How determined are you in the face of setbacks? Microbiologist Eri Gentry grew weary of the red tape surrounding cancer research and treatments, and in 2009 she created a lab in her garage. Yes, her garage.
As reported in this month’s Mental Floss magazine, Gentry studied the body’s ability to kill cancer cells after learning how a lab mouse’s immune system had defeated cancer. Since Gentry had a limited budget for her home lab, she bypassed the $12,000 professional-grade clean bench used for handling cells and instead created a $125 substitute made out of plastic with an attached HEPA air filter.
A friend of a friend who worked at a cancer lab provided Gentry some cancer cells. Gentry learned on YouTube how to draw her own blood, and she purchased a centrifuge on eBay. Her simple experiment looked at how her white blood cells responded to the introduction of the cancer cells. Over a twenty-four hour period she could see under a microscope that her white blood cells surrounded the cancer cell and essentially caused it to explode.
She is among the first researchers to show clear evidence that our immune systems may play a vital role in fighting cancer. She is certainly the first to conduct such research in her garage.
Eri Gentry provides valuable inspiration for all of us when we encounter red-tape and/or setbacks. Our determination and ingenuity are typically more powerful than we imagine, and in many situations our inner drive is enough to topple the barrier in front of us.