Savva is a 26-year old doctor from Russia. He grew up dreaming of saving people's lives and after graduating from high school he enrolled into a medical college in Siberia. Unfortunately, in the summer following his 3rd year in college, Savva was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. It was difficult to treat, and he ended up going through multiple chemotherapy cycles and radiation treatment only to achieve short-lasting remissions.
Savva does not have a matching bone marrow transplant donor, so the only chance for him to overcome lymphoma is to try recently developed CAR T-cell therapy. This therapy is a type of treatment in which a patient's T cells (a type of immune system cell) are changed in the laboratory so they will attack cancer cells. A majority of Hodgkin's lymphoma patients respond, with many experiencing complete disappearance of cancer cells. This therapy is well tolerated, as unlike bone marrow transplants from a donor, this treatment uses the patient's own cells, so there is no danger of the body rejecting the cells.
This year, we have supported only one patient from Russia who needed a bone marrow from a foreign donor. We have not had any recent requests from Russian patients, likely due to effect of border closures and sanctions imposed by EU governments. Deliveries of bone marrow material from abroad have to occur within a very short timeframe - generally, within 72 hours. Delays at the border and inability to extend visas would complicate decisions about using foreign donors.
For now, we will use the funds raised through this project to support cancer patients in other ways - whether they need to travel to Spain for CAR T-cell treatment, like Savva, or lack medications, or require help with lodging while they are treated in foreign countries. We will continue to support cancer patients from all countries in the former Soviet Union, as has been our mission for the last 10 years. Thank you so much for your support of our project!