CLARK, NJ – Students at Arthur L. Johnson High School recently completed an Immunotherapy Patient Cancer Research Project. 

For the assignment, students in Bernadette Jacobi’s Pre-Medical Studies class were asked to put on their scrubs and assume the role of a doctor meeting with a patient just diagnosed with cancer. 

"This immunotherapy project is a very powerful tool that completely engages students in their quest for knowledge and a better understanding of a person living with cancer. It is not your typical research project," said Jacobi.

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The students had to research the selected form of cancer the patient had; the options for cancer treatment with a focus immunotherapy; and how to address the patient as well as answer patient questions. Additionally, they had to determine the most effective immunotherapy treatment and whether to combine it with traditional treatment. 

In class, student doctors met with their patients, who were played by their peers, and had to review their patient’s history, take their patient’s vitals, diagnose the patient, provide a treatment plan, address patient concerns, and give a prognosis. Students also had to present a reflection on what they took away from the experience and why they chose this type of cancer.  

"The students created their fictitious patient and stood by their sides, holding their hands, through good news and bad, with each step along the way of their disease, from chief complaint through diagnosis, treatment and final prognosis," said Jacobi, stating that she is 'so proud' of her students' work and 'how they established a relationship with their patients and earned their trust.' 

"They learned a very valuable life lesson, in treating the whole patient as a valued person, and not just the disease they presented with," Jacobi said "The personal statements my students made after their presentations were just so powerful, with many of them choosing a particular type of cancer that they wanted to know more about because of a personal experience. Words can’t describe enough, how proud I am of their work, and how incredibly amazing my students are.”

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