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Med Student Who Researched His Own Cancer Dies

Andy Martin, a Tulane University medical student who researched a rare and untreatable form of cancer with which he was diagnosed, has died at age 32.

Last April, NPR's Robert Siegel spoke to Martin, who was about to start his clinical rotation at the school after undergoing debilitating radiation to combat his third occurrence of the disease, sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma (also known as SNUC).

He began to research SNUC at medical school, culturing his own cells in the hopes of finding a cure for the disease that would eventually take his life.

In the process, Martin was balancing life as a patient and a doctor.

"I wouldn't say that I'd recommend that everybody who has a cancer... jump out and try and research it because it's taxing," Martin said in April. "But this is SNUC. It's a disease that has never been cultured. It's a disease that's not understood. It's a disease that nobody else would take on. And it's a disease I might die of."

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