NEO.LIFE: In 2017, Agnieszka Czechowicz watched a four-year-old girl sleeping soundly in a California hospital room. As an experimental drug entered the girl’s vein, all eyes in the room were on the child and the monitors attached to her. Doctors hoped the drug would sneak into the girl’s bones and, with no other harm to her body, wipe out her blood-forming stem cells, clearing the way for a bone marrow transplant that could save her life.
Czechowicz felt the moment’s significance in a unique way. The drug now entering its very first clinical-trial patient had come from research that Czechowicz began several years earlier, as a graduate student at Stanford University.
“It was a pretty phenomenal experience to go from bench to bedside,” Czechowicz says, “and with something that had started as, really, a pie-in-the-sky idea that only I believed in at the time.”
She’s now an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Stanford University School of Medicine. In her lab research, her medical practice, and her work as an entrepreneur, she focuses on people who suffer from severe diseases like bone marrow failure or acute myeloid leukemia, who can’t produce blood or immune cells the way they are supposed to. The treatment approach she’s been working on for most of her career could represent a new way to help them. Read more.