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Tom Marsilje, a relentless advocate for cancer patients, dies at 45

Tom Marsilje was eternally optimistic and willing to give of his time to help his fellow cancer patients find clinical trials and experimental therapies.

When Tom Marsilje launched a website in May to help people with late-stage colorectal cancer find possible treatments through clinical trials, he pointed out the irony: “The ultimate CRC clinical trial advocate is unlikely to ever do a clinical trial,” he said.

He was right.

Marsilje, a Novartis scientist who helped develop a cutting-edge lung cancer treatment — and who, after his own colon cancer diagnosis, became a fierce advocate for his fellow patients — died Tuesday afternoon at a hospital in San Diego. He was 45.

The cancer support community was reeling in the wake of the

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