Home / News / Health / A 13-year-old boy has been successfully treated for a terminal brain tumor, marking a groundbreaking achievement

A 13-year-old boy has been successfully treated for a terminal brain tumor, marking a groundbreaking achievement

A youngster afflicted with a fatal kind of brain tumor called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) has achieved a full recovery, marking the first instance of such an outcome. Previously, physicians could only provide radiation as a means to decelerate the progression of the disease. However, this significant advancement provides optimism for a more efficient kind of treatment.

DIPG, which mostly affects children, is an uncommon but highly malignant kind of cancer. Regrettably, given the tumor’s location in the brainstem, surgical intervention to eliminate the malignancy is unfeasible, resulting in a mere average survival period of nine to 10 months.

Lucas, a resident of Belgium, received a diagnosis of the condition at the age of 6. In a state of urgent need, his parents brought him to France, where he was enrolled in BIOMEDE research, which focuses on eradicating DIPG using biological medicine.

Commenced in 2014, BIOMEDE conducted a comparative analysis of the efficacy of three distinct cancer medications: erlotinib, everolimus, and dasatinib. Significantly, researchers first obtained a minuscule portion of the tumor from each patient by means of a needle to perform a biopsy and examine the molecular characteristics of each specific malignancy.

This facilitated physicians in prescribing the best appropriate drug based on the biopsy findings of individual patients. Lucas, along with 232 other individuals diagnosed with DIPG, participated in the trial and received treatment with everolimus.

Dr. Jacques Grill, the chief researcher of BIOMEDE, said in an interview with AFP that Lucas defied all expectations and, at the age of 13, is still free from cancer. “Throughout a sequence of MRI scans, I observed the complete disappearance of the tumor,” said Grill.

Out of the seven other youngsters included in the experiment, Lucas was the only one to experience the total disappearance of his tumor, while the others lived for many years after being diagnosed. “I am unaware of any other instance similar to his anywhere in the world,” Grill said.

Scientists are now endeavoring to ascertain the reasons for varying levels of treatment effectiveness across patients. It is quite probable that the molecular disparities between different types of cancer contribute significantly to this phenomenon. Grill states that Lucas’s tumor has an exceptionally uncommon mutation that we think heightened its cells’ susceptibility to the treatment.

Everolimus was selected as the candidate medicine for BIOMEDE 2.0, which commenced in September 2022, based on the findings of the original BIOMEDE trial that concluded in 2019. Scientists are endeavoring to generate clusters of cells called cancer organoids that accurately replicate the genetic irregularities seen in patients’ malignancies.

If the scientists can accurately replicate the characteristics seen in Lucas’s DIPG, they may use these artificially cultivated cells to evaluate the efficacy of novel medications.

Nevertheless, despite the excitement around this discovery, Grill asserts that a viable remedy for the condition is still distant, since drugs undergo an extensive process from inception to broad implementation.

“The process of developing a drug typically spans a duration of 10–15 years from the initial discovery of a lead,” he said, emphasizing the lengthy and intricate nature of this undertaking.

About Chambers

Check Also

With an eye on AI, Amazon adds Andrew Ng to its board. Former MTV executive McGrath will step down

If what corporate boards of directors do can show where a company wants to focus, …