Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Novel Cancer Drug Reduces Neuroblastoma Growth By 75 Percent

ScienceDaily (Apr. 23, 2009) — Researchers from the Children's Cancer Hospital at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have found a new drug that restricts the growth of neuroblastoma, a childhood brain cancer. The pre-clinical study was presented in the plenary session at the 22nd annual meeting of the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.

Alejandro Levy, M.D., fellow at the Children's Cancer Hospital at M. D. Anderson, presented research showing for the first time that the M. D. Anderson-developed drug, 3-BrOP, reduces tumor growth by more than 75 percent as a single agent. The study, conducted with human neuroblastoma cells transplanted into mice, showed how 3-BrOP, a glycolysis inhibitor, starved the cancer cells to death by shutting down their main energy source, glucose.

"We found that neuroblastoma cells, unlike healthy cells, are highly dependent on glycolysis for energy instead of more efficient means of energy production," said Levy. "Glycolysis is a process that breaks down sugar for energy, so by blocking that process with 3-BrOP, we are able to keep the tumors from producing energy, and this disrupts their ability to grow."

According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 650 children, mainly under the age of five, are diagnosed with neuroblastoma in the United States each year. Close to two-thirds of these children are diagnosed after the cancer has metastasized to other parts of the body. For these patients with high-risk neuroblastoma, long-term survival is less than 40 percent because the tumors are often resistant to traditional chemotherapy.

Pre-clinically, 3-BrOP has already been proven effective against other cancers including glioblastoma, colon cancer, lymphoma and acute leukemia. A Phase I clinical trial is planned to open this year for adult patients.

"As we explore alternative options to standard chemotherapy agents, we are finding drugs, like 3-BrOP, that have the potential to destroy cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed," said Patrick Zweidler-McKay, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor at the Children's Cancer Hospital and senior investigator of the study. "These drugs can often enhance the efficacy of other treatments, potentially leading to more successful combinations and better outcomes for our young patients."

Other investigators on the study were Lauren Akers, D.O., Maurizio Ghisoli, M.D., Timothy Graham, Lizhi Zeng, M.D., Riitta Nolo, M.D., Peter Zage, M.D., Ph.D., Wendy Fang, M.D., Sankaranarayanan Kannan, Ph.D., Anna Franklin, M.D., Peng Huang, M.D., Ph.D., and Patrick Zweidler-McKay, M.D., Ph.D.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Neuroblastoma Awareness: Therapy Reduces Dangerous Side-effects of Cancer Treatment in Children

Children given a hormone growth factor alongside chemotherapy for the aggressive cancer neuroblastoma are less likely to suffer a potentially deadly side-effect, according to a major international study published today in the Journal of Clinical Oncology*.

The hormone, called granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (GCSF), was already known to boost production of white blood cells. But this Cancer Research UK-funded study is the first large randomised trial to show it can reduce the complications associated with low white blood cell count in children treated for advanced forms of neuroblastoma.

Around 100 children are diagnosed with neuroblastoma** every year in the UK, usually under the age of five. Overall six out of ten children are successfully treated, but for children with advanced forms of the cancer it is very difficult to treat successfully.

Children diagnosed with advanced forms of neuroblastoma are given particularly intense treatment that combines surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

But this treatment often carries the side-effect of ‘neutropenia’ - a low white blood cell count. As white blood cells are key components of the immune system, patients who develop neutropenia during treatment are more susceptible to other diseases and complications.

Professor Andy Pearson, lead author of the paper and Cancer Research UK's professor of paediatric oncology at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in Sutton, said: “Patients given GCSF immediately after chemotherapy treatment had fewer problems associated with neutropenia, such as fever, infections, days spent in hospital or on antibiotics and gastrointestinal issues.

“Our team previously identified the high dose chemotherapy regimen that is already saving the lives of many children with high risk neurobastoma, and in this study we report finding a new therapy to reduce side-effects for these patients.

“On the strength of these new trial results, all children receiving intense chemotherapy to treat high-risk neuroblastoma will now be given GCSF.”

The work builds on promising results from an earlier study, also funded by Cancer Research UK and led by Professor Pearson at the ICR , which found that giving doses of five chemotherapy drugs – cisplatin, vincristine, carboplatin, etoposide, and cyclophosphamide – more frequently offered the best hope of a cure.

This therapy is now being taken forward as the treatment for children in Europe through the International Society of Paediatric Oncology, Europe Neuroblastoma Group (SIOPEN)***.

Kate Law, Cancer Research UK's director of clinical trials, said: "The results of this promising trial mean that children across Europe diagnosed with neuroblastoma will receive a more effective treatment for this disease.

“Cancer Research UK is the largest single funder of children’s cancer research in the country and is at the heart of an international research effort leading to rapid improvements in children surviving cancer with the fewest possible side effects.”


*Ladenstein et al., Journal of Clinical Oncology (2010), Randomised trial of prophylactic granulocyte colony stimulating factor during rapid COJEC induction in paediatric patients with high-risk neuroblastoma: the European HR-NBL1/SIOPEN study.

