HOUSTON, Texas. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Each year in the U.S., about 4,000 children are diagnosed with brain tumors. Most are treated with surgery, radiation and high doses of chemotherapy, which can have debilitating side effects. Now, a new way of thinking targets the tumor and leaves these toxic side effects behind.
Sydnie Reedy loves a good joke. Even when there’s not much to laugh about.
“I was diagnosed in 2011 with Medulloblastoma. I was 13,” said Reedy.
She’s 20 now. She’s battled brain tumors for a third of her life. She’s fighting her fifth recurrence with a treatment pioneered by Dr. David Sandberg.
“We’re trying something new because I think the current treatments that are available for children with these brain tumors are entirely inadequate,” explained David I. Sandberg, MD, FAANS, FACS, FAAP, Professor and Director, Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery and Dr. Marnie Rose Professorship in Pediatric Neurosurgery, McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. (Read Full Interview)
Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Mischer Neuroscience Institute/Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.
Standard chemo must cross the well-guarded blood-brain barrier to reach brain tumors. It takes high doses, which kill healthy cells too. To get chemo where it’s needed with fewer side effects, Sandberg is injecting it into the brain’s fourth ventricle.
Dr. Sandberg commented, “This is a new approach and we’re at the beginning of a journey.”
Sydnie was treated in 2014 and went into remission. But her tumor returned, and now she’s getting a higher dose.
“I’m looking for treatments that help them have a better quality of life,” said Dr. Sandberg.
Sydnie says her family and faith have helped her through her darkest moments. She’s already learned what many people never will.
Reedy stated, “We take for granted, the breath of air that we take in you know. Our parents, our family, the little things are the big things.”
And that means slipping in a good joke whenever she can.
With Sydnie’s latest round of treatment, there was no definitive change in her tumors, so Dr. Sandberg has scheduled her for yet another round of the same treatment. He cautions that this treatment is still under study and is not a home run for everyone, but it does offer promise for children like Sydnie who have failed all other treatments.
Contributors to this news report include: Stacie Overton, Field Producer; Bruce Maniscalco, Videographer; Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Gabriella Battistiol, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.
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TOPIC: A CHEMO SHOT TO THE BRAIN!
REPORT: MB #4369
BACKGROUND: A brain tumor is a growth or mass of abnormal cells in or around the brain. Different types of brain tumors exist; some are cancerous or malignant while others are benign or noncancerous. Brain tumors can begin in your brain, or can spread to your brain from cancer in other areas of the body (secondary or metastatic brain tumors). How quickly a brain tumor may grow will vary as well as the location of the tumor, and these will both influence how the tumor affects the function of the nervous system. Symptoms vary greatly, but may include; unexplained nausea or vomiting, difficulty with balance and speech, personality or behavior changes, seizures, hearing problems, confusion, headaches that become more frequent and more severe or new onset and change in patterns of these headaches, as well as vision problems. Types of brain tumors include choroid plexus carcinoma, embryonal tumors, craniopharyngioma, ependymoma, medulloblastoma, pineoblastoma.
TREATMENT OPTIONS: Treatment for brain tumors will be based upon many factors, such as a patient’s age, health, medical history, the type, size, and location of the tumor itself, how likely the tumor is to spread or recur post-treatment, and a patients tolerance for particular medications, therapies, or procedures. Treatment may include watchful monitoring, surgery, scans, radiation, chemotherapy, or clinical trial if one is available. Microscopic tumor cells can remain after surgery and will eventually grow back, so all treatment is intended to prolong and improve life for as long as possible. Additional treatment options may include targeted therapy or tumor treating fields. Long-term planning may be necessary, and can include follow-up care, rehabilitation, and supportive/palliative care.
NEW TECHNOLOGY: Doctor David Sandberg has pioneered a new treatment for brain tumors, particularly for children. Standard chemo which can kill healthy cells, may affect children more than adults. To get the chemo where it needs to be with fewer of these side effects, Dr. Sandberg injects the treatment into the brain’s fourth ventricle, using a syringe. This treatment may be necessary for multiple rounds depending on the patient, and it is still under study. However, it provides another promising option for children with cancer who haven’t had any luck with other treatments.
(Source: David I. Sandberg, MD, FAANS, FACS, FAAP)
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Deborah Mann Lake
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