In the previous blog post we explained the growth of Cell and Gene Therapy developments around Keele and the local area, which offer the potential of new and life changing therapies to treat many very serious, and in some cases fatal, conditions. As with every new idea based around innovative science there are many interesting challenges in getting therapies to the market and in our case to the patient. The biggest challenge is often having the right people with the right skills to help turn these ideas into reality, and subsequently one of the key aims of the meeting on 6th December will be to highlight the career opportunities this new area of medicine will open up for students studying STEM sciences.
Compared to conventional therapeutics, cell and gene therapy products generate not only a whole new level of complexity with regards to their development, manufacture and how they are administered to the patients, but they also require a different way of working due to drastically reduced shelf-lives compared with conventional pharmaceutical medicines. As a bench mark, we are approaching the intricacies of rocket science!
These challenges, however, produce a variety of opportunities for young scientists and engineers to not only develop their careers in this exciting area but also to start providing the solutions required to translate these medicines from the laboratory bench to the patient. These opportunities will not just be focused around the medical areas, but will be created throughout the spectrum of STEM including biology, chemistry and engineering and will cover academic, industry and hospital settings and not necessarily restricted to degree and post graduate level candidates.
The current skills gap in this field is recognised nationally and there are a number of initiatives being developed to train and develop the next generation of scientists including the setting up of a nationwide apprenticeship scheme, of which Cobra is part. Locally, these schemes not only allow local students studying at local universities to stay in the area, but also provide opportunities for those who have relocated outside the area to return.
The meeting will include a presentation from a recent Keele graduate currently working within Cobra’s Research & Development (R&D) group and there will also be an opportunity for an informal Q&A with some of our scientists to help prospective science students to understand more about what we do within Cobra and how to get into this exciting and life-changing field of medicine.
For further details of the Cell & Gene Therapy: 21st Century Medicines event on Wednesday 6th December, and to register for FREE, click here.