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Utilizing Your Own Power

  • Broadcast in Health
Powerful Patient

Powerful Patient


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When Josh Sommer was a freshman at Duke University, he was diagnosed with chordoma, a rare bone cancer for which there was a 30% cure rate, no approved drugs, little research and a seven year average survival.

That was six years ago.

“Frankly, being 18 years old and having a lot to look forward to I didn’t want to accept those statistics.” So he joined the only federally-funded chordoma research lab (coincidentally also at Duke) in the country, and spent two years hunting for new drugs. But the lab didn’t have the money or materials needed to make real progress: tumor tissue, cell lines and animal models.

He dropped out of school to found the Chordoma Foundation, which to date has raised $2.5 million, funding research in 11 labs. His advice to people diagnosed with a potentially fatal disease? “You have a lot of power.”