A thoughtful recollection from John Ratliff. Thank you, John, for dedicating yourself to helping others.

The Fantastic Voyage

So yesterday I got my annual eye exam and once again was very fortunate to learn that, more or less, all is well with my aging optic organs. They have this new machine that for $35.00 eliminates the need to get your eyes dilated in order to check the health of the back of your eye. I found it to be money well spent and enjoyed getting to see the color pictures of my optic nerves and blood vessels, which reminded me of a movie I saw when I was kid called “The fantastic voyage.” The premise of the story is secret new technology that shrinks people down to microscopic size, which is the only hope for a dying VIP patient. A team of medical experts and special skill operatives all volunteer to get shrunk and then injected via a hyperdermic needle into the body of the patient. Once inside, they confront a series of adventures and adversities in full technicolor, state-of-the-art (for back then) vividness. A number of the team perish along the journey but eventually they reach the problem, save the patient’s life and then make their escape through the optic nerve before the shrinking treatment wears off. The last scene zooms slowly out as the heroic survivors are wading in a shallow pool which the audience eventually realizes is the patient’s eye ball…

I just read yesterday that another immunotherapy treatment has shown promise in the battle to find a cure for yet another formidable terminal disease. As has been the case recently with drugs like Keytruda, which has been very successful in slowing the advancement of certain cancers by jump-starting the body’s own immune system at the molecular level, a new immunotherapy has now shown promise for Alzheimer’s. I spent my professional years as a software engineer supporting the clinical research teams who dedicate their lives to finding cures for disease and ways to reduce pain and suffering. It was an honor and privilege to make a small contribution to their fantastic voyage, which continues to push the ball down the field each and every day.

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