Frank den Oudsten
Hi! My name is Frank den Oudsten, I joined Kite in November 2018 as one of the first Cell Therapy Specialists (CTSs) in Amsterdam. Read more about my working experience at Kite below.
What motivates you in your daily work at Kite?
For me personally, working at Kite is the true definition of making the world a better place. As a CTS , I contribute daily to society by reengineering a patient’s T cells. These are patients who feel they have run out of options and are hoping for a “miracle” to happen. At Kite we strive to give them that hope, and this really motivates me to get up early in the morning so that I can come to work and do my job to the highest possible standard. On top of that, what I like about working as a CTS is that I’m responsible for the whole process from A to Z (from isolating the T cells, re-engineering , to , growing of the them) instead of working on only one step of the process. This makes me an expert on the process and a sparring partner for other departments such as Site Manufacturing Technology, Quality Control and Process Development. Finally, as our manufacturing site is currently being built from scratch, we are lucky to be working in a state-of-the-art site with the latest high tech equipment.
What is your biggest challenge at work?
My biggest challenge is also my biggest motivation. Working with a patient’s T cells brings you closer to the patient as I am literally holding the patient’s life in my hands every day. You can imagine that working with a patient’s cells requires a high level of responsibility and accountability with strict guidelines and procedures. Everything we do is aligned with GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) guidelines, which means we log every individual activity in batch records and we follow procedures that are written in SOP’s (Standard Operator Procedures). The environment we work in is called a clean room (classification A – D). Within this clean room we behave and adhere to strict GMP guidelines and we wear full gowning to protect the patient material from contamination from skin exposure. Working in a clean room classified as A and B was completely new to me, as I used to work as a Research Technician at the Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research (CNCR) at the Vrije Universiteit for 7 years.
What specifically do you like about Kite as an employer?
I’m very happy and grateful that Kite gave me the opportunity to transition from working on fundamental research in neuroscience to a GMP environment, which was a huge step for me. I was provided with all the needed trainings to successfully make this transition. I know now I can perform the potential life changing Cell Therapy process according to GMP and give hope back to patients.
What I really value at Kite is the culture. We are one rapidly growing Kite family. We are all focused on the cure, a common goal that brings us together. The work we do is new, everyone is eager to learn and very driven to reach our goal together.
When I look at my team specifically, we are a very tight and diverse group with over 8 different nationalities. We work hard, but we also make time for fun after work. We have a WhatsApp group chat for all Manufacturing employees, from Cleaner to Team Lead. In this group, chat initiatives are shared weekly, e.g. lately we organized Taco Tuesday.
Kite is at the forefront of cancer immunotherapy. We are a leader in engineered T cell therapy, changing the paradigm of cancer treatment. Join us and become a Cell Therapy Specialist like me.
– Frank den Oudsten, CTS since November 2018
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