Thanks for coming here in Briggs's memory. I tried for a year to get access to the immunotherapy she needed. Just four days after I heard we finally had a chance, I lost her to complications brought on in what was meant to be a short emergency hospital stay.
It should never have been that close. And no-one should ever have to go through all Briggs did. Cancer disguises itself. Immunotherapy either alerts the immune system to it or does such things as block the disguise. The immunotherapeutic vaccine I'd been pursuing for Briggs had brought complete remissions in stage IV colorectal cancer.
Immunotherapy's a potential cure in all other solid-tumor cancers such as breast, lung, brain, and pancreatic. A new immunotherapy bringing complete remissions in advanced melanoma was approved by the FDA at the end of 2014. Immunotherapy's also worked in acute leukemia. In 2012, all other treatment had failed with a 6-year-old girl at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Her condition was considered terminal, but a test after 3 weeks showed no cancer. 60 Minutes later ran a story on it.
The concerned stars of film, media, and music who've generously signed this petition include (in alphabetical order): Emily Blunt, Ken Burns, Nick Carter, Bradley Cooper, Penelope Cruz, Katherine Heigl, Henry Jaglom, Scarlett Johansson, Rob Lowe, Josh Lucas, Elle Macpherson, Debra Messing, Ryan O'Neal, Denise Richards, Mickey Rourke, Steve Tyrell, Meredith Vieira, Naomi Watts and Jess Weixler.
Notable signatories from the medical world include Professor James P. Allison, Chair of Immunology at MD Anderson/leader of Stand Up to Cancer's dream team in immunology, fellow leader Professor Antoni Ribas at UCLA, co-leader Professor Cassian Yee; and in Australia, Professors Dale Godfrey, Phil Darcy, and Fabienne Mackay, Chair of Immunology at Monash University.
Briggs and I shared a love of tennis. In her memory, the petition's also been signed by tennis greats Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Evonne Goolagong-Cawley, Andy Roddick, Bob and Mike Bryan, and Ana Ivanovic.
If you might want to read more about Briggs, the long history of immunotherapy, and the current state of cancer, this article of mine was featured on the Huffington Post: 30 Stars and Doctors Sign the 'Petition for Briggs for Cancer Immunotherapy for All'.
Please join 30 stars and doctors and me in calling for the cancer industry, cancer organizations, and governments to reorient the primary direction of research, treatment, and funding to all safe, potentially curative immunotherapies in every cancer, as well as notably to immunotherapeutic vaccines. And in conjunction with that, to make information on immunotherapy routinely and widely available to patients and caregivers.
(If you've read Briggs: Love, Cancer, and the Medical Profession, positive comments for building awareness of the petition would helpfully reach more people as a book review on the Amazon kindle/paperback page: www.Amazon.com/BRIGGS. Only the latest comments on the petition 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.
I've begun a related petition to put Briggs's beautiful, smiling face on the cover of TIME Magazine to begin this new era. 35,000 people have signed so far: Put Briggs's Beautiful, Smiling Face on the Cover of TIME Magazine to Begin a New Era in Cancer.