David nearly died five times battling Castleman disease, while working toward his joint M.D. and MBA at Penn. During this time, he proceeded to build an international research network and discovered a drug that is saving his life, recently chronicled in his book “Chasing My Cure: A Doctor’s Race to Turn Hope Into Action.” Dr. Fajgenbaum’s lab studies cytokine storms, which occur when the immune system goes into overdrive and attacks vital organs when fighting COVID-19 or other diseases, like Castleman.
When this pandemic emerged, David decided to redirect his Castleman disease research toward COVID-19 and assembled a team of 30 scientists and volunteers from the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network to identify drugs that could be repurposed to treat COVID-19. The team reviewed over 2,500 papers in 10 days to identify 115 drugs being repurposed for COVID-19 and leveraged its expertise in cytokine storms to help advance some of the most promising candidates. Those results were published in the medical journal, “Infectious Diseases and Therapy.”
The team has now reviewed over 7,000 papers to identify over 150 drugs. This data is freely available for physicians, researchers and patients and is kept up to date at the network’s Coronavirus site. Check out the video of David working with his team at https://cdcn.org/corona/#story-video-1