Bo Cooper, ‘First In Human’: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Bo Cooper First In Human, Bo Cooper First in Human, Bo Cooper Wife Facebook/BoCooper

Discovery Channel’s new series, First In Human: The Trials of Bldg. 10, will follow patients, families, and doctors as patients undergo experimental treatments.

The show will be narrated by actor Jim Parsons, and will air in 2-hour episodes. In a statement to the National Institute of Health, director John Hoffman said, “What was most powerful about embedding [film crews] in Bldg. 10 and following these trials was observing how the doctors and patients came to rely on each other in a true partnership to advance medicine… Since my arrival on campus, I’ve sensed the excitement around this broadcast. It’s a tremendous opportunity to educate about the NIH mission and biomedical research.”

Read on to learn about patient Bo Cooper, who will undergo an experimental treatment on the series.

1. Bo Passed Away on November 6, 2016

Bo Cooper First In Human,  Bo Cooper First in Human, Bo Cooper Wife, Bo Cooper Cancer, Bo Cooper MMA, Bo Cooper Fort mcmurray

Bo sadly passed away on November 6, 2016. He was 27.

In a statement to, his wife, Irish, said his death left her “in a fog of emptiness.”

2. He Was Diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Bo Cooper First In Human, Bo Cooper First in Human, Bo Cooper Wife

Bo was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2011. He was in remission from from 2011 to 2014.

Then, in 2014, Bo underwent a bone marrow transplant. One year later, he learned that the cancer had returned, and that his only option was an experimental Car T-Cell treatment. According to, the treatment was only available in the US and “would potentially cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Car T-cell therapy involves using a patient’s own immune cells to treat his/her cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, “Until recently, the use of CAR T-cell therapy has been restricted to small clinical trials, largely in patients with advanced blood cancers. But these treatments have nevertheless captured the attention of researchers and the public alike because of the remarkable responses they have produced in some patients—both children and adults—for whom all other treatments had stopped working.”

3. He Was a Firefighter and Mixed Martial Arts Fighter


Bo Cooper was an MMA fighter.

Cooper was a mixed martial arts fighter and firefighter in Fort Murray, Canada.

According to Fort McMurray Today, Bo joined the Fort McMurray Fire Department in 2009, after working as a volunteer firefighter in Anzac, Alberta, Canada.

4. Friends and Strangers Across the World Raised More Than $880,000 for Bo’s Experimental Treatment

Bo Cooper First In Human, Bo Cooper First in Human, Bo Cooper Wife, Bo Cooper Cancer, Bo Cooper MMA, Bo Cooper Fort mcmurray

Friends and strangers across the world contributed a total of $880,000 to help Bo raise money for the experimental treatment. In December 2015, he was accepted to trial the treatment at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

Friend and co-worker Rob Van Hecke told the Edmonton Journal that doctors at the Institute said fewer than .01% of Bo’s leukemia cells were still in his body as of Spring 2016. But in September, the treatment was impeded by a resurgence of the cancer. The experimental drug failed.

5. He Is Survived by His Wife Irish Cooper

Bo Cooper First In Human, Bo Cooper First in Human, Bo Cooper Wife

Facebook/BoCooperLeukemiaBo and his wife, Irish.

Bo married his wife, Irish, on February 4, 2016. He passed away just before he and Irish’s seventh anniversary together. In a statement to Fort McMurray Today, Irish said of his passing, “He was holding on for so long, but he suffered too much. I miss him more than anything in this world, but he is no longer in pain. His heart was so pure, his heart is still pure and a part of it is living inside me.”


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@Fook, did you watch the show at all? Bo wasn’t the only case that was highlighted, there was a child, a mother and another woman with sickle cell disease. I would even argue the consideration that Bo was an “World-Class Athlete. He was very much like the rest of us, who happen to take up a sport in mix martial arts…. He was a fire-fighter, basically the man next door.


As much as I like the show conceptually, it’s sad to see the focus on such a traditional fit-to-frail case. Yes, it dramatically emphasizes the (assumingly) implied point. But it detatches the viewer from reality. Most people in that situation weren’t world-class athletes. Most lived lives not far apart from the average viewer of the program.

Tell me about someone I can actually relate to, outside of my own stereotypical fantasies of being a professional sportsman. Then I can see the critical reality: I’m not immune to disorders that would see me signed up for experimental treatment.

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