Cancer Research UK chairman: ‘It’s fantastic to see Perse students enthusiastic about medicine’
25 Jan 2018
Renowned medic Sir Leszek Borysiewicz gave an absorbing 42 Lecture on the future of healthcare and medical education.
The Cancer Research UK chairman was knighted in 2001 for services to vaccine research. This included his work on finding a vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV) to prevent cervical cancer, which has led to routine immunisation for girls against the disease.
Sir Leszek, who was chief executive of the Medical Research Council from 2007 to 2010, gave students an insight into how current views on medicine have developed over hundreds of years and how things would change over the next 30 years.
He explained how certain elements including vaccines, better diagnosis and screening, public health education and precision medicine had helped boost life expectancy.
However, Sir Leszek, who was Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University from 2010 to 2017, outlined how the knock-on effect was the greater requirement for care services to help an increasingly aging population.
Sir Leszek told the audience the way future medics are taught and the demands on them would alter. He felt there would be less learning by rote and fields such as surgery, pathology and radiology could at some point become the work of robots.
He suggested that in the future there would need to be a bigger focus on primary care to help medics learn how to best support patients when they need help.
A number of students spoke to Sir Leszek after the lecture with their own questions about medicine and he was thrilled with their interest.
He said: “It’s fantastic to see so many people enthusiastic and caring about where medicine and medical education will go and actually contemplating a career in this sector.
“I’m biased being a medic myself, but it’s been a brilliant career and one of the most satisfying things I’ve done. If I had my life over again I wouldn’t have changed that, so I’m delighted so many young people have a capacity to want to help others and that this still figures large in their thinking of where their own futures will lie.
“I think it’s something to do with the concept that you’re actually studying a subject that has multiple opportunities for different careers that follow on from medicine, but I hope above all it’s because there’s this direct practical opportunity to help others.”
Listen to Sir Leszek talk about his hopes as chairman of Cancer Research UK and the importance of fundraising to meet the charity’s aims.