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A Woman of Wonder Commits to Cancer Research

Sept. 8, 2022 – When Lynda Carter talks about her late husband, Robert Altman, you’ll be able to sense instantly that this was a love affair for the ages.

“As I’ve often said, if you were a friend of Robert’s, you were one of the luckiest people in the world,” says Carter, the singer-songwriter and actor finest recognized for her function as Wonder Woman within the Seventies TV collection, who married Altman, an lawyer, in 1984.

For Carter, Altman, and their youngsters, Jessica and James, every part modified in 2017, when Altman was recognized with myelofibrosis, a uncommon bone marrow dysfunction – about one case is reported per 100,000 Americans annually – that was discovered throughout routine bloodwork.

“Robert was never sick a day in his life,” she says in an interview. “He skied and swam, and in many ways we were in the prime of our lives together. When he was initially diagnosed, we weren’t even clear what he had. The buzzword was that he had a rare blood disorder, not cancer.”

The household was instructed to attend and see if the illness would worsen, which it did, sadly, on the precise time COVID-19 hit.

This situation can progress from myelofibrosis to secondary acute myeloid leukemia (sAML), a uncommon blood most cancers, says Michael Caligiuri, MD, a number one researcher in immunology, lymphoma, and leukemia and president of City of Hope National Medical Center, one of many largest most cancers analysis and therapy organizations within the U.S.

“This disease is chronic and slow-changing, but when it progresses more acutely to a form of leukemia, it can advance rapidly,” he says.

At the acute phase, there’s not a lot that may be finished for the affected person.

“This becomes very much a life-and-death situation,” he says. “You want to hope for the best, but there needs to be an expectation of the worst in terms of trying to prepare the patient and the family for what may come so that they can start to psychologically and legally put the person’s life in order.”

Despite each effort, Altman died in February 2021 on the age of 73.

Now, to honor her husband, Carter is gifting her time and sources to create the Robert & Lynda Carter Altman Family Foundation Research Fund, working with the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), a number one biomedical analysis institute, which is a part of City of Hope.

The objective: To velocity up essential analysis that can enhance early detection and survival for this hard-to-treat blood most cancers.

“I’m excited to be a part of this team and to know that I may play a small part in helping other families facing this same diagnosis,” Carter says. “It’s thrilling seeing the progress these scientists are making, from genomic research into a universe of trillions of codes that might actually become a drug therapy someday.”

With the creation of the muse, there will likely be funding to develop higher diagnostics and higher remedies.

“In many instances, this research will shed light on other related disorders, too,” says Caligiuri. “Cancer is a disease of the genes, and in most cases, we’re not inheriting from our mothers or fathers, but the DNA gets switched around in one of the trillion cells in our body, the way a word is misspelled.”

What occurs subsequent is that the cell doesn’t die.

“Instead, it undergoes a nuclear reaction and grows and grows,” he says. “In this case, the first evidence of a problem was myelofibrosis. That ticking time bomb continued until it exploded into leukemia.”

Caligiuri says the objective of their analysis will likely be to develop a tool that may rearrange that DNA or block the DNA adjustments so the illness doesn’t progress to leukemia or, if it does, so “that we can turn it into a chronic condition, not an acute one that’s life-threatening.”

For Carter, this basis is one very heartfelt means she will honor her husband’s legacy.

“When I lost Robert, I was left with so many questions,” she says. “I wanted to understand why rare cancers are so difficult to treat and what research or treatment advances were being made to change that. Robert was never one for self-aggrandizement, but I think he would like this. I think Robert would really be touched by this.”

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