October 31, 2016
New Immunotherapy Treatment for Relapsed ALL
Ava Christianson was treated from age 4 to age 8 with chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant, and an experimental therapy, but her ALL kept returning. She went to the National Cancer Institute to try a new immunotherapy treatment, called CAR T-cell therapy. During a 5-minute treatment, she was infused with 30 million of her own T cells that had been genetically modified to track down and kill her cancer cells. Ava entered remission and was happy to start third grade.
Chemotherapy Shortages Continue to Affect Kids with Cancer
For several years, children’s hospitals have been trying to cope with periodic shortages of needed chemo drugs. Little Ava has leukemia and her hospital has run out of a drug that is part of her treatment plan. Read more about this here.
Vitamin D and Survivors
Do you know your vitamin D levels? A new study found that “Vitamin D levels were not at healthy levels is most survivors over the age of 30 and those who were overweight.” The research found that 34% of survivors tested were vitamin D deficient and 39% had insufficient levels. More than two-thirds of survivors who took vitamin D supplements still had levels that were too low. If you don’t have enough Vitamin D, these problems can develop––bone pain, muscle weakness, depression, and heart disease. Ask your doctor to order a simple blood test to check your vitamin D levels. More information about this research can be found here.
Tip for Survivors
Speaking of survivors, do you have a record of your treatment? At the end of treatment, your hospital should have given you a summary of your treatment that includes details about the chemo you had (and how much of each drug), radiation (dose and location), surgeries (how many and which parts of the body), stem cell transplants, and needed follow up schedules. If they didn’t, you can ask them to fill out the treatment summary found on the Childhood Cancer Guides site at this link. Give a copy to each of your healthcare providers so they can help you stay healthy.
More Parents Donate Our New Book to Their Local Library
Although our Help 1,000 Families campaign is over, parents continue to purchase and donate our book to their local libraries. We so appreciate that they are helping those following in their footsteps with the gift of information. Here’s a picture of Sheri and survivor Matt donating a copy of Childhood Cancer: A Parent’s Guide to Solid Tumor Cancers. Thank you Sheri and Matt! If you would like to donate to your library click here to purchase our book.