Last Chance Kids: W5
Catalogue Number: CTV778
Subject: Canadian Social Issues, Current Events, Documentary, Family Studies/Home Economics, Health and Medicine, Medicine, Science
Grade Level: 9 - 12, Post Secondary
Country Of Origin: Canada
Copyright Year: 2019
Running Time: 20
When Dr. Marla Shapiro first started practising medicine, kids diagnosed with ALL or Acute lymphoblastic leukemia, had limited options for treatment and cure. They underwent difficult treatments including chemotherapy, radiation and stem cell transplant. For most children with ALL, those treatments were grueling, but effective. But for the children who relapsed—whose cancer returned—fewer than 10 per cent of them survived five years.
ALL is the most common childhood cancer and research into a new treatment, something called called CAR T-cell therapy, appeared so promising that it was clear that we had to follow the trail of research.
CAR-T stands for chimeric antigen receptor T-Cell therapy. Simply put, the patient’s own immune cells are taken from their blood and then in truly remarkable individualized therapy, those immune cells, their T cells, are modified so that they are able to recognize the cancer cells and kill them. The new and improved cancer killing cells are then re-injected into the patient where they go to work destroying cancer cells.
On W5’s journey we met two very special ALL patients. Jordan McInerney was four months old when she was diagnosed, and Cameron Lahti was three when he first got ill. Both went through multiple treatments—chemo, radiation; plus a bone marrow transplant for Jordan—but they both failed and relapsed.
They both joined a groundbreaking CAR T cell clinical trial conducted at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia -- their last hope.
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