Boy, 4, donates blood cells to fight neuroblastoma

HOUSTON, Texas (Ivanhoe Newswire) - Neuroblastoma accounts for 6 percent of all cancers in children and is deadly in kids under 5. Many times, the cancer spreads to the lymph nodes before parents even notice a lump. A 4-year-old boy who fought the disease is now helping other kids who are going through the same thing. 

After two years of fighting neuroblastoma, Cashel can’t get enough of everything this playground has to offer.

“He had chemo. He had stem cell transplant which is high-dose chemo, too. They rescue it with their own stem cells,” Cashel’s mom, Alita Conoley-Wurzbach, said.

Plus, 12 rounds of radiation and immunotherapy. The cancer was first discovered as a lump on his neck, but the primary tumor was a grapefruit-sized one on his stomach.

“He had his primary tumor removed. That was a 14-hour surgery here at Texas Children’s,” said Conoley-Wurzbach.

This trip, Cashel donated his own blood cells to boost the research.

Andras Heczey, MD, a Pediatric Oncologist at Texas Children’s Hospital/Baylor College of Medicine is looking at genetically engineering natural killer t-cells which help fight neuroblastoma.

“What if we genetically engineer t-cells to specifically attack the tumor cells, as well,” said Dr. Heczey.

The clinical trial is evaluating a therapy called CMD-501, in which the patient’s natural killer t-cells are genetically modified in the lab, to better attach to tumors. But for now, Cashel and his mom have a feeling of …

“Empowerment, because there is so little control you have over as a parent with a sick child,” Conoley-Wurzbach shared.

A little guy who is now healthy and helping others beat this tough disease.

This is an approved research study that uses natural killer t-cells to fight neuroblastoma.  Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston is still recruiting participants. For more information, go to https://www.texaschildrens.org/node/87646

Contributors to this news report include: Donna Parker, Field Producer; Larry Burns, Videographer; Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Hayley Hudson, Assistant Producer; Dave Harrison, Editor.

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