I actually had to pull over along my drive back from San Francisco to write this post. This. Is. EXCITING NEWS!!! I just received a news brief stating that the FDA just approved the use of CAR t-Cell Immunotherapy for refractory (or relapsed) acute lymphoblastic leukemia!!!
You see, a special cancer mom came to me a couple of years ago wanting to raise funds for Team G Childhood Cancer Foundation. Denise Vernacchia’s daughter Sofia had recently been diagnosed with leukemia. She has heard about a project going on at Lucile Packard where the immune system was modified to fight cancer….instead of chemotherapy, doctors would modify the patients own immune system. They would take the T cells, adding on a receptor that targets a marker on the cancer cells, and give these back to the patient to fight the cancer. This groundbreaking work which happened in trials at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). CHOP collaborated with many more hospitals and doctors brought these trials to Lucile Packard where Denise and her motivation helped Team G fund $20,000 to train the staff at Packard in administering this treatment. Along the way, we met Gabi, who’s daughter Giselle was also fighting leukemia. Gabi helped us fund $11,117 to Dr. Crystal Mackall at Lucile Packard, who is pioneering many of these trials at Stanford Children’s.IT FINALLY GOT FDA APPROVAL!!!!
Another amazing Cancer Mom, Gina Raiola Rodriguez raised some incredible funds through The Bay Club this past September since her daughter, Sofia was also diagnosed with leukemia. Through this donation, we were able to fund another $40,000 to Immunotherapy!!! Now, our latest $40,000 that went to Packard is working on not just one receptor and marker (CD19)…..but TWO CD19 and CD22!! Two targets that will go after the cancer cells….and KILL it!!
I was in tears leaving a message for Denise. In my own personal quest to help pediatric cancer families by obtaining my nurse practitioner in pedi oncology, I seen the devastation that cancer leaves on families. And I still have hope….lots and lots of HOPE.