The remarkable recovery from one of the deadliest pediatric brain cancers

Lucas had been diagnosed with brainstem glioma, one of the deadliest types of pediatric brain cancer, at 6 years old. Now he is cured and his brain has no sign of a tumor: it is the first case in the world

In an unprecedented medical triumph, a young Belgian boy named Lucas, aged thirteen, has defied all odds by recovering from a brainstem glioma, one of the deadliest forms of pediatric brain cancer. This rare case of recovery offers a glimmer of hope for treating an otherwise inoperable tumor.

Lucas’s journey: from diagnosis to cure

At the tender age of six, Lucas was diagnosed with a nearly incurable disease. Fast forward to today, he is considered cured, showing no signs of the tumor in his brain. Jacques Grill, a leading figure in the brain tumor program at the Gustave-Roussy pediatric oncology department in southern Paris, shared his astonishment at Lucas’s recovery.

Brainstem glioma, a non-operable tumor, is traditionally managed with radiotherapy. While it can slow down the disease, the effects are only temporary, and no drugs have been fully effective until now.

A pioneering clinical trial

Lucas was among the first to participate in a clinical trial for a new medication, marking a significant step forward in pediatric tumor treatment. Despite the overall five-year survival rate for childhood tumors being 85%, brainstem glioma presents a grim prognosis, affecting 50 to 100 children and adolescents annually in France.

Recalling the emotional moment from seven years ago, when he had to inform Lucas’s parents of their son’s dire prognosis, Dr. Grill highlighted the family’s journey to France in search of treatment through a targeted therapy clinical trial.

Lucas responded exceptionally well to the treatment, leading to the complete disappearance of his tumor as observed in MRI scans. Despite these extraordinary outcomes, Dr. Grill cautiously continued the treatment.

The key to Lucas’s recovery

Dr. Grill attributes Lucas’s extended life expectancy to the “biological peculiarities of his tumor,” emphasizing the tumor’s rare mutation that made the cancer cells highly sensitive to the medication. This discovery offers a beacon of hope, as Marie-Anne Debily, overseeing these studies, and her team aim to replicate Lucas’s cellular mutations in vitro.

The medical teams are eager to see if replicating Lucas’s DNA alterations in other patients could also lead to tumor reduction. The next step would involve finding a medication that can mimic these cellular changes’ effects on cancer cells.

Source: Agence France Press (AFP)

The article draws upon studies published and recommendations from international institutions and/or experts. We do not make claims in the medical-scientific field and report the facts as they are. Sources are indicated at the end of each article.
Condividi su Whatsapp Condividi su Linkedin