1.24 million. That’s the number of blood cancer cases that occur annually around the world accounting to 6% of all cancer cases. 720,000. That’s the number of people that die from blood cancer every year which is more than 7% of all cancer cases. There have been ground-breaking results to treat blood cancer and these revolutionary new treatments are powering our efforts to attack cancer from every angle.
Weapon Against Cancer
Leah Sibener and Marvin Gee, both 26 at the time, were working in the laboratory of Stanford biologist Dr. K. Christopher Garcia when they developed the foundation to fight cancer by using new ways to teach a type of white blood cell called a T-cell to attack cancer cells without affecting normal tissue. This led to, 3T Biosciences, a company that was founded by Leah Sibener, Marvin Gee, and venture capitalist Luke Lee. What Sibener and Gee created was a method for using machine learning to identify proteins in order to teach white blood cells to target cancers that other immunotherapies cannot. The entire cofounding team was recognized as one of Forbes 30 under 30 in healthcare (Forbes).
“For us, success is helping people,” Sibener says.
Marvin Gee’s Journey
Marvin Gee had the good fortune to get a head start on his research career while still in high school, due to his work at the National Cancer Institute. Because of the death of his uncle, who battled cancer, he had a personal interest in the disease. His early exposure to bioscience research taught him that biology is similar to a complicated puzzle. It all fits together eventually and makes complete sense. (Amgen Scholars Program).
When describing about the research process in graduate school, Gee said:
“The most difficult thing is that you’re in a program where the goal is to discover something new. At the core, that is not an easy thing. It’s incredibly difficult. You run into a lot of problems where you don’t what you’re supposed to be doing and might not have right answer.”
But if you persevere, you might just be able to solve the puzzle one piece at a time.
In this year’s Blood Cancer Awareness Month, let us take the time to advocate and raise awareness to reach as many people as possible. Learn more here to read about stories from people who have lived with blood cancer around the world.
AMGEN. (2018). Amgen Scholars Program. Retrieved from Solving the Immunology Puzzle: A Scholar’s Journey from Caltech to Forbes 30 Under 30: https://amgenscholars.com/solving-the-immunology-puzzle-a-scholars-journey-from-caltech-to-forbes-30/
Blood-cancer. (2021). Blood-cancer. Retrieved from The Ups and Downs: Blood Cancer Awareness Month 2021: https://blood-cancer.com/spotlight/awareness-month-2021
Forbes. (2018). 3T Biosciences. Retrieved from Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/profile/3t-biosciences/?sh=5e95eaa1bb09