Story by Hayden Smith, featured in The Weekend Australian, 5 June 2021

Battling blood cancer in my 20s, I put my faith in a clinical trial for a promising new treatment. 

The doctor spoke earnestly, but all I could muster in response were vacant nods and a virtual thousand-yard stare. He outlined some treatment options. I could try radiation, but he warned this may be risky because of the lump’s proximity to the heart and lungs. “Another option is to join a clinical trial,” he said, “and try to access something called CAR-T therapy.”

He then explained, in simple terms, how a new treatment was making waves in the world of blood cancer. It involved removing T cells – a type of white blood cell central to the immune system – from the blood and modifying them in a lab so that, once returned to the patient, they were “retrained” to recognise and destroy cancerous cells. It was New Age Blood Cancer Treatment for Dummies, but this much I could follow. I was at once terrified and intrigued, partly because I didn’t like the sound of radiation-induced organ damage in my late 20s. I let his words sink in for a few seconds, then said: “OK, but does it actually work?”

Read the full story here: New Cancer Therapy Brings Hope