How CAR T cancer treatment saved Laurie Adami’s life
An American woman who owes her life to a bespoke cancer treatment is speaking out to raise awareness of the procedure, CAR T cell therapy.
Laurie Adami was diagnosed in 2006 at 46 with advanced, incurable blood cancer – stage IV follicular non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
“My prognosis was not good,” recounts Adami, who had a six-year-old son at the time.
She underwent six different treatments over the next 12 years.
“I was in treatment nonstop. I never had a break,” says Adami, who had to give up her job as chief executive of a software company.
She was part of multiple clinical trials and underwent multiple rounds of chemotherapy, but none fully eliminated the tumors.
In 2012, she heard of immunotherapy known as CAR T – chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy. White blood cells are taken from a cancer patient’s body, engineered to target cancer cells and then re-infused into their system.
Adami said she thought, “Oh my god, I just have to stay alive long enough until I can get that.”
She got her chance in 2018, as one of the first patients in a phase 2 clinical trial of a treatment by Kite Pharma run out of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
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