Tuesday, October 22, 2013

There has been a new approach to dealing with cancer and finally there is a miracle treatment that seems to make certain childhood cancer disappear.  Yes, within days of the new treatment the tumors seem to dissolve  or disappear without any surgery. They really can call it a miracle.  The cancer will go away within days or weeks.  

The specific cancer is known as Neuroblastoma which can be a tumor mess in children as young as six months old. It is a disease  in which malignant cancer cells form in nerve tissues of the adrenal gland, neck, chest or spinal cord.  It can even start developing in a embryo or fetus.  Not a great way to start a new member of your family.  Most people don’t even know what it is and can’t believe that cancer can start so early in life.

None of the standard treatments like chemotherapy work for very long, so most parents turn to experimental treatments to keep their kids alive.  All those clinical trials cost a lot of money that most parents cannot afford.  It was hard for a family to try treatment after treatment and to still find that their child’s cancer was still spreading.  They even started a Lemon aid Stand that developed into a foundation that raised over a Million dollars for research while their daughter failed and eventually died from the cancer that spread to her tiny vital organs.  The child was Alex Scott and died at 8 years old.

Alex’s Lemon Aid Stand Foundation lives on and has now raised more than $70 Million dollars for research. The money has funded nearly 300 studies some done at The Children’s Hospital at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Philadelphia.  One of her doctors there studied a link between cancer and a hereditary genetic mutation in a gene. The mutated gene seems to make certain types of cancer grow.  So, the hypothesis in the lab was to try and turn it off and turn off the fuel for the growth of the cancer.

The miracle drug is called Crizotinib that is already being used to successfully treat lung cancer in adults.  

Drug therapies like Crizotinib only go after very specific  types of cancer and can do a lot of good for small groups of patients.  We have to be smarter than to just kill rapidly dividing cells.  We have to give drugs that is turning off whatever is driving the cancer.  Yes, we are at war with cancer and like any war, cut off the food supply or fuel to your enemy and they will surrender real soon.

So by using the money from the Lemon Aid Foundation and other sources, doctors were able to fast track a Federally funded Crizotinib for 80 children.  They saw dramatic responses in children who have lymphoma.  The cancer literally went away within days or weeks.  To be able to see your once active six year old once again just get out of bed and start running and playing vicariously is a miracle of sorts.

It has been two years later.  The children are still taking the drug, but most of all, they are all healthy and active individuals. Miracle is a hefty word when it comes to science.  Miracles should only happen in the Bible.   Remember that Viagra was once a pill to treat heart attacks, now it makes more money treating male sexual problems.   Yes, miracles can happen in strange ways.

More than anything it all makes us believe in our tomorrows because each day should be filled with hope for a better future and not dominated by some horrible past happening.  Without hope and questions that need to be answered there is not a future worth having.  We must attack the sources of our problems even more than the problem itself then things can be resolved.  Thanks little girl with the Lemon Aid Stand who never                                                       gave up even after death.

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