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Immunotherapy May Help Stop Cancer Recurrence


Cancer can never really be “cured” – one just goes into “remission” because the cancer can come back at any time, and when it does it is generally a far worse strain.

Cancer Survivors live their lives knowing that they have this “time-bomb” inside of them that may go off again at any time, and that there is absolutely nothing that they can do about it – one just lives with the constant fear of recurrence.

New research by Mayo Clinic’s Tim Kottke and his team, which was recently published in the journal Cancer Immunology Research, may hold some hope though.

The new research was a collaborative effort among scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, the Leeds Institute of Cancer and Pathology, and the University of Surrey in Guildford — all of which are in the United Kingdom — and researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.

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Dedication to Aleem, Mommy Kaneez, Sister Kamie & Family


It is once again with a heavy heart that I sit here in the early hours of the morning trying to find the words to write….

Today is Diwali, the Festival of Lights, a day of celebration that spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair.

Today is also the day that our Little Fighter, Aleem’s greatest wish would have been made manifest as he would have flown up to Durban with his mommy Kaneez and sister Kamie to meet Gambit the Dolphin at uShaka Marine World today.

Today is also the day that Aleem’s Family and Loved Ones will say their final goodbyes as his funeral takes place at 9am…

Emotions are all over the place… there are no words…

 

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Liquid Biopsy New Hope for Precision Therapies for Retinoblastoma Tumours


Retinoblastoma is a type of eye cancer that develops in the light-sensitive lining of the eye, called the retina.

Retinoblastoma can occur at any age but mainly occurs in children younger than 5 years of age and most often in those younger than 2.

In many developing countries where tumours can progress until they literally burst out of eyes, retinoblastoma remains an often fatal diagnosis, whereas in other countries the survival rate has