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In December, SeaChange's Tom Long was told he had just months to live. Now he's in remission.

In April, SeaChange actor Tom Long boarded a plane to the US in a last-ditch attempt to save his life. It worked.

In 2012, the actor was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, an incurable form of blood cancer that attacks the immune system. For seven years, he’d gone through chemotherapy, stem cell transplants and various drug trials, but nothing worked.

After being given just three months to live, Long, 50, was given one last chance at survival.

The moment Tom Long found out he was cancer-free. Post continues below video.

Video by Channel 10

Long flew to Seattle to participate as one of 18 patients in a medical trial to rebuild his immune system using Car T Cell therapy. His T cells were genetically re-engineered before being infused back into this body to kill the cancer cells.

Speaking to Lisa Wilkinson on The Sunday Project, Long said the trial was like going through a “complete exorcism”.

He was sweating, vomiting and full of a fever for three days. He then spent time in and out of hospital with infections, but in late June Long received a call that changed everything.

“We were having coffee at our favourite coffee place and I got a phone call from Dr Damien Green who was heading the trial in Seattle, and he just said that I had nothing in the bone marrow.”

 

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Haematologist Professor Miles Prince told the show Long’s treatment had been “incredibly successful”.

“Is Tom cured? I don’t know. But I can tell you if you go back to the original CAR T-cell therapy patients, who had acute leukaemia, they were considered incurable and a lot of them are still alive today,” Professor Prince said.

Long’s son Ariel and stepsons Satchmo and Kit told The Sunday Project his recovery felt like a miracle.

After his ‘miracle’, Long wants to ensure other Australians have access to the therapy he credits with saving his life.

In the clinical trials, 82 per cent of blood cancer patients were in remission within three months.

It’s currently only available for two types of cancers and publicly funded for children and young adults. For everyone else, it costs around $598,000.

“Without a doubt it saved my life,” Long said. “I was a man with no hope. Now I can reframe and repurpose my whole life and it doesn’t have to be about cancer.”

tom long multiple myeloma
Tom Long on The Project in March.

Long revealed his terminal diagnosis on The Project in March, a month before he went to the US for the trial.

An extremely frail Long told Wilkinson he'd entered palliative care before being selected to take part.

"My chances elsewhere are not good, so I didn’t really have a choice," Tom said in March.

"I am very aware that I could be taken any time, but it’s the hope I think, I go for hope," he added.

That was his first public appearance in seven years, since his illness saw him collapse on stage halfway through a play at the Sydney Opera House.

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