In a special edition of The Oncology Podcast, medical oncologist Professor Eva Segelov chats with Assistant Professor David Fajgenbaum, author of the bestselling memoir Chasing My Cure: A Doctor’s Race to Turn Hope Into Action.
David is a truly groundbreaking physician-scientist, disease hunter, speaker and author. In this special full length interview he speaks candidly to Eva about his experiences as a patient, advocate and researcher, trying to improve outcomes for himself and other patients with Castleman disease.
David’s is a fascinating story of a fit young man who went from being a champion weight lifter and college quarterback to being read his last rites. During his third year of medical school when David was training to be an oncologist, he found himself thrust into what he describes as a diagnostic odyssey, eventually discovering that he has idiopathic multicentric Castleman disease (IMCD), a rare disease that has nearly killed him 5 times.
This experience inspired David to change the way research is conducted in rare diseases. To try to save his own life, he spearheaded an innovative approach through the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network and discovered a treatment that has put him into a 6 and half year long remission.
David’s inspiring attitude to create change across the research paradigm may help accelerate innovations across many specialties. This is an interview that will be of interest to anyone, not just those in oncology.
Eva Segelov is a Medical Oncologist and Director of Oncology at Monash University and Monash Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Eva has an interest in academic clinical trials in GI and breast cancer and has been a member of the AGITG since 2003. She has clinical trials expertise, links with national and international trials groups, and extensive experience with adult medical education.
David Fajgenbaum is Assistant Professor of Medicine and Associate Director of the Orphan Disease Center at the University of Pennsylvania, USA.
With thanks to Eva Segelov, David Fajgenbaum and Graham Knowles.