** Neuroblastoma is a form of childhood cancer which starts in the child's developing nerves and often appears as a tumour in the abdomen, adrenal glands or the nerve tissue at the back of the abdomen. About one hundred children are diagnosed in the UK each year, mostly before the age of five, and the high-risk form of the disease is one of the main causes of cancer-related deaths in children.

*** The SIOPEN Group led by Dr Ruth Ladenstein at St Anna Children’s Hospital in Vienna, Austria and Professor Pearson at the ICR carried out a Cancer Research UK-funded trial in 16 European countries that assessed the clinical benefit of prophylactic GCSF use. The scientists monitored side-effects of rapid, intense chemotherapy in 119 patients who were routinely given GCSF with 120 patients who were only given GCSF if a severe infection developed.


Neuroblastoma Awareness: Kids with cancer get innovative treatments at new clinic funded by gift to DeVos Children's Hospital

GRAND RAPIDS -- For 8-year-old Ryan Regan, the checkup at the cancer clinic at DeVos Children's Hospital was fun and games.

He laughed when the doctor tickled his belly, showed off a photo of himself in a Superman costume and wandered down the hall to play with friends.

His mother, Cathy Regan, was amazed at how far he had come since he began treatment for neuroblastoma at a pediatric cancer clinic at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital.

"It's a little miracle," said Regan, who lives in Macomb Township in Southeast Michigan.

A grant announced today (Thursday) will provide funding that will allow the clinic to treat more children like Ryan.

The donation of an undisclosed amount of money from Dick and Ethie Haworth establishes the Haworth Family Pediatric Oncology Innovative Therapeutics Clinic, which uses a personalized medicine approach to treating neuroblastoma and other childhood cancers. The director of the clinic, Dr. Giselle Sholler, is also a researcher at Van Andel Institute.

Through the clinic and the institute, the genetic makeup of tumors is analyzed in an effort to determine the best medications to block the cancer. Doctors and researchers in an 11-hospital research consortium are involved in analyzing the test results and choosing the treatment.

Regan said she brought Ryan to the DeVos Children's clinic after doctors at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York said they had no more treatment options for him.

Based on the analysis of Ryan's tumor, which formed in his belly and has spread to his liver, Sholler began treating him with three chemotherapy drugs in mid-September. At that point, Ryan weighed only 36 pounds.

"He couldn't walk," his mother said. "He was vomiting. You couldn't pick him up, his liver was so distended. He was on pain meds around the clock."

Ryan's condition improved after the first treatment. In six weeks, he has gained eight pounds -- and lots of energy. One of the goals of the clinic is to use medications with few side effects, so the children can have good quality of life, Sholler said.

That benefit is much appreciated by Regan. Her son has battled cancer for nearly half his life. At 21 months, he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a tumor of the peripheral nervous system that typically strikes children 6 and under. The cancer went into remission six months later, but resurfaced when Ryan was 5.

At times, he was treated with high doses of chemotherapy that required three weeks in the hospital for recovery., Regan said.

"We have to drive here, but it's worth it," she said. "His quality of life is awesome."

The clinic is attracting patients from throughout the country and Canada, said Dr. James Fahner, head of pediatric oncology at the hospital. Six children have been treated so far and, eventually, Fahner expects a half-dozen children a week at the clinic.

The clinic's initial focus is on children whose disease has nor responded to therapy, whose cancer has recurred and those whose cancer is so high-risk at diagnosis that standard treatments are not likely to work.

The Haworths said in a statement they made the donation because they believe in the work of the children's cancer program.

"We want to be an encouragement to Dr. Sholler in advancing the science and we look forward to learning about the results of this new initiative," Dick Haworth said.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Neuroblastoma Awareness: Hero: Baby Aerabella

Hi, My name is Danica. My daughter, Aerabella was diagnosed on Sept 22nd
2011 at 9 months old with stage 2A Neuroblastoma. She has a large tumor in
her chest that was found due to an odd cough. Her family doctor insisted a
chest x-ray be done at the Akron Children's Hosptial. We thought she may
have eaten something and had it lodged. Imagine our shock when we were shown
an x-ray with a mass approx 5cm*3cm*2cm in her chest. She was admitted to
the oncology floor later that night. We spent 13 long days and nights at the
hospital while numerous tests and procedures were completed. Bella had her
port placed Sept 23rd and started Chemo that night. She has three more
cycles of Chemo to go. Then hopefully surgery to remove the remaining tumor.
We were very lucky to have caught this early and her prognosis is very good.
She has been doing quite well, the chemo seems to have given her more energy
and made her hyper. She is at the stage where she loves getting
into everything and exploring new things.She has her own facebook page and
has added neuroblastoma awareness in hopes to make her friends all aware of
this horrible cancer. Her address is

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Neuroblastoma Awareness: ALK gene discovered by St. Jude scientists associated with FDA approved adult cancer drug

A drug recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treatment of an adult cancer targets a malfunctioning gene discovered more than a decade earlier at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The story highlights how scientific findings from St. Jude can be translated into therapies and tests that in addition to helping children, also help adults.

