Senior Quintero completes mentorship at Rush University Medical Center


Senior Cecila Quintero recently finished a mentorship at Rush University Medical Center



Cecilia Quintero has always had the medical profession on her mind but never so much as when she completed a mentorship this summer at Rush University Medical Center.  The St. Joseph senior was accepted to a research program at the nationally recognized hospital through the American Cancer Society, where she studied under Dr. Carl Ruby.

“I thought the program would be more observing than hands-on but it was the complete opposite,” Quintero said. “I worked on my own experiments and under the guidance of great people, especially Dr. Ruby, my focus in the profession has changed.”

That focus was fueled by her study of a vaccination that supports a person’s immune system to reject cancer.

“As people get older, they have fewer T cells and other types of cells that do not respond well to certain treatments,” she said. “I worked with vaccinations by injecting colon carcinoma cells into hosts along with a therapy to assess differences (initial responses) in younger and older hosts.  My studies confirmed that there were no difference in cell population number-wise between age groups but there was a significant difference in cell make-up.” 

This specific vaccination that Cecilia worked on increased immune response in the older hosts with the effect that a person’s immune system can be alerted that a foreign tissue, such as cancer, is present.

Cecilia’s two months in the lab have convinced her that research in treating cancer will be a priority for her in Med School along with her desire to be a practicing physician.  In addition, she looks forward to publishing her current and future findings.