This Week in Neuroblastoma – 12/3/12

Did you miss us last week? No worries, we’ve rounded up some extra special articles to make up for it.

Here’s this week’s links…

Kids – Why We Fight

Savannah Montoya

At just 4 months old, Savannah has a lot to be thankful for. Her parents, Samuel Montoya and Shenandoah Stevens couldn’t ask for more this holiday season than more time with their baby girl. At 2 months old, Savannah’s mom took her to the doctor for a regular check up. It was then that a malformation in her ear was discovered, prompting her doctor to order an ultrasound on her kidneys. The diagnosis: neuroblastoma, a tumor on her adrenal gland. Savannah’s tumor was removed during an almost two hour surgery, and her doctors say that there is a 90% chance that it will NOT return! Way to go, Savannah!

Non-Profits / Events / News

Exciting Advancements in Treatment

It’s always encouraging to hear of new discoveries in the fight against childhood cancer, and this could be a potentially huge one! Researchers at the University of New South Wales in Australia have developed small, but mighty, nanoparticals that help deliver nitric oxide to neuroblastoma cells during chemotherapy. This delivery method increases the effectiveness of the chemo, which could potentially reduce the amount of chemo needed to 1/5 of the normal dose, reducing patients’ side effects and cutting the risk of long-term damage for cancer survivors. This all may sound like a different language to you, but it translates to something we call all understand – PROGRESS!

River Hawks Raise Awareness

Movember isn’t just for prostates anymore! The UMass Lowell River Hawks grew out their mustaches this November in support of Neuroblastoma. This is part of an initiative to link college hockey teams with children fighting cancer. Let’s beat the puck outta cancer, eh?

Sir Richard Branson Spreads the Wealth

3 year old Braiden Prescott is finally making his way to America for treatments to help rid him of neuroblastoma. The Neuroblastoma Alliance UK is footing the bill for Braiden’s treatments up front, and his community continues to help his family fund raise in order to pay the foundation back. Most recently, Sir Richard Branson, most widely known as the founder and chairman of the Virgin Group, has agreed to pay for Braiden’s flights to and from the UK. Braiden and his family, including his younger brother Tyler, will spend the next six months in America.

River Hawks – Fully Grown

So, remember a few links ago when we told you about the River Hawks raising money for neuroblastoma? We knew you really wanted to see the ‘staches they were able to grow through the month of November, so we’re writing about them again. Check out the link to see their ‘Fully Grown’ photos. The River Hawks were successful in raising $5412.67 to benefit NB research. They’ve done this in memory of a fallen teammate, Nick DeFelice, who had been diagnosed with neuroblastoma at young age and passed away in June. Nick was honored at the River Hawks’ December 1st game.

A Song for Lily Mae

Over 300 Irish musicians have come together to create beautiful music for Lily Mae Morrison, a sweet 4 year old battling stage 4 neuroblastoma. The musicians have covered Elton John’s ‘Tiny Dancer’, fitting for a little girl who dreams of growing up to be a professional ballerina. The group of musical masterminds have set out to make Lily Mae’s song number one on the Christmas music charts, not only to raise funds for Lily Mae’s treatment, but to ‘make neuroblastoma a cancer that people don’t have to google’.

Important Discoveries May Aid in Early Detection

A recent genome sequencing study by scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has shown that patients with mutations in two genes, ARID1A and ARID1b, have a significantly smaller chance of survival than those without them. According to Mark Sausen, a John Hopkins graduate, “Finding cancer-specific alterations in the blood could help clinicians monitor patients for relapse and determine whether residual cancer cells remain in the body after surgery.” The group of scientists is working hard to further their knowledge on the genes and how detecting them could effect prognosis. Keep up the good work, guys!

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