Jimmy Smits Shares a New Video and Explains Why He Advocates for Cancer Research

In his lifetime, actor Jimmy Smits has been profoundly affected by cancer.

“My dad passed away a couple of years ago from a blood cancer,” he tells PEOPLE. “Because of his age, he wasn’t able to have a bone marrow transplant at that time. He fought a valiant fight, but he’s a statistic now. I’ve always been very dedicated to raising awareness and knowledge about the disease, because I still have hope that we can someday beat it. Cancer affects us all, and it has affected my family.”

To do his part, Smits, 62, has been working with Stand Up To Cancer for a decade, filming PSAs and speaking out about the work to find a cure. He’s appearing in a new video about immunotherapy, a type of treatment that boosts the body’s natural defenses to fight disease.

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“Every step, every new thing gives us hope,” the actor says. “It’s knowledge and awareness maybe…