When researchers discovered a weed toxic to sheep showed promise against a rare genetic condition, Gorlin syndrome, a pharmaceutical company jumped to test it.
But Kaylene Sheran, despite suffering from endless surgeries to remove basal cell carcinomas, took a stand. She wouldn’t participate without a guarantee that the resulting drug would be affordable—a promise they couldn’t deliver, as Eric Boodman describes in part 1 of a series for STAT.
In part 2, Boodman details the odd story of the toxic weed that fueled an ultimately failed race for a cancer cure.
“It was so disheartening — almost soul-destroying — that we raised the hope of people with colon, pancreatic, breast, and other cancers,” said Tom Curran of the Children’s Research Institute.
“In the grand scheme of things, Sheran’s decision was a single data point, an N of one, a quiet protest against American medicine as a whole,” Boodman writes.
Sheran’s quest for care continues.