Lucas, the World’s First Child to Beat Deadly Brain Tumor

So much time and money had been spent in trying to look for answers in diseases that affect many lives. A glimmer of hope shone through for those diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), which is a cancer that carries a grim prognosis. The world is now getting to know Lucas, the first child in the world to be cured of the illness.

Photo from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

The 13-year-old from Belgium was diagnosed at the age of six. Under the care of French doctor Jacques Grill at the Gustave Roussy cancer center in Paris, he recovered from a very rare and aggressive form of cancer, the deadly brainstem glioma. The cutting-edge treatment involved the use of everolimus which is a cancer drug that led to the complete disappearance of Lucas’s brain tumor.

Photo from The News International

Around 300 children in the United States and 100 in France are diagnosed with DIPG, with most of them not surviving beyond a year. Lucas and seven other children were put under the BIOMEDE trial which tests potential new drugs for DIPG, becoming the lifeline of the eight children.

A current research led by Dr. Grill is studying the genetic abnormalities of patients’ tumors in order to create tumor “organoids” to duplicate the biological particularities observed in Lucas’s case following his groundbreaking complete recovery. The potential treatment is still in its early stages, however, with Lucas’s story, all hopes are high in the scientific community to offer the possibility of a concrete treatment for this cancer.

Photo from Imagine for Margo

While this discovery is both exciting and full of optimism, researchers make it known how lengthy and intricate the process of developing a viable treatment is. According to Dr. Grill, it typically takes 10-15 years for this lead to evolve into a drug. On the bright side, DIPG has undergone significant improvements with increased funding, ongoing trials like BIOMEDE, and various other breakthroughs in the lab. 

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