New Treatment For Child Bone Cancer

Monday, August 07, 2006

Doctors are trying a new approach to treat a rare childhood bone cancer that can be fatal because it spreads to the lungs. Instead of using traditional chemotherapy, a different form of the drug may help minimize side effects and target tumors.

Cheryl Hatton is living a parent's worst nightmare.

Cheryl Hatton, child has cancer: "She used to tell me she wished she died because it hurt too much, all the time."

Her 17-year-old daughter Rebecca has Osteosarcoma a rare bone cancer that spread to her lungs and required aggressive chemotherapy.

Rebecca West: "It's a little hard because I'm a girl and losing your hair is not fun, and being away from school and friends is a little hard."

Cheryl Hatton, child has cancer: "It's like watching someone torture your child week after week."

But now Rebecca is trying a new type of chemo. It's inhaled instead of given through an IV. A tent is used, so the chemo doesn't get into the atmosphere.

Richard Gorlick, M.D., Pediatric Oncologist: "Inhalation chemotherapy is a means of targeting chemotherapy that it goes selectively to the lungs and has much lower concentrations in the blood stream."

Inhaling a medication is a good way to get it into your system, especially when you're trying to treat lung cancer. More chemo reaches the targeted cancer cells, yet patients experience fewer side effects. So far, it's shrunk Rebecca's tumor.

Rebecca West: "I get a little nauseous."

The drug being inhaled is Cisplatin. For the clinical trial, it's being inhaled and given through an IV.

Richard Gorlick, M.D.: "So you couldn't use this as a replacement yet, but hopefully in the future."

Rebecca West: "I try to be positive on it cause you don't always wanna be negative about it all the time, and feeling sorry for yourself."

It's that attitude that keeps Rebecca's mom strong as she watches with hope.

Doctors say, if the study is successful, inhalation chemotherapy may be helpful in treating any cancer that begins in the lungs or spreads there.

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