Today, Dr. David Fajgenbaum is my guest, but he should not be
here. Known by his friends as 'the beast' - he went from being a
fit young man, champion weightlifter and college quarterback – to
fighting a rare disease that nearly killed him…five
David Fajgenbaum was a gifted medical student, a degree he was
pursuing to honour the early death of his Mom to brain
cancer. During his third year, David began to experience the
symptoms of a rare idiopathic multicentric Castleman disease, from
which there is no cure. Blood work confirmed the worst. His
liver, kidneys, bone marrow, heart and lungs were shutting
down. The only treatment to delay death is a carpet-bombing of
Over the next few years,
David found himself back in hospital on several occasions and
fighting to stay alive. He knew chemotherapy wasn't the answer as
you can only 'nuke' so much before it causes irreversible organ
damage. So David took it upon himself to chase his cure. He knew
that most rare diseases didn't have an FDA-approved drug, but he
wondered if a drug approved for another disease could combat
After countless trials, and the collaboration of researchers
worldwide, David Fajgenbaum tested a drug on himself called
Sirolimus. A drug sitting in every pharmacy he had ever walked past
during the first 3 1/2 years of his illness. The drug worked.
Today, eight years later, David Fajgenbaum is a groundbreaking
physician-scientist, disease hunter, speaker, and author of the
national bestselling memoir, Chasing My Cure. He is married to his
childhood sweetheart, Caitlyn, and they have two lovely children.
His methodology of repurposing existing drugs to help others
suffering from rare diseases might help millions more.
Flora Do, VP of RBC Healthcare, joins the show to talk about
how RBC is supporting healthcare workers across Canada.