About the solution
David Fajgenbaum was a medical student when he fell ill. After being wrongly diagnosed with lymphoma, the doctors finally diagnosed him with ‘Idiopathic Multicentric Castleman disease’, a rare, potentially fatal lymphoproliferative disease, which provokes an overgrowth of cells in the body's lymph nodes.
‘They told me my kidneys, liver, and bone marrow were shutting down. My immune system was attacking my vital organs.’, he explained.
Chemotherapy was effective to some degree, but eventually David had more relapses. So, after several near death-events, without a cure and only limited treatments available, David decided to try to create a solution for his problem.
“There were no promising leads, no drugs in development, and very little research being done,” David said.
After obsessive research, David finally found an FDA-approved drug in the literature that he thought might help him. Sirolimus is used to prevent organ rejection in receptors of kidney transplants. Since the drug suppresses the immune system, he wondered if it could help him fight his disease.
‘Certain signals in my samples … made me think this drug that suppresses the immune system, so it doesn’t attack and reject the kidney, would work’, David explained.
After his doctors agreed to try the drug on him, David became his own test subject in February 2014. He has not relapsed ever since and is currently doing clinical trials to see if the drug might also be used on others.
‘I feel great,’ he says. ‘I’m back to my old self.’, David said.
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