cover image Chasing My Cure: A Doctor’s Race to Turn Hope into Action

Chasing My Cure: A Doctor’s Race to Turn Hope into Action

David Fajgenbaum. Ballantine, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-1-5247-9961-8

Fajgenbaum, a fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, chronicles a mysterious disease previously neglected by the medical community in this remarkable memoir. When Fajgenbaum, the son of an orthopedic surgeon father, entered the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, he still believed strongly in the power of medicine “to find answers and cures,” despite the recent death of his mother from brain cancer. However, during his medical studies, he began feeling fatigued, and was eventually diagnosed with Castleman Disease, a rare malady that attacks the vital organs. Fajgenbaum writes lucidly and movingly as both a patient and physician. He was placed on a regimen of one of the only drugs available for the disease, but became bereft when he suffered a relapse; he then vividly recalls his decision—along with a team of cutting-edge researchers—to infuse himself with the experimental drug siltuximab, which had not yet been approved by the FDA. Five years later, he now serves as an advocate for research into a disease that affects 6,000 people a year. Fajgenbaum’s stirring account of his illness will inspire readers. (Sept.)