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RNZ: Poet Michele Leggott - waiting for a miracle

8 April 2023

RNZ's Kim Hill speaks to a participant in our CAR T-cell clinical trial, poet Michele Leggott.

Michele Leggott's latest book of poetry, Face to the Sky, explores her encounter with 19th-century New Zealand botanical artist Emily Cumming Harris.

But there's more to this story - Michele was battling non-Hodgkin's lymphoma while working on the book.

In early 2020, Michele received her diagnosis, just as the Covid-19 lockdowns began. Chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and a stem cell transplant in 2021 failed to cure her cancer. Finally, in early 2022, Michele was able to participate in a CAR T-cell therapy trial at the Malaghan Institute in Wellington.

"This is the future ... The Malaghan trial, the goal of that is to get publicly funded CAR T in this country so that you don't have to be on a trial to get it. If that can happen, it'll bring down hospital costs, you'll save lives."