Boy becomes first person ever to be cured of terminal brain cancer

The 13-year-old boy from Belgium has defied expectations and made a full recovery.
A young boy who was diagnosed with cancer at just six years old has become the first person in history to be cured of terminal brain cancer.

Lucas Jemeljanova suffered for over six years with a very rare and aggressive brain tumour called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG).
This particular form of brain cancer is considered to be deadly and kills 98 per cent of sufferers within five years.

Roughly 300 children a year are diagnosed with DIPG, according to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

DIPG is typically found in children between ages five and nine and this type of tumor is located at the base of the brain and the top of the spine.

Some of the first symptoms of the tumor are problems with eye movement, facial weakness, difficulty walking, strange limb movements and problems with balance.

In Lucas’ case, his parents became concerned while on a family holiday when Lucas appeared to struggle to walk straight, had difficulty peeing, would pass out and suffered nose bleeds.
Up until a few years ago, the only known and trusted form of treatment that medics have been able to offer for this particular kind of cancer is radiotherapy, but recently, tests have been carried out on new medicines under a study known as Biological Medicine for DIPG Eradication.

Lucas was one of a handful of children chosen to be tested as part of the study, and reacted well to the treatment initially.

As time went on, the seven other children in the trial had their tumours shrink dramatically and their life expectancy increased.

Lucas, incredibly, was the only one in the experiment when had his tumour disappear completely.

Jacques Grill, a specialist at the Gustave Roussy cancer treatment centre in Villejuif, France, was astonished by Lucas’ recovery and said: “I don’t know of any other case like him in the world.”

He told AFP: “Over a series of MRI scans, I watched as the tumour completely disappeared.”
The particular drug that was given to Lucas was called Everolimus and had never been used in the treatment of DIPG before.

It works by blocking a protein called mTOR, which is involved in the division and growth of cancerous cells.

The researchers involved in the study are now trying to reproduce the difference seen in Lucas’s cells.

“Lucas is believed to have had a particular form of the disease.

“We must understand what and why to succeed in medically reproducing in other patients what happened naturally with him,” Dr Grill said.

Lucas’ mother, Olesja, has posted regular updates on her son’s recovery on her Facebook page. He has been in remission for five years and shows no trace of the condition that once dominated his life.

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