WARNING: Get a box of Kleenex before you read this post! I am NOT joking.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post on how scientists are using a genetically modified herpes simplex-1 virus to attack metastatic melanoma (an oncolytic, ie kills tumor cells, virus). The results of their clinical trials blew my mind.

Today I found out (thanks to an awesome reader!), that they are trying a similar protocol in a 13 year old kid with rhabdomyosarcoma. What this boy has been through:

Now 13-years-old, Evan was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma in June 2008 at the age of 11…
… He’s endured 28 rounds of radiation, and 52-weeks of a phase III chemotherapy protocol. After a brief three-month remission, the cancer returned in December 2009. Since then Evan has undergone several months of a phase II chemo, a phase I chemo trial in St. Louis, and made history by becoming the first participant in a phase I virus trial in Cincinnati.

Holy crap.

The tumor is in his brain, so heres what they had to do to get the genetically modified HSV-1 into it:

As Steve posted, yesterday’s procedure went exactly as planned. The interventional radiology team inserted a long, thin needle through Evan’s right cheek, maneuvering through bones, blood vessels, etc. to reach the tumor in his head. They chose an area that showed a large amount of cancerous activity on the scans and injected the virus, pulled back on the needle and released more virus into a second nearby location.
…Evan had quite a bit of pain throughout the night, but the medical team here has been excellent and very responsive to his needs. He’s resting comfortably now and if his pain stays managed we’ll be discharged and return to our hotel later today.

Shiiiiiit…

May the Force be with you, kid.

Comments

  1. #1 jaranath
    May 7, 2010

    How cool is it to see viruses being used to bring HOPE to people? :)

    I also like that I haven’t seen signs of woo in the family’s blog…just a whole lotta prayin’. I’ll take that over some Hoxsey scammer any day.

  2. #2 Prometheus
    May 7, 2010

    One of our friends had an eleven year old with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. They buried him about ten months ago.

    I was okay until I watched the “thank you” video on Evan’s site.

    28 rounds of radiation?

    ugh.

  3. #3 MikeG
    May 7, 2010

    Holy F^@K! That’s too much to ask of a kid. I wish him all the best.

    I can only hope to be that brave should I or anyone close to me be in a similar situation.

    Wow. Go dude!

  4. #4 Sili
    May 8, 2010

    inserted a long, thin needle through Evan’s right cheek, maneuvering through bones, blood vessels, etc.

    Ouch.

    I guess this is one of those “the Lord works in mysterious ways” things, right?

  5. #5 Michelle
    May 8, 2010

    I. Love. Science.

  6. #6 ERV
    May 8, 2010

    Michelle– Or as Randy Marsh would say “I LOVE THE FUTURE!!!”

    Sure we dont have our hoverboards yet, but Im sure excited about doing stuff like this!

  7. #7 Michelle
    May 9, 2010

    I think if it’s a toss-up between flying cars and curing childhood cancers, I will give the thumbs-up to curing cancer.

  8. #8 momkat
    May 10, 2010

    In the 60s, a dermatologist tried an experimental protocol using smallpox vaccine to innoculate a large restrictive wart on my right thumb. Scabbed up and healed nicely, never to return. Apparently, the research didn’t pan out to make this a standard treatment because I’ve never heard of anyone else having this done. Yes, having the science to harness a devastating virus for good is an incredible feat. We live in a marvelous era. May Evan live to see even more fantastic times.

  9. #9 jaranath
    May 12, 2010

    Unfortunately the family is reporting the therapy isn’t working, and he’s returned home to a Springfield hospital by helicopter. :(

  10. #10 Carolyn
    September 14, 2010

    I pray that Evan and family are doing as best they can. May love and God be with you. My 13 yr old girl Rachel fought Rhabdomyosarcoma for 2 years. Rachel lost that fight in January 2010. I pray the cure will soon be found. Unfortunately my sadness will remain with me.

  11. #11 dorit mordehay
    January 13, 2011

    my daughter was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma alvelor
    she relasped after 5 weeks off chemo in the brain
    had it surgically removed then she did 20 days of radiation
    We found out that she has possible tumors in the pelvic right side bones we will know more tommorow.
    They want to put her on a low dose chemo and now we have to pray
    will this hsv-1 help my daughter please let me know where i can do this trial and if this will help her

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