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Mar 11, 2022

'This med student was given his last rites before he found a treatment that saved his life. His method could help millions more.'

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 times. 
 
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 chemotherapy. 
 
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 his.
 
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. 
 
Dr. David Fajgenbaum -
 
Twitter: @DavidFajgenbaum
Chasing My Cure: https://chasingmycure.com