New cancer treatment works for boy with cancer lymphoma
POSTED: Sunday, June 24, 2012 - 8:00am
UPDATED: Sunday, June 24, 2012 - 8:04am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — A new cancer drug is bringing hope to some children battling the disease.
The treatment worked for one young boy when nothing else would.
Pam and John Witt recently called their four older children home to say goodbye to their youngest, Zach.
A relapse of the cancer lymphoma was overwhelming his little body.
His parents feared the unspeakable.
Doctors offered more aggressive chemotherapy, but Zach remembers how sick it made him.
"I was moving all around because I was so scared that I was dying, I went home and I had to lie on the sofa like all day long because I was so dizzy," he says.
Instead, the Witts chose to take part in a trial of the oral medication Crizotinib.
It works by turning off the abnormal ALK gene which fuels some cancers, but leaves healthy tissue unharmed.
Twenty-eight days after treatment most of the cancer in Zach's body was simply gone.
Dr. Yael Mosse and her team discovered that ALK is present in some childhood lymphomas and neuroblastomas, the cancer that took the life of Alex Scott, whose lemonade foundation funded some of the science behind the discovery.
Zach started improving after just two days.
Another child, 2 year old Edie Gilger, wasn't expected to survive an advanced case of neuroblastoma, but she is now cancer free after taking the drug for six months.
The Witts say even if doctors aren't ready to call Zach cured, they feel blessed that his deadly cancer is in check.