"CAR T-cell therapy saved my life. I know I got the fairytale outcome – but this is possible for others too. Let's help the Malaghan Institute get this breakthrough CAR T-cell technology to other Kiwis that need it."
In January 2017, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of blood cancer. After a long and pretty public battle, including 12 rounds of chemotherapy, I ultimately was told my cancer was terminal.
However, I was lucky enough to get onto a clinical trial for a new type of cancer treatment, called CAR T-cell therapy. The treatment is highly promising and opens a new frontier in the fight against cancer. This involved me going to Boston, USA, for an expensive set of procedures. Ultimately though, it was successful and I am in complete remission.
CAR T-cell therapy can be a lifeline and I want to help bring this ground-breaking science to New Zealand. The researchers at the Malaghan Institute are preparing to trial a next generation CAR T-cell therapy and are undertaking parallel research to improve CAR T-cell therapies and extend them to other forms of cancer. The Institute is New Zealand's leader in this area and they have the expertise to take this through to long-term success.
As an advocate for the Malaghan Institute, I have committed to raise awareness and funds to help them. It means giving New Zealanders access to potentially life-saving treatment.
Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manuwanui
David's book, A Mild Touch of the Cancer, is available at mildtouch.nz. Proceeds go to the Malaghan Institute and to Leukaemia & Blood Cancer NZ. The documentary based on this book, A Mild Touch of Cancer, was released in late 2021. Directed by Annie Goldson, it follows David's journey navigating cancer and supporting others doing the same, and offers a unique view of our efforts to make CAR T-cell cancer therapy available to more New Zealanders. It is currently screening on SkyGo (free to view) and in feature length on Neon.