It all started when Michael York began developing dark circles under his eyes. The British movie star, famous for his roles in Cabaret and Austin Powers, first attributed the changes to a lack of sleep or age.
In a recent talk at the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the actor explained how he eventually realized something was seriously wrong: his skin was getting worse and he was feeling ill.
It took years to get a correct diagnosis: amyloidosis — the term for a group of rare diseases in which one or more organs accumulate deposits of abnormal proteins known as amyloid. He was also diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells.
In July 2012, he underwent a successful stem cell transplant to treat his diseases. “July the 10th is my other birthday,” the much-honoured actor says of the day he received the cells. Mr. York has been able to return to performing and is currently working on a documentary film.
He tells his story in this video, calling regenerative medicine “the future” and “the most exciting thing on the horizon.”