The drug is Xalkori (crizotinib). The FDA approved Xalkori in August as the first targeted therapy for patients with ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that is locally advanced or metastatic. Xalkori is manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer.

The ALK gene was discovered by St. Jude scientists searching for genes affected by a chromosomal change common in the cancer cells of patients with anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL).The blood cancer accounts for 10 to 30 percent of pediatric non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In 1994 Stephan Morris, M.D., then a St. Jude junior faculty member; Thomas Look, M.D., then chair of a St. Jude department; and their colleagues, published the first of several reports detailing the discovery of ALK and the gene's pivotal role in driving the cancer. ALK is short for anaplastic lymphoma kinase, the name investigators gave the protein whose assembly instructions the gene carried.

ALK is now widely recognized as a potent promoter of several adult and childhood cancers, including ALCL and neuroblastoma, a childhood tumor of certain nerve cells. The work done by Morris, Look and their colleagues in a fifth-floor laboratory of the Danny Thomas Research Center eventually helped to launch a new targeted cancer treatment.

Hiroyuki Mano, M.D., of the University of Tokyo, led the 2007 research into the molecular drivers of NSCLC. The study showed some NSCLC tumors were driven by an ALK rearrangement. Following this discovery, Pfizer expanded a Phase I clinical trial of Xalkori to include patients with ALK-positive advanced NSCLC. Xalkori blocks the cancer-causing activity of the ALK protein. Additional clinical trials with the drug are now underway in other cancers, including neuroblastoma and ALCL, the lymphoma that launched the search.

The ALK discovery and related later research led to five U.S. patents for St. Jude. The patented work includes methods for detecting the chromosomal rearrangements that unleash the cancer-causing ability of the ALK gene as well as tools to identify and characterize drugs for cancers caused by ALK deregulation. Morris, Look and their colleagues also worked with another pharmaceutical company to design a diagnostic assay to identify patients with the ALK mutation. The test, a fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) assay, has been marketed for more than a decade. In August, it won FDA approval as a diagnostic test for use with Xalkori.

Dr. William E. Evans, St. Jude director and chief executive officer, said the ALK story captures an important aspect of the hospital's commitment. "Our focus is on finding cures for pediatric diseases, but our discoveries often provide insights that can be building blocks for advances in other diseases, including adult cancers. We are committed to facilitating this so that the most good can come from our discoveries," he said.

Working through the St. Jude Office of Technology Licensing, Pfizer obtained licenses to the hospital's patented research tools. Several other companies have executed licenses with St. Jude to use these patent rights.

This year about 210,000 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. Current estimates are that approximately 3 to 5 percent, or 6,500 to 11,000 patients with non-small cell lung cancer, carry the ALK rearrangement and may be candidates for treatment with Xalkori.

Today, Morris is a member of the St. Jude Pathology and Oncology departments. Look is a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Center in Boston. Morris is still asking questions about ALK, including the protein's normal functions. He said he is thrilled that his work offers new hope for thousands of lung cancer patients. "We knew in 1994 when we initially discovered ALK that it was an outstanding drug-development target," Morris said. "It is heartening to now see patients benefiting from our research."

Source St. Jude Children's Research Hospital


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Progesterone could fight against neuroblastoma

High doses of the hormone progesterone can kill neuroblastoma cells while leaving healthy cells unscathed, scientists at Emory University School of Medicine have found in laboratory research.

The results, published in the journal Molecular Medicine, suggest that progesterone could be used to fight neuroblastoma, the most common form of cancer affecting small children.

More research is necessary to determine the optimal dose, how long progesterone treatment should last and if it should be used alone or in combination with radiation or chemotherapy. Emory scientists are also exploring whether it can stop the growth of other brain cancer types such as glioblastoma and astrocytoma. Progesterone has also been reported to slow growth of several other types of cancers in the laboratory, but has not been used clinically against neuroblastoma.

The first author in the team of researchers is Fahim Atif, PhD, instructor in emergency medicine, with senior author Donald G. Stein, PhD, Asa G. Candler professor of emergency medicine and director of Emory's Department of Emergency Medicine Brain Research Laboratory. Daniel Brat, MD, PhD, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine in Emory School of Medicine was a collaborator on the research team.

The discovery grew out of studies of progesterone's protective effects in brain injury. Based on Stein's pioneering work, medical centers across the country are now testing progesterone in the setting of acute traumatic brain injury in a phase III clinical trial. While investigating how to enhance progesterone's effectiveness, Atif and his colleagues observed that it could protect healthy neurons from stress but caused cells from a tumor cell line to die.

In a mouse model, progesterone treatment cut tumor growth in half over eight days, while no drug toxicity was seen with healthy neurons or in live animals. The researchers showed that progesterone can decrease the levels of proteins produced by tumor cells that attract new blood vessel growth and help tumor cells invade other tissues.

