Our story dates back to 1938 when Dr. Convit graduated from medical school and moved to the main leprosarium of Venezuela, near the capital of Caracas. He wanted to understand the clinical, pathological, social and human aspects of the disease aiming to alleviate the long time suffering and social exclusion of leprosy patients. For years, with a team of doctors and pharmacists he worked to find a drug that could prove that leprosy was curable and with this put an end to the compulsory isolation of patients. As he achieved this, Venezuela became the first country to close the leprosariums and start treating leprosy patients in their own communities, a model that became a world reference in the treatment of the disease. For decades he focused on the development of a vaccine to treat leprosy, based on a combination of the Mycobacterium leprae and BCG. His tireless work and studies on infectious diseases that affect the poorest in remote “forgotten” villages, led him a few years later to develop a vaccine to treat leishmaniasis, another devastating cutaneous disease that is endemic in tropical countries. This vaccine was based on his prior model for leprosy, using a mix of Leishmania with BCG. During his last years of life, Dr. Convit took upon a new challenge, cancer, as he saw in this disease an immunosuppressive behavior similar to that in leprosy and leishmaniasis, and proposed a personalized immunotherapy based on his experiences treating infectious diseases.
Since early in his career, Dr. Convit believed in the body’s ability to contribute to the healing process of a disease, and constantly searched for the best way to boost the patient’s own immune system to combat a disease.
JCWO’s institutional background starts in 2010, when a small non-profit, Asoinmunocáncer, was incorporated to continue Dr. Convit’s cancer immunotherapy efforts. Then in 2012, Fundación Jacinto Convit (FJC) was founded to preserve, continue and expand his legacy, absorbing the prior organization. As FJC was fully consolidated and its work and impact began growing locally, in 2014 JCWO was incorporated in the United States to serve as an international base to promote globally the life and work of Dr. Convit, and develop low cost immunotherapies for cancer. JCWO also supports the programs carried out by FJC.