09 March 2015

Sir William Castell gives Sackville Lecture

Sir William Castell LVO, Chairman of Wellcome Trust, delivers fascinating lecture on New Paradigms in Medicine.

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On Tuesday 3 March Sir William Castell LVO, Chairman of Wellcome Trust, came to Sevenoaks to give a lecture entitled ‘New Paradigms in Medicine’. As soon as we met him, he amiably asked us to call him Bill and engaged us in conversation about the medical sciences and the work in which the Wellcome Trust has invested. Having qualified as an accountant after a BA at St Dunstan’s College and Cass Business School, Sir William went on to become Senior Independent Director of BP and Director of General Electric. As Chairman of the Wellcome Trust, he highlighted his fascination with medical science; he believed that regardless of whether or not we wanted to pursue a career in medicine and research, it would ultimately have an impact on everyone. The Wellcome Trust provides over £700 million a year to bright young minds researching into Science, Humanities and Social science with an emphasis on medical research. They have been involved in funding successful research projects such as the Cancer Genome Project in 2002. At the beginning of his lecture, Sir William drew attention to all the significant achievements in medicine in the past fifty years and how the rate of discovery has been so huge. He began by talking about George Washington’s death in 1799 due to the false belief that drawing blood out of the body would cure his fever. This emphasised the huge medical advancements that have happened since this time and that are continuing to happen as the medical community faces new challenges such as anti-bacterial resistance and disease mutation. He highlighted the importance of new research into the area of gene therapy as genetics are found to be the cause of so many medical problems, while also integrating health care with technology and focussing more on precision medicine, specific doses and care based on the individual. Overall, Sir William’s talk was extremely fascinating as it gave an insight into the directions in which research is moving with new innovative treatments arising, while also highlighting the medical discoveries that have such an importance that we take for granted today. Meghna Nair  

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