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Engineering medical treatment

Graduate student is exploring a therapy to treat prostate cancer

October 21, 2013

Engineering medical treatment
Jeremy Cepek: "The donors of this scholarship have made my research possible. It wouldn't have happened without their support."

Thanks to innovative research conducted by Jeremy Cepek, BESc’08, MESc’10, improved treatment for prostate cancer may be coming. At the imaging centre in Robarts Research Institute at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, he’s exploring a potential therapy that could pose fewer side effects, but still control the cancer.

“I’m building and testing a device that will help doctors guide needles using an MRI to treat the prostate cancer tumour,” says Jeremy, a PhD student in biomedical engineering and recipient of the Richard Dillon Ontario Graduate Scholarship. “It allows doctors to place needles more accurately and in less time, allowing for less invasive treatment.”
Currently, Jeremy is working with doctors in Toronto in a phase one clinical trial of the device, and helping them deliver the therapy to see if it is a viable option.

“This kind of research is exactly why I went into biomedical engineering – to see the application of my research and to be part of what is improving health care for people,” he says. “I’m motivated to solve medical problems and to improve the quality of life for people – and to see the results of my research.”

His funding through the scholarship has enabled him to be more mobile in doing his research, allowing him to travel to Toronto to work directly with the doctors on the clinical trials of the device.

The scholarship has also motivated him to succeed. “ there are a limited numbers of awards for graduate research, so to receive one shows that people think I’m worth the investment. I then want to ensure I’m giving my best,” he says.

Beyond the lab, Jeremy has volunteered at Parkwood Hospital in London – helping veterans with spinal cord injuries relearn how to walk. And having earned his private pilot’s licence, he occasionally takes to the skies, flying a small aircraft over parts of southern Ontario.

Back on Earth, Jeremy has his sights set on medical school.

“I’ve always been curious about how the body works,” he adds, “and I’m hoping my engineering training and medical education will be put to good use to benefit the lives of patients.”

Award Facts
Based on academic achievement, the Richard Dillon Ontario Graduate Scholarships are awarded to full-time master’s or doctoral students in Western Engineering. Matched 2:1 by the provincial government, these scholarships have been established at Foundation Western by a generous gift from the T.R. Meighen Family Foundation, and Michael and Kelly Meighen to honour Mrs. Meighen’s father, Richard Dillon, the first dean of Western Engineering.

This article appeared in the 2013 edition of Student Awards Recipient Report
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