It can be hard to distill a class of diseases as varied and destructive as blood cancers down to a single anecdote. But every once in a while, something compelling comes along that stands as a singular symbol of the amazing work Foundation Beyond Belief supports through its partnership with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
A new mini-documentary, “Fire with Fire,” tells the story of a leukemia patient named Emma. Emma has gone into remission and had her cancer return twice, all before the age of seven. Conventional treatments had all but failed, leaving doctors convinced that her cancer was terminal.
However, an experimental cure saved her life. The New York Timesexplains:
“To perform the treatment, doctors remove millions of the patient’s T-cells—a type of white blood cell—and insert new genes that enable the T-cells to kill cancer cells. The technique employs a disabled form of HIV because it is very good at carrying genetic material into T-cells. The new genes program the T-cells to attack B-cells, a normal part of the immune system that turn malignant in leukemia.”
Simply put, doctors used the power of HIV cells to affect a body’s immune system to target and destroy cancerous cells. Thanks to the inventiveness of scientific researchers with funding from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and other sources, patients like Emma at a high risk for mortality have another option for treatment.
Please take three minutes out of your day to watch Emma’s story, then learn how to get involved in the humanist community’s efforts to support scientific advances and patient care to help cancer victims like Emma live longer, healthier lives.