"This fits with what we know about one of progesterone's roles during pregnancy, which is to regulate the growth of placenta," Atif says. "Placental cells behave in a way that resembles tumor cells, invading the uterine wall and tapping into the mother's blood vessels."

In studies performed elsewhere, doses of progesterone that were lower than the most effective dose in the Emory study actually accelerated cancer growth. Based on their results, the Emory researchers propose that for fighting certain types of cancer, high doses of progesterone may be better than low doses.

Progesterone's effects on cancer are known to be complex. There may be differences between progesterone, the natural hormone, and synthetic progestins. The National Institutes of Health's Women's Health Initiative study showed that women who received hormone replacement therapy with combined estrogen and progestins had an increased risk of heart disease and breast cancer, although some studies have identified a potential "safe period" if hormone replacement therapy lasts less than two years.

Progesterone has a long history as a treatment designed to prevent preterm birth. If progesterone is to be used with small children, any potential effects on development must be weighed against the risks of standard treatments.

Source: Emory University


News:MYCN amplification can serve as a favorable prognostic indicator for neuroblastoma

source:, a malignant tumor that primarily affects infants and young children, is a leading cause of death for children with cancer. When amplification of the MYCN oncogene is found in the tumor, it usually indicates an aggressive tumor with rapid progression of the disease and a poor outcome. Thus MYCN amplification has come to be used as a prognostic indicator.

However, sometimes a favorable outcome can be achieved even if MYCN amplification is present. A study reported in the current issue of the journal Pediatric and Developmental Pathology focuses on four such cases.

Four patients were diagnosed with neuroblastoma between the ages of 6 and 13 months and were treated with high-dose therapy and autologous stem cell rescue. Three of the patients are alive and well, having survived from 19 months to 7 years following treatment. One patient, with stage 4 disease, died eight months after being diagnosed.

Although MYCN amplification was confirmed in all four patients, it was not expressed in some of the common ways. Fluorescence in situ hybridization was used to identify the gene amplification in these cases. MYCN protein expression was not detected through immunohistochemistry.

Tumors with MYCN amplification typically have an undifferentiated or poorly differentiated subtype with a high mitosis-karyorrhexis index. Large cell type and presence of prominent nucleoli also characterize MYCN amplification and indicate aggressive behavior of the tumor. In the four cases examined in this study, the tumors all showed a poorly differentiated subtype and a low mitosis-karyorrhexis index. They also did not qualify as a large cell type and lacked prominent nucleoli.

These cases display a unique combination of unfavorable and favorable prognostic indicators for neuroblastoma. The authors speculate that a lack of excess MYCN protein expression despite gene amplification could cause this rare genotype-phenotype discordance. The findings could indicate that MYCN amplification does not automatically mean a poor prognosis.ator-for-neuroblastoma.aspx

Hero:Linas Modestas Zibas

our 4 years son Linas Modestas Zibas still fighting with high risk Neuroblastoma stage 4

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Angel: Sierra Rayn Chamblee

Sierra Rayn Chamblee. Diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma at 21 months old, battled for 11 months, lost the fight at 2 1/2 years old.

May God bless this family in this time of sorrow.

Hero: Noahs Story

Our world turned upside down on December 18, 2007. Noah was having spuratic side pain so we took him to the pediatrician and they said he had intestinal flu and if the pain continues bring him back, well the pain continued and he was then diagnosed with intussusception. He underwent a barium enama only to find a 4" tumor sitting above his right kidney. This tumor turned out to be Neuroblastoma cancer, which sprouted out of the right adrenal gland. His was diagnosed at stage 2b.
He underwent four rounds of low-dose chemo and had the tumor removed on April 7, 2008. It wasn't 100% removed and our home Oncologist reassured us that with Noah's histology and biology it wouldn't come back.
Noah had reoccurance on October 5, 2008. We are now in treatment with Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York. He had 3 high-dose rounds of chemo, radiation & surgery. Noah was NED (no evidence of disease) for 15 months and then relapsed in April of 2010. He endured 3 rounds of chemo and after scans in June 2010 he is again NED and is now getting 3f8 Monoclonal Antibodies every 8 weeks. Please continue to pray for our little boy. Read the updates for the current information on Noahs journey. Our greatest praise goes to God our Father who gives us the comfort, peace and strength through Noah's healing. We also have such a tremedous support group and wonderful prayer warriors who have gotten us through these tough times.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Heroes and Angels

If there are any parents of children out there who are still battling this disease or have beat it, that would like to be featured as a hero on the site. Also any parents of children who have lost the battle to this horrid disease, who would like their child to be featured as a angel on the site.

Caitlyn- Still Fighting

Caitlyn. Diagnosed at age 5 months, stage IV, high risk. Current age - 19 months. AND STILL FIGHTING.

Hereo- Still Fighting Wes

Wes is a 5 year old little boy who was diagnosed with Stage 4 High Risk Neuroblastoma on June 24, 2011. As of 8/19/11 he had just completed his third cycle of chemotherapy. He still will have to undergo a total of 4 more rounds of chemotherapy, surgery if possible, stem cell re-infusion, 20 rounds of radiation and anti-body treatment.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Omega-3 Possible weapon against tumors in children

In a newly published study, Swedish and American scientists show how the Omega-3 fatty acid DHA can serve as both sword and shield in the fight against certain forms of cancer. The new findings on the mechanisms behind this two-sided effect give hope of one day using DHA as a complement to cytostatics in the treatment of children with neural cancer.

