For the Media
Trevor Biggs is an early CAR T-cell clinical trial participant. If you would like the high-res/media-friendly (without Fred Hutch graphics and music) version of this video, please email email@example.com.
In the summer of 2007 Trevor Biggs was 26 years old, he had just purchased his first house and was working for a major orthopedic surgical company in Seattle. That same summer he had a blood test and the results came back as a shock: stage 4 follicular non-Hodgkin lymphoma. 28. The doctor told him the cancer was incurable and that he had, at most, seven to 12 years to live.
“These are devastating years to get sick. When you’re constantly taking breaks for treatment, it makes building a career and a life very difficult,” he said.
After researching major cancer centers, he decided that the best comprehensive care would be at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Fred Hutch’s treatment arm, under the care of Dr. David Maloney, a clinical researcher at Fred Hutch. Six rounds of chemotherapy over five months put Biggs into remission.
A few weeks after being declared cancer-free, he packed up his house and two English bulldogs, Winston and Georgia, rented a U-Haul and moved south to Arizona to start a new career with a company that develops technology for early cancer detection. He began dating and enjoying the things he loved: hiking, biking, wine tasting, walking his dogs.
However, 13 months after entering remission, doctors found a tumor in his neck. That is when Biggs, then 29, was accepted into an early Fred Hutch CAR-T-cell immunotherapy trial. He received the T-cell therapy on April 22, 2010 – he documented the day by having his photo taken next to a sign that read: “Today I start my new life!!”
“I expected to die but I saw this as the chance to do something good for science. There had been some success in mice but we didn’t know how that would translate in a human trial,” Trevor said.
Biggs has been in remission ever since. “Things are going well, but the long-term results will only be evident over time,” he said.
Today Biggs, 34, lives in Phoenix, Arizona. He and his wife, Sarah, have two children: Ashton, 2, and Carter, 1.
At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home to three Nobel laureates, interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists seek new and innovative ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. Fred Hutch’s pioneering work in bone marrow transplantation led to the development of immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of the immune system to treat cancer. An independent, nonprofit research institute based in Seattle, Fred Hutch houses the nation’s first National Cancer Institute-funded cancer prevention research program, as well as the clinical coordinating center of the Women’s Health Initiative and the international headquarters of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network.