Leukemia diagnosis gives basketball player Andrew Jones a new perspective

Andrew Jones was a rising star on The University of Texas men's basketball team in late 2017, when he started experiencing flu-like symptoms. Thinking it was just a virus, the sophomore guard pushed himself to keep playing until a broken wrist finally forced him onto the sidelines. But the symptoms persisted, even after Andrew’s wrist healed and he’d returned to the basketball court. “I just thought I had the flu,” Andrew — now preparing for his senior year — explains. “But when I tried to come back, I was still having trouble. I started having headaches, dizziness and trouble breathing. I was also coughing up blood and had a fast heartbeat.” A trip to the doctor in January 2018 revealed it was more than a virus. Andrew had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. “That was so shocking,” he says. “I’d just turned 20, and none of my relatives had ever had cancer.” Andrew’s acute lymphoblastic leukemia treatment Andrew came to MD Anderson, where he began receiving the drugs ponatinib and blinatumomab under the care of Elias Jabbour, M.D. That chemotherapy combination put Andrew in remission within a month, but he has continued to take those medications to ensure that the cancer is gone. Andrew will get his last IV infusion of blinatumomab in August 2019, but will continue taking one ponatinib pill a day for at least the next five years. In the meantime, he’s not letting his acute lymphoblastic leukemia treatment slow him down. “I only played a few more games last year before redshirting for the season so I could rest,” he says. “But I started playing again last...