Neural cancer (neuroblastoma) in young children is the most common solid tumour form in this age group. The prognosis is very poor and some 40 per cent of patients die of the disease. However, it is known that fatty acids can protect healthy nerve cells from dying, and at the same time kill several types of cancer cells. In the current study, the scientists were interested in exploring what happens to DHA, an Omega-3 fatty acid found mainly in oily fish (e.g. salmon and mackerel), inside the cancer cell.

Using an advanced method called liquid chromatography combined with mass spectrometry, the researchers looked at the products that were formed on the breakdown of DHA and which of them have a lethal effect on the cancer cell. They also tried to identify the enzymes involved in the breakdown process.

"We observed that DHA forms hydroperoxy fatty acids and hydroxy fatty acids inside the cancer cell," says Helena Gleissman, researcher at Karolinska Institutet and the study´s principal author. "These fatty acids are oxidised through the agency of enzymes called 5- and 15-lipoxygenase, but they can also be oxidised spontaneously. Hydroperoxy fatty acids are particularly involved in apoptosis."

DHA can be converted into these cell-killing oxidised fatty acids in healthy neurons, but they are then converted further into substances called resolvins and protectins, thus avoiding the accumulation of cytolethal oxidised fatty acids in the cell. Protectins are particularly effective at protecting nerve cells from dying, which from a future treatment perspective makes it especially interesting that neither resolvins nor protectins are formed in neuroblastoma cells.

"While DHA kills cancer cells in the nervous system via hydroperoxy fatty acids, it protects healthy nerve cells from dying via protectins," says Dr Gleissman. "If we can find a way of controlling this process, there is a good chance that DHA can serve as both sword and shield in neuroblastoma patients and act as a complement to cytostatic therapy."

The study was based on a collaboration between Professor Per Kogner´s research group at Karolinska Institutet and Professor Charles N Serhan´s group at Harvard Medical School. The researchers will now be looking into how DHA can be applied most effectively in the treatment of cancer. The research was funded by the Swedish Children´s Cancer Foundation, Swedish Research Council, Swedish Cancer Society, Erik and Edith Fernström´s Foundation for Medical Research, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and NIH.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Facts about Neuroblastoma

Facts about Neuroblastoma
􀁸 There are approximately 12,500 children suffering from some form of pediatric cancer.
􀁸 Neuroblastoma is an extremely rare childhood cancer, affecting 10 children in every million, usually
before the age of 5.
􀁸 In the U.S., approximately 650 new cases of neuroblastoma are diagnosed each year.
􀁸 Originating from neural crest cells called neuroblasts in the sympathetic nervous system where nervous
system tissue is present, neuroblastoma is a solid tumor cancer most commonly found near the adrenal
glands (located on top of the kidneys and in the chest).
􀁸 The term neuro indicates "nerves," while blastoma refers to a cancer that affects immature or
developing cells.
􀁸 The cause of neuroblastoma is unknown. Studies have shown that genetics and environmental factors
are not involved.
􀁸 40 percent of neuroblastoma patients are younger than 1 year when diagnosed, 35 percent are aged 1-2
years, and 25 percent are older than 2 years when diagnosed.
􀁸 In 70-80 percent of patients with neuroblastoma, the disease is not diagnosed until it has already
metastasized (spread) to lymph nodes, liver, bone, bone marrow and/or skin. These cases are
categorized as stage IV and have a less than 40 percent chance of surviving long-term, classified as
more than three years. Less than half of these patients survive. i
􀁸 No drugs or treatments are available today designed to specifically treat neuroblastoma.
Treatment often requires a combination of surgery, chemotherapy drugs designed for different types of
adult cancers, bone marrow transplants and radiation therapy.
􀁸 The five-year survival rate for high-risk cases of neuroblastoma is less than 40 percent. ii
􀁸 There is a zero percent chance of survival for patients who relapse.
􀁸 Males have a slightly higher incidence of neuroblastoma than females. More than 40 percent of fully
insured families with a child with neuroblastoma declare bankruptcy due to the high costs of treatment,
often considered to be experimental.

Who gets Neuroblastoma?

Neuroblastoma is almost always found in children.

Nearly 90% of the cases of Neuroblastoma are diagnosed before the age of 6.

Of all childhood cancers, Neuroblastoma accounts for approximately 7% of the cases diagnosed.

The Neuroblastoma Children's Cancer Society reports that 500 to 1,000 children are diagnosed each year in the United States.

ySlightl more cases of Neuroblastoma are seen in boys than in girls.

