‘Evan Will Get Through This’: One Mother’s Perspective

On June 16, 2019, our 4-year-old son, Evan, fell off a jungle gym at daycare. At first, his daycare provider thought he was fine. He got right up and seemed to recover. She called me and we agreed to watch him to see if there were any changes. A couple hours later, Evan started throwing … Continued

Could Leukemia Be Stopped Before It Starts? Researchers Aim to Find Out

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a blood cancer affecting both adults and children, requires more than one genetic “hit” to develop. As we age, many of us acquire a mutation that enables certain of our blood cells to multiply faster than others, forming their own distinct population. This first hit, known as “clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate … Continued

Patient, Now Cancer-Free, Forms Lifelong Friendship with Doctor

It’s impossible not to notice the connection between Crista Cardillo and Kim Stegmaier, MD. The way they laugh and swap stories might make you think they grew up down the street from one another. But their friendship began differently than most: as patient and oncologist at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. When Cardillo … Continued

After Aggressive Wilms Tumor Treatment, Eva is Back to ‘Life as Usual’

This post originally appeared on Discoveries, the blog of Boston Children’s Hospital. Eva Quiroz loves horses. The 10 year old takes riding lessons, and this activity puts a smile on her face. Anyone watching her contentedly guiding a horse around the ring would just assume she has always been a healthy child, says her mom … Continued

New Drug Regimen Proves Ideal for Patient with Rare Genetic Disease

In golf, the best shot isn’t always the one that goes the furthest. Sometimes, a golfer should “lay up,” or play conservatively. Exchanging power for precision and avoiding potential hazards can set them up for what’s next. Avid golfer Evan Cornelius, 20, understands this better than most. So when it came time for him to … Continued

For Families Facing Malignant Rhabdoid Tumors, Reasons to Hope

Watching her deftly maneuver a playground with a huge smile on her face makes it hard to imagine that Anabella Trillo, 3, once faced challenges far greater than a jungle gym. In fact, she has already endured surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and a stem cell transplant for one of the most aggressive pediatric cancers: a malignant … Continued

A Big Step Toward Curbing Graft-vs.-Host Disease After Bone Marrow Transplant

This post originally appeared on Discoveries, the blog of Boston Children’s Hospital. A drug used for rheumatoid arthritis has moved a step closer to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for a desperately needed new use. The drug, abatacept, has gained FDA breakthrough therapy designation for preventing acute, severe graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in patients receiving bone … Continued

Bone Cancer in Children: What are the Latest Treatment Options?

Medically reviewed by Katherine A. Janeway, MD Cancer affecting the bones may be primary (a cancer that develops within the bone) or metastatic (spreading to bones from elsewhere in the body). Many primary bone tumors are benign (noncancerous), but others are malignant. Treatment options for bone tumors include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, cryosurgery (freezing cancer … Continued

Drug Shows Promise as First Definitive Treatment for Rare Anemia

Medically reviewed by Rachael Grace, MD In the mid-1960s, David G. Nathan, MD, president emeritus of Dana-Farber and, at that time, a hematologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, published some of the first reports on a rare, inherited type of anemia caused by the breakdown of red blood cells because of a lack of a key … Continued

How Families are Reshaping Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome Research

This article originally appeared on Discoveries, the blog of Boston Children’s Hospital. No one knew the heartache about to unfold when Savannah and Brett Lillywhite first began thinking about having a family 10 years ago. The Lillywhites Savannah and Brett are both the unlikely carriers of a rare condition called Shwachman-Diamond syndrome — SDS for short — … Continued

Pediatric Cancer Survivor Begins Road to Recovery

At just 14 years old, Kaitlyn Vu was asked to accept a drastic, life-altering surgery. In early 2019, she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma — a rare type of bone cancer that ultimately led to the amputation of her left foot. Kaitlyn’s ability to meet each challenge of her diagnosis with a combination of grace and … Continued

While Enjoying College, Ewing Sarcoma Survivor Looks to Her Past

It lacks sunsets and skylines, but Maddie Carlson loves the view from her dorm room at Emmanuel College in Boston. If the 20-year-old junior sticks her head out the window at just the right angle, she can almost make out a portion of the place she credits for saving her life after she was diagnosed … Continued

Teen Cancer Survivor Rediscovers Her Confidence

At just 18 years old, Gabbi Stewart is a two-time survivor of two very different types of cancer. While her care team acted quickly to aggressively treat her most recent cancer, Stewart was faced with what she says was her greatest challenge: building back up the self-confidence the disease had eroded. A rare diagnosis In … Continued

CAR T-Cell Therapy for Pediatric Patients: The Latest Updates

Since it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the fall of 2017, a form of the powerful and promising therapy known as CAR T-cell therapy has been used to treat certain young patients with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) who have relapsed or didn’t respond to standard regimens. Today, researchers … Continued

Pediatric Kidney Cancer Survivor Pays it Forward

Three-year-old Lia Scagnoli skipped across the “Bridge of Hope” connecting Boston Children’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute each time she had a chemotherapy infusion or other treatment for pediatric kidney cancer at Dana-Farber’s Jimmy Fund Clinic. Caregivers offering equal parts love, hope, and fun diversions gave her and her family a feeling of confidence that … Continued

Immunotherapy for Pediatric Solid Tumors: What’s New?

Medically reviewed by Natalie Collins, MD, PhD New treatments that spur the immune system against cancer have entered the clinic to combat some forms of pediatric blood cancers, such as acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). One form of immunotherapy, CAR T cells, has been approved for children and young adults with ALL. In treating solid tumors … Continued

Exploring Targeted Treatments for Children with Low-Grade Brain Tumors

A version of this article was published on Discoveries, the blog of Boston Children’s Hospital. Children diagnosed with low-grade astrocytomas, the most common type of pediatric brain tumor, have more than a 90 percent chance of being cured. Yet in the process, the standard treatments (neurosurgery and chemotherapy) for this form of tumor can cause serious … Continued

What’s New in the Treatment of Pediatric Leukemia?

Medically reviewed by Lewis Silverman, MD A greater understanding of the genomics of pediatric leukemia — the genetic errors and irregularities that underlie the disease — has enabled researchers to divide the disease into additional subtypes. This has improved physicians’ ability to identify patients with an increased risk of relapse and to prescribe treatments to … Continued