Cancer That Kills the Young May Have Met Its Match
WebMD News Archive
Duke University researchers have collaborated with Yanik on the
protocol and are beginning treatment of their third patient. Each of the ones
they have seen has been two and one-half years old when accepted for the
therapy. Children diagnosed after the age of one usually have advanced disease
and their rate of survival is low.
"The two we have done are doing exceptionally well,"
says Timothy Driscoll, MD, of the Duke Pediatric Stem Cell Transplant Program.
"What's nice about this therapy is that the tumor cells have little bumps
that actually take up the chemical without harming the child's other cells.
"It's very exciting that we may be able to cure them and
spare them the toxicity. The children tolerate this treatment very
Driscoll and his colleagues will be trying something new with
their third patient. The young boy has so much damage to his bone marrow from
previous radiation and chemotherapy and so many neuroblastoma cells in it that
the purging process can't be used. "His bone marrow is just tired out,"
says Driscoll. Instead doctors will be using bone marrow from a sibling that is
a complete match.
He agrees with Yanik that the next important step is follow-up
of the patients to determine long-term prognosis.
To that end, Yanik and his University of Michigan team has
embarked on a new trial with the University of California, San Francisco,
Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
to use a common MIBG protocol and the stem cell purging process.