Just four days later, Paul lost Briggs to complications brought on in what was meant to be a short emergency hospital stay.
After losing Briggs, Paul set up an extension of the petition on Change.org, the Petition for Briggs for Cancer Immunotherapy for All.
It has now been signed by 25 stars of film, media, and tennis, including Bradley Cooper, Scarlett Johansson, Naomi Watts, Penelope Cruz, Rob Lowe, Meredith Vieira, Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, documentarian Ken Burns and EmpowHER founder Michelle King Robson. Six eminent professors of oncology have also added their names to the call.
EmpowHer had an opportunity to interview Paul Sanderson. Paul is an Australian-American author, playwright, screenwriter, director and actor. He recently returned to Australia to work on a project.
Why do you think more immunotherapies to treat cancer are not as heavily researched as chemotherapy drugs are?
There's been an active resistance to immunotherapy in the medical profession and the cancer industry. It dates back to the 1890s, when the first immunotherapeutic vaccine was used to cure hundreds of terminal sarcoma patients at the hospitals that would become New York-Presbyterian and Memorial Sloan-Kettering.
I wrote about it, and the misinformation still being perpetuated, in an article published by the Medical Journal of Australia's MJA InSight.
The drugs that have been given priority for so long, extending patients' lives in terms of months, have also been making billions of dollars, while the drugs to manage the side effects of those drugs and chemotherapy have been making billions more.
Immunotherapy has slowly been becoming an irresistible force, but it's been to the major drug companies' advantage to leave that development to the universities and smaller drug and biotech companies.