A 29-year-old scientist who created a novel antibiotic with the potential to save millions of lives passed away.
Kirsty Smitten, a West Midlands native from Solihull, tragically passed away last Wednesday following a protracted fight with heart cancer.
The pioneering researcher was diagnosed in February with the deadly ailment, which is so uncommon that it only affects two Britons a year.
The family was devastated by the news, according to her sister-in-law Sukhi Smitten, who is married to Dr. Smitten’s older brother Matt.
Kirsty fought until the very last, but because this cancer was so aggressive, she was unable to defeat it, the source told the Mail on Sunday.
“She kept saying how much she had to live for — her brother, Dan, is getting married in November and Matt and I are expecting a baby in February.
“She would have been the most wonderful auntie. We’re all heartbroken.”
Prior to her passing, Dr. Smitten, who had previously conducted research at the University of Sheffield, received seven weeks of care at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Three months after experiencing chest symptoms in the middle of the night in November of last year, she received a diagnosis.
Due to the rarity of the ailment, doctors were baffled by what was causing her symptoms, and A&E staff initially believed she had torn a muscle.
The scientist had been active and healthy before the shocking discovery, playing daily games of football and hockey.
Only 32% of medical professionals predicted that Dr. Smitten would live another year.
Medically referred to as cardiac angiosarcoma, heart cancer causes the tumor to expand or explode, which results in heart failure.
At the time, she said: “To get any kind of growth in your heart is very rare because your heart cells don’t replicate after a certain age.
“I work in med-tech, and no one wants to fund something that only one person in 36million is going to use, so there’s no new developments.”
Despite the crushing diagnosis, she continued to battle the disease and hoped to live long enough for a cure to be found.
In the early months after her diagnosis, Dr Smitten led the fight against antimicrobial resistance.
As the chief executive of MetalloBio, she helped research into two new antibiotics that help fight against drug resistant bacteria.
The drugs could help treat people with dangerous cases of meningitis and pneumonia.
She was named in Forbes ‘30 Under 30’ scientists list and was also a lead ambassador for cancer charity Sarcoma UK.
On October 14, friends and relatives will gather to play charity football in Sheffield to raise money in her honor.
Here is a link to the match’s FoFundMe page where you can donate to Sarcoma UK.