PETITION FOR BRIGGS FOR CANCER IMMUNOTHERAPY FOR ALL - A New Era
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Thanks for coming here in Briggs's memory. I tried for a year to get access to the immunotherapy that could have saved her. Four days after I heard we had a chance, she died of complications brought on in what was meant to be a short hospital stay. It should never have been so close, and no-one should ever go through all Briggs suffered.
Medical errors are the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S., after cancer and heart disease. With cancer patients among the most vulnerable, the tragedy of this new era not being prioritized by governments is that it can significantly reduce hospital admissions and medical errors while ultimately eliminating chemotherapy, radiation, and most cancer surgeries.
Cancer disguises itself. Immunotherapy alerts the immune system to it or does such things as block the disguise. The one I pursued for Briggs had brought complete remissions in stage IV patients in its very first trial but it's not in development for colorectal cancer at a time when millennials and Gen X-ers' rates have shot up, attributed to environmental factors. One recent estimate is that anyone born after 1990 has double the risk.
A professor on this petition led research on an immunotherapy that put President Jimmy Carter's stage IV melanoma into remission at the end of 2016. That was despite it having already spread to his liver and brain. The rate of melanoma in the U.S. has doubled since the 1970s. In the UK it's 5 times as much and yet that immunotherapy is only available there on a limited basis.
A contact of mine, the Chair of Neurosurgery at University of California, Los Angeles, has used immunotherapy in the late Senator John McCain's type of long-incurable brain cancer since 2003. One of her first patients was a water-polo coach. At 33, his wife was pregnant with their second child when he was given two months to live. Fifteen years later, he still sends Professor Liau flowers (and a new MRI) every year.
In 2012, at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, a 6-year-old girl's acute leukemia was considered terminal. Three weeks after she was treated with immunotherapy, her tests showed no sign of cancer. 60 Minutes later ran a story on it. She's still cancer-free, and yet it took six long years for that treatment to be developed enough for the FDA to approve its first trial.
Immunotherapy's also now saved a 49-year-old woman with terminal breast cancer, a world first. And in October, 2018 another professor on this petition, Dr. James Allison, won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work in immunotherapy. If you'd like to read more, including about Briggs's and my story, this is an article I wrote after the midterm elections on the politics and business of cancer: A New Beacon of Light Ahead of 2020.
Amazon's Jeff Bezos and his family have donated $55 million to Seattle's Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center for the development of immunotherapies. Bill and Melinda Gates have invested in a company focused on them. Former NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg has given $50 million to Johns Hopkins for an immunotherapy centre. But for this new era to truly begin now instead of in decades, tens of billions are needed both from Congress and globally. It doesn't seem a big ask when the U.S. defense budget is over $700 billion, 610,000 Americans died of cancer in 2018, and there were a record 1,735,000 new diagnoses. Globally, 25,000 children, women, and men a day are now dying.
In comparison to that $700 billion, the National Cancer Institute's budget is $6 billion. Please join us in calling for Congress and governments worldwide to begin allocating those tens of billions to specifically reorient the primary direction of research, development, and treatment to the safest, most potentially effective immunotherapies in every cancer. Not trials for trials' sake, which has too often been the case in the past with chemo, radiation, and more. An overabundance of unwarranted trials only leads to lack of oversight and harm.
(If you've read Briggs: Love, Cancer, and the Medical Profession, comments to build awareness would helpfully reach more people as a book review on the Amazon kindle/paperback page: www.Amazon.com/BRIGGS. Only the latest show below.)
Heartfelt thanks for signing in Briggs's memory, to begin changing this for others as she so wanted, and for anyone you know with cancer; I hope not a close loved one or you yourself. A touchstone that came from Briggs is, "No matter what age you are, you're too young to die from cancer."
Join Rod Laver, Chris Evert, Rafael Nadal & 10 squash greats including Nick Matthew OBE in the Volleying Challenge for Briggs's Petition
A sister petition to this one addresses Medical Errors. Briggs is one of millions who've died from their treatment, not their cancer: Petition for Briggs for a New Era in Medical Care
I've also begun a petition to put Briggs's beautiful, smiling face on the cover of TIME Magazine to begin this new era. 40,000 people have signed so far: Put Briggs on the Cover of TIME.
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