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La Verne Abe Harris, PhD

La Verne Abe Harris, PhD

Patient Advocate

In the summer of 2009, Dr. La Verne Abe Harris, an Associate Professor at Purdue University, was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL/SLL). Because of her poor prognosis of 17p deletion, she was told that she had two to three years to live.  She was also told that she was chemo-resistant. And she had less than a 1 percent chance of finding a bone marrow donor, since she is half-Japanese and half-German. A clinical trial was her only option. At that time, the clinical trials that she qualified for were rare. She was a proactive patient and researched all the academic papers from the oncology conferences, self-educating herself on the medical possibilities. Finally, three years after diagnosis she found a clinical trial at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland with an experimental drug (ibrutinib). The best she expected was to get was a partial remission. But she surprised everyone on the medical team when at 30 months she was in clinical complete remission. No one knows how long the remission will last, but she is not wasting any time. And she is living her life with gratitude and love.

Programs Featuring La Verne Abe Harris, PhD (1)