BEAUMONT - A battle with cancer inspires one Lamar University student to find a cure for the disease.
At 11-years-old, Cade Johnson was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow that affects white blood cells.
A decade later, he's headed back to the same hospital he was treated, this time looking to find a cure for what could have taken his life.
“Talking about the cure for cancer is common, people talk about it a lot but it’s actually more complex” says Johnson.
His personal struggle with cancer and the support from the Texas Children’s Hospital inspired him to join research efforts for cancer treatment.
Dr. Ashwani Kucknoor, Associate Professor in Microbiology at Lamar University says Johnson has an inquisitive nature, that's why he can succeed in research.
“That personal attach to it [cancer] and wanting to know what caused his type of cancer, if you ask him he'll tell you he wants to see how he can cure it for other people.” says Dr. Kucknoor.
All summer, Johnson tested inhibitor drugs on cells to prevent cancer cells from duplicating.
Researchers are hoping to make it easier to treat and stop the spread of cancer.
“It would allow other more standard chemotherapy to be more effective,” says Johnson.
His research taught him more than just medical knowledge, it changed the way he viewed success.
“I realized that I really did want to help people who had cancer because I felt like I could really connect with them in a way that a lot of doctors can't”, he says.
That same connection, that ability to see the real toll of cancer is something most researchers will never be able to duplicate.
Johnson will continue his research next summer at Texas Children’s Hospital, he says any step forward to find a cure is a step in the right direction.
(© 2016 KBMT)