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 former president Jimmy Carter's stage IV melanoma into remission in 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. It's 5 times as much in the UK and yet that immunotherapy's only available there on a limited basis.
A contact of mine, the Chair of Neurosurgery at University of California, L.A., has used immunotherapy in the late Senator John McCain's brain cancer since 2003. One of her first patients was a 33-year-old swimming coach. His wife was pregnant with their second child when he was given two months to live. He still sends Professor Liau flowers (and a new MRI) every year.
In 2012 a 6-year-old girl's leukemia was considered terminal at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. 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.
For this new era to truly begin now instead of in decades, tens of billions are needed. The U.S. defense budget is over $700 billion. The National Cancer Institute's is $6 billion. 610,000 Americans died of cancer in 2018, with a record 1,735,000 new diagnoses. Globally 26,000 children, women, and men a day are dying. Join us in calling for Congress and governments worldwide to begin allocating those tens of billions to fund research and development of the safest, most potentially effective immunotherapies in every cancer.
Heartfelt thanks for signing to change this for others as Briggs so wanted. A touchstone that came from her is, "No matter what age you are, you're too young to die from cancer."
(If you'd like to read more, including about Briggs's and my story, this is an article of mine on the politics of cancer: A New Beacon of Light Ahead of 2020. If you've read Briggs: Love, Cancer, and the Medical Profession, comments to build awareness would helpfully reach more people on the Amazon kindle/paperback page: www.Amazon.com/BRIGGS. Only the latest show below.)
Join legends including Rafael Nadal, Chris Evert, and Rod Laver 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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