Join the Cause!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Neuroblastoma Awareness: Only the good die young

I know there are many children battling this disease and that we need to stop it, It is to often that I hear of somebody dying from any kind of cancer, not just Neuroblastoma. Last a friend of the families son died from non-hodgkins lymphona, now I only met the kid a few times but he was a real down to earth person. He was only 20 years old when he sadly passed away. It just hit me how much his death hit everybody as I'm writing this about a year and a half later. Only the Good die young. As a reader of this blog, please forward it to everybody in your contact's list on your email or cell phone and make sure they reforward it as well so we can continue to raise awareness.

Neuroblastoma Awareness: International Neuroblastoma Week

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Neuroblastoma Awareness: Trial Drug helps children with deadly Neuroblastoma Cancer

An experimental drug, available only through a clinical trial, helps prevent relapses in children with a rare cancer called neuroblastoma.
Children with high-risk neuroblastoma, which grows in nerve cells in the neck, chest and abdomen, desperately need better treatments, experts say.

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A new, man-made antibody may save some of them, says Alice Yu, a professor at the Moores University of California-San Diego Cancer Center.

In a study of 226 children, Yu found that combining the antibody with other immune therapies cuts the risk of relapse by 20%.

Two years after getting the new therapy, 66% of kids were relapse-free, compared to 46% of kids randomly assigned to receive a standard therapy called retinoic acid, according to a study released Thursday, in advance of the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, which begins in two weeks in Orlando.

Because most relapses occur in the first two years after a bone marrow transplant, Yu says these kids are likely to have been cured. About 86% of those who got the antibody were alive after two years, compared to 75% who got standard therapy.

That's a big improvement for such a stubborn disease, says Nai-Kong Cheung, head of the neuroblastoma program at New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, who was not involved in the new study. Neuroblastoma causes 15% of all deaths from pediatric cancer.

Cheung says the study is a "landmark," not only because the drug seems so helpful, but because of the difficulty of conducting a definitive trial in a disease with so few patients.

"This is a major, major event," says Cheung, who says this is the first new therapy for high-risk neuroblastoma in about 10 years.

Most children with the disease are toddlers under age 5. About 40% of the 650 kids diagnosed each year have aggressive tumors. Of those, only about 30% survive, in spite of intense and painful therapies, that include surgery, heavy chemotherapy, radiation and bone marrow transplants.

"We basically throw the book at them," Yu says.

Now, antibody therapy will become the new standard of care, she says.

Yet Cheung notes that doctors will have to wait many years to know if children were truly cured. And he notes that the antibody therapy is not easy to take.

More than 20% of children treated with the antibody suffered significant pain during the five to 10 hours that it takes to receive the intravenous drug, Yu says. Children receive the drug four days a month for five months.

About 7% of children also developed leaky blood vessels and another 7% developed allergic reactions, the study shows.

"It's a very tough treatment," Yu says. "But if we can achieve a cure for another 20% of kids, then it's worth it."

Older therapies pose their own risks. The heavy chemo that children receive early on their therapy can damage the heart and kidneys and even cause sterility or new cancers, Cheung says.

Cheung notes that doctors have been trying to spare as many children as possible from these toxic side effects, even as they struggle to save them from an aggressive disease. Doctors now try to reserve the harshest therapies for children with genetic markers indicating their tumors put them at high risk, he says. Children with low-risk neuroblastoma get a lighter type of chemotherapy, which causes fewer long-term side effects, Cheung says.

Families who are interested in the antibody for their children can still join the study, Yu says. Researchers will continue to monitor the drug's safety in order to apply for approval with the Food and Drug Administration, Yu says.

Yet the drug's future remains uncertain.

Cancers such as neuroblastoma are considered "orphan" diseases, because drugmakers are reluctant to invest heavily in such a small market, Cheung says. The National Cancer Institute provided the antibodies used in the trial because there were no drug companies willing to manufacture it. Although several companies have shown interest in the drug, none have yet committed to making it, Yu says."Now that we've discovered that this drug is useful, it's cruel not to be able to give it to someone," Cheung says. "Someone will have to maintain the supply."

Neuroblastoma Awareness: Magnets Against Cancer

A new cancer treatment that combines conventional chemotherapy with the use of magnetic particles to separate healthy from diseased cells has been tested at a London hospital. Two patients underwent the treatment for the often-fatal cancer called neuroblastoma, which affects the bone marrow, and were reported to be in good postoperative condition.

According to an announcement by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, a sponsor of the basic research, the microspheres, beads of polystyrene surrounding a magnetic core, are coated with an antibody that will recognize and attach itself to the antibodies on the cancer cells, ignoring healthy cells. Bone marrow samples are removed from a patient and passed through a container surrounded by magnets, which attract the beads and hold the tumor cells against the sides of the wall, while the normal marrow cells pass through.

Only a fraction of the marrow can be removed safely. The patient is given chemotherapy or radiation or both to kill the malignant cells in the marrow that is left behind. Then the purified marrow is returned to the bone to resume its function as the foundation of the body's immune system until the rest of the marrow, damaged by the chemotherapy used to kill the cancer cells, can regenerate. In tests, 99.9 percent of tumor cells were removed from marrow samples.

Source :

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Neuroblastoma:Youngest casualties of cancer

For all the advances that have been made against childhood cancer, it remains the leading cause of disease-related death among children younger than 15, with 1,500 fatalities a year. And while the five-year survival rate has improved in recent decades — to 80 percent, up from less than half 40 years ago — the number of cases is rising, too; it now stands at 10,000, up from 8,000 in 1975.
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David Ahntholz for The New York Times

Max Mikulak
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Michael Stravato for The New York Times

Jaiden Ramirez

More than half of childhood cancers are caused by leukemia or tumors of the central nervous system. They are generally treated the same way as adult cancers, with chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. But other issues in childhood cancer are quite different from those faced by adults.

How do parents temper their emotions, remain clearheaded and determine the best course of treatment? Will the treatment have long-term side effects, and should that matter? How does a child maintain youth and enthusiasm in the face of terrifying and debilitating illness?

Beyond the consequences of the disease itself, cancer can leave deep emotional scars on its patients and their families. It is not easy to explain cancer to a young child, let alone begin a conversation about the possibility of death.

And if a child doesn’t survive, how does a family move on?

On, six people speak from a variety of perspectives about the impact of childhood cancer on their lives. Here are three.

John Carey, Colorado Springs

Now 16, he learned he had Hodgkin’s lymphoma at age 13, and has been in remission for a few months.

I’m glad I got cancer, because it completely changed my outlook on life. I think of things completely differently, and I value life so much more.

The worst part of cancer is probably not being a normal kid and just being in a hospital while all your friends are at school. People don’t really like going to school, but when you’re in the hospital getting chemotherapy or in the doctor’s office or just sitting at home being really, really sick, it’s just not fun.

My cancer is doing pretty well. I haven’t relapsed yet, and we’re so happy for that. I’ve been feeling pretty good and just working my way to a more normal life.

Max Mikulak, San Diego

Melissa Mikulak’s son died from a neuroblastoma on Aug. 31, 2008, at age 7.

Max was told he had “no evidence of disease” when he was 4. We went home and we were ready to plow ahead. We had a great year off. And then he relapsed.

The Monday before he passed away, he was looking great. We were making pancakes for dinner. We thought we had three months left. We thought, “O.K., we’re going to have a great time,” and two days later we learned the cancer had spread into his liver.

It’s been two and a half years since he died, and we’ll always be a family of five. He’ll always be with us.

Never lose hope. Something’s going to happen where someone finds a cure for cancer. Or maybe a cure is not going to be found, but the 18 months that you have with your child could be the best 18 months ever.

Jaiden Ramirez, Houston

Toshia Ramirez’s son Jaiden, 7, has diffuse pontine glioma, an inoperable cancer surrounding his brainstem.

We spend a lot of time on our knees, praying and asking God to let Jaiden be one of the miracles.

Jaiden knows that whatever is in his head is making him sick. He knows that it makes him dizzy, makes him sick to his stomach.

I told Jaiden that there was a possibility that God would take him home with him. So he cried. He said he didn’t want to go live with God; he wanted to stay here with Mommy and Daddy.

And I cried, and I told him, “You know, I want you to stay here too, but ultimately God has the say-so, so we have to abide with his wishes.” We haven’t talked about it again. If he brings it up we talk, and if he doesn’t then we don’t.

source: New york times

After reading this article do any of you who read this site, have a comment to tell the world how neuroblastoma of a child affected your life or if your a survivor, if it made your life better or worse afterwords

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Neuroblastoma Treatments: Molecular radiotherapy offers hope for children with neuroblastoma

A new treatment option may soon be available for children with neuroblastoma according to research published in the July issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine. The study tested the principle that combined positron emission tomography and X-ray computed tomography (PET/CT) may be used to select children with primary refractory or relapsed high-risk neuroblastoma for treatment with a molecular radiotherapy known as 177Lu-DOTATATE. This therapeutic option was found to be viable option for children with neuroblastomas.

Neuroblastoma is a cancerous tumor that develops from nerve tissue in infants and children. Accounting for six to 10 percent of all childhood cancers, it does not always follow the same pattern, with some patients regressing spontaneously and other progressing, despite aggressive therapy. The long-term survival rate for neuroblastoma is below 40 percent.

"We know that peptide receptor radionuclide therapy in adults with somatostatin-positive neuroendocrine tumors has resulted in improved symptoms, prolonged survival and an enhanced quality of life. Since some neuroblastomas express somatostatin receptors, we felt this approach could be beneficial to children as well," said Jamshed B. Bomanji, MBBS, PhD, FRCR, FRCP, one of the authors of the study "177Lu-DOTATATE Molecular Radiotherapy for Childhood Neuroblastoma."

In the study, eight children with relapsed or primary refractory neuroblastoma were imaged with a 68Ga-DOTATATE PET/CT scan. If the disease sites showed 68Ga-DOTATATE uptake greater than the liver, the child was considered eligible for the molecular radiotherapy. Therapy with 177Lu-DOTATATE was determined to be suitable for six of the children and was administered appropriately.

After completing treatment with 177Lu-DOTATATE, five children had stable disease by the response evaluation criteria in solid tumors. The treatment was feasible, practical and well-tolerated in the small group of patients with high-risk neuroblastoma. As a result, the researchers plan to evaluate 177Lu-DOTATATE formally in a phase I-II clinical trial to evaluate toxicity and response.

"Molecular imaging has contributed a new diagnostic technique to map the full extent of disease. This mode of treatment has great potential for children whose treatment options are limited, as neuroblastoma often becomes resistant to chemotherapy and success is limited by poor bone marrow reserve," noted Bomanji.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Neuroblastoma Awareness: Cancers may increase diabetes risk

Childhood cancer survivors are at much greater risk of developing diabetes than their siblings, especially if their treatment involved radiation of the abdomen or total body, a new study reports.

At highest risk were adults who survived acute myeloid leukemia after total body irradiation, done in conjunction with a bone marrow transplant, the study found. Those survivors were almost 24 times as likely as their siblings to develop Type 2 diabetes as adults. Children with this form of leukemia who did not undergo total body irradiation were three times as likely as their siblings to develop diabetes.

Cancer survivors who had been treated with radiation to the abdomen were also at higher risk for diabetes, with neuroblastoma survivors at 9.2 times greater risk, and survivors of both Hodgkin's lymphoma and Wilms' tumor, a type of kidney cancer, at 2.7 times greater risk.

Many of the survivors are not obese, but radiation might have altered the way they deposit fat and contribute to their risk, said Dr. Kevin C. Oeffinger, director the Program for Adult Survivors of Pediatric Cancer at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and senior author of the study. The findings appeared in The Archives of Internal Medicine.

Dr. Oeffinger suggested cancer survivors watch their diets and get plenty of physical activity.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Neuroblastoma Treatments:Fatty Oil may be next treatment for cancer

DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), an omega-3 fatty acid found in cold water fatty fish and fish oil supplements, may be the next treatment for cancer. A new study shows that DHA and its derivatives have the ability to kill neuroblastoma cancer cells.

DHA is essential for the proper functioning of the adult brain and for the development of the nervous system and vision during the first six months of life. Along with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), the other main omega-3 fatty acid in cold water fatty fish, DHA helps lower the risk of heart disease. Although humans naturally produce small amounts of DHA, people must get the DHA they need from diet or supplements. The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that most people in the Western world do not get an adequate amount of omega-3 fatty acids from their diet.

Researchers with the new study, which was conducted at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, administered DHA to neuroblastoma cells from the nervous system and analyzed them for byproducts as the DHA broke down. They then examined the impact of both DHA and its derivatives on the growth of cancer cells. They discovered that DHA killed the cancer cells, and that the derivatives were even more effective at destroying cancer.

Helena Gleissman, PhD, co-author of the study from the Childhood Cancer Research Unit of the Karolinska Institutet, notes that “Ultimately, we hope that we can be able to cure more children with neuroblastoma, and possibly other cancers,” including medulloblastoma, colon, breast, and prostate cancers, among others.

Neuroblastoma is a cancer that often begins in early childhood, according to the National Institutes of Health. This form of cancer develops in the nerve tissues and usually begins in the adrenal glands, although it can also start in the neck, chest, or spinal cord. It can even begin before a child is born. Physicians usually do not find the cancer until it has spread to other parts of the body.

Results of the new study are “good news for those looking to stop cancer,” says Gerald Weissmann, MD, editor-in-chief of The FASEB Journal. Until now, researchers have known that DHA has the ability to prevent and treat various diseases. “Now we see that DHA or one of its byproducts might serve as the starting point for a new class of anti-cancer drugs,” notes Weissman.

Gleissman H et al. The FASEB Journal 2010; 24(3)
National Institutes of Health
University of Maryland Medical Center

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Neuroblastoma Occurency

Petition draft Tuesday, March 08, 2011 Robert Cochran
Neuroblastoma is a very aggressive form of childhood Cancer; after domestic accident, it is the second most frequent cause of mortality in children.

It is the single most common type of Cancer in infants and the 4th most common type of Cancer in children. However, few people have heard of it and most do not know the signs and symptoms.

This means that although symptoms may have been present in the child for some time, in over nearly 80% of children the diagnosis is not made until the disease has reached stage 4, the final stage. Prognosis for this group is grim, offering a small % chance of survival.

In contrast, children diagnosed in the early stages have up to a 95% chance of survival.

Treating a child who has stage 4 Neuroblastoma costs. An untold number of children per year will be diagnosed at stage 4. Many children will still not survive – largely because their symptoms were diagnosed too late.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

St Baldricks

St Baldricks is Saturday March 12 in the Villeage of Romeo, My brother Lukas will be shaving for Noah in honor of Noah fight Neuroblastoma!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


This is the donation getting page for Noah Costa who I made this site in honor of. Please take a look on the page and make a donation if you would like to support the awareness of Neuroblastoma and children's cancer in general. Thank you so much