The life of a runner, mother, radiopharmacist and vicar's wife – that's me!

Antibodies in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is probably famous for many things but, when I think about Amsterdam the things that spring to mind are: 

  • the canals, 
  • the Red Light District and 
  • cakes cooked with cannabis. 

In fact, to be honest, I’m not that interested in any of those things (although the canals are nice). What I am interested in is making antibodies radioactive, and that’s why I’m here.

I’ve come on a course to learn how to label antibodies with the PET tracer, Zr-89 run by an expert in the field. It’s three days of messing about with hot antibodies – what could be more fun?!

I decided not to bring my running stuff with me, not simply because I didn’t have room in my bag but because I thought that a few days rest from running would do me good. As a result I now have a cold and actually feel the worst than I’ve felt in weeks – typical.

I’ve been to Amsterdam before (not counting passing through the airport in transit) but it was about 30 years ago. We were playing hockey in The Hague on a tournament with the school and we came to Amsterdam for a day trip.

I don’t remember much about either the hockey tournament or Amsterdam except that the Dutch girls were about twice the size of our biggest player, we lost every match and some members of the team got very drunk in Amsterdam and we had to try to hide that fact from the teachers!

This current experience has been a bit more memorable. The antibody labelling has been interesting but I guess that isn’t normally on the tourist trail. I haven’t really had chance to see any of the tourist sights as most are closed in the evenings. I have walked a long way through the city and though.

The city is strangely quiet with narrow streets and few cars. The real way to get around is by bicycle. I don’t have a bike and the city unfortunately doesn’t have a bike hire scheme like London or Hamburg. It’s quite pleasant walking through the city centre early in the morning though – even in January. 

There are loads of interesting shops, coffee bars and restaurants. Some parts remind me of bits of London around Piccadilly where there are little art galleries. It wasn’t really what I was expecting from a capital city – it’s a lot nicer than that. 

I also haven’t accidentally strayed into the Red Light District (I’m pretty sure we did 30 years ago!) and, to my knowledge I haven’t eaten any cannabis laced cake but I have walked along the banks of the canals (actually it would be impossible to avoid doing that).

I’ve also learnt how to make antibodies radioactive so hopefully I will get a chance to put what I’ve learnt into practice back home. The idea is to use the radioactive antibodies to diagnose different types of cancer, in particular lung cancer, so I really hope we can get some studies going.

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This entry was posted on January 26, 2016 by and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .
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