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Raj Jayanthan, a 25 year old from Florida, never expected to be struck with multicentric Castleman disease, an uncommon and often deadly disease. His response to the illness has been nothing short of amazing. In addition to being a supporter to patients around the world that post on CDCN patient support websites, Raj has fought back against Castleman disease by providing tissue samples for research and raising enough funds ($24,000) to pay for an entire study! Six other patients also contributed blood samples which were used for this study. Amazingly, four of the patients traveled by plane or car to provide their samples.

That study, "Serum Proteomics," compared the levels of inflammatory proteins (cytokines) responsible for Castleman disease between active disease and remission in seven patients. The CDCN has gotten data back and is working around the clock to identify patterns which could explain what causes Castleman disease, what pathways are activated, what cell lines are effected, and how treatment can be improved. Early findings suggest that Castleman disease is much more complicated than previous thought. New proteins and pathway targets are now being validated. And Raj made this study happen!

Raj has also inspired other patients to be a part of the process and to join the fight! With a rare disease like Castleman disease, if we don't join together to drive forward research, no one will.

To donate to Raj's new 2016 fundraising page, click here.

To become a Castleman Warrior and create your own fundraising page, click here.

To let the CDCN know you're interested in contributing samples for international research studies (either extra stored lymph node samples or new blood samples), click here.

See the presentation that Raj recently gave on his hospitalization at the Drug Information Association's 2015 meeting: