I’ve heard his story before; if you haven’t, it’s truly compelling and awe inspiring. After facing death multiple times as a med student, he used science and his expertise to discover a treatment for his own rare cancer. The treatment wasn’t a new drug, but a novel new treatment for an existing drug, one that he has said was sitting right there in his pharmacy, blocks from his house, for all those years he was facing death.
Still only 35, he’s now turning that same methodology to searching for repurposed drugs to provide effective new treatments for COVID19.
Castleman disease nearly killed Fajgenbaum five times in his 20s while he was working his way through University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine and then earning an MBA at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
Each time, the deadly disease triggered cytokine storms that led to multiple organ failure.
But the young man created a global organization to rally doctors, scientists and patients toward finding a cure. With intense study and brilliant partners, he zeroed in on an already available immunosupressant that could be repurposed to save his life.
To hear details of his personal story, here’s a great radio interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air (48 minutes, but pretty fascinating):