Health

Jessica Morris, Whose Brain Cancer Was Her Cause, Dies at 57

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Through the nonprofit Our Brain Bank she founded, Ms. Morris encouraged more than just treating the tumor.

“If you are suddenly told that you have a disease that is considered incurable,” she said in the Human Guinea Pig Project podcast in 2019, “the only thing you urgently need is psychological support, and it’s not there.”

She also wanted to make sure patients had access to second opinions and funding so that those who were told by a doctor “nothing can be done” could take a more aggressive approach if they so wished. She herself took several novel approaches, her husband said, including an experimental therapy suggested by one of her doctors that injects herpes virus into the tumor in hopes of stimulating an immune response.

“Even if I don’t know exactly how certain treatments might work – and nobody really knows – it makes sense to block as many routes to cancer as possible,” Ms. Morris said on the podcast.

Another goal was to make it easier for glioblastoma patients to participate in clinical trials with drugs and therapies. Access to such studies can be tedious and frustrating for patients with limited life expectancy. And since glioblastoma is a complex disease in which each tumor has different characteristics, Ms. Morris and her organization have developed an app that patients can use to report symptoms and share information with each other and with medical professionals – to better understand the disease.

“Patient symptom data is a largely untapped pool of information that can inform researchers so they can better develop treatments,” Ms. Morris said during a 2019 panel discussion on patient-centered treatments. “Involving patients in this process has the added benefit of making people with the disease feel like they are dealing with the disease, and not the other way around.”

Jessica Jane Morris was born on July 22nd, 1963 in Greenwich near London. Her father Bill was an architect and her mother Elizabeth (Villar) Morris is an artist.

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