance to experience research at all stages. 


What is my motivation? 

My enthusiasm for doing this course goes beyond merely obtaining an MRes degree. Throughout my entire life, I have never met a single individual who has not been, in a way, affected by cancer. According to the World Health Organization, in 2015 over 8 million people died from cancer-related deaths. Cancer is also costly and represents a huge economic burden. The average treatment per cancer patient is predicted to be £40,000, raising the overall cost to society as a whole (private and public sectors) to over £16 billion annually in the UK aloneBut really, why do I want to study Translational Cancer Medicine? 

Cancer is a clinically complex disease, with over 100 types of cancers documented so far. I am very curious about the complexity of cancer, and how disease heterogeneity and an individual’s susceptibility to cancer can impact treatment outcomes. For example, two individuals with the exact same type of cancer can react in two completely different ways to the same treatment. At the present time, there are local and systemic therapies available to treat cancer (surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, etc.). However, current strategies like chemotherapy are only effective to a certain extent. Firstly, highly toxic chemotherapy drugs do not discriminate between healthy and cancer cells, thereby negatively impacting patients' lives. Secondly, despite the fact that these drugs can debulk primary tumours, metastasis and recurrence are still among the leading causes of patient mortality and morbidity rates. In simpler words, metastasis occurs when cancer spreads from the primary site to other anatomic locations such as breast, prostate, lung, and colon. Recurrence, on the other hand, means that cancer comes back even after treatment. Lastly, current diagnostic techniques are not as effective as we need them to be and this, in turn, has treatment implications. 

By studying Translational Cancer Medicine, I will have the opportunity to change the way we treat cancer. I will achieve this by extending the current understanding of cancer through active research, thereby introducing novel agents to be used in diagnostics, therapeutics, and prognostics. I believe there is a cure for every disease if the right treatment is applied. My vision is that one day we can look at cancer as a chronic manageable disease, rather than a (mostly) incurable one. 

Please share and donate as widely and generously as you can. I immensely appreciate all your support. I hope that with your help I can reach my goal and head to King's to help in the fight against cancer.


With love,

Cristal x  




**King's College London is my first and dream choice, however, I also applied and got accepted to study an MSc in Translational Oncology (it's essentially the same course) at the University of Sheffield. In case I do not raise enough funds to cover the MRes costs at King's, I will still use the funds towards tuition fees costs at the University of Sheffield. Most importantly, regardless of where I go, my vision is the same: to help people and fight cancer.**

If you have any questions please contact me at crystalcollado@outlook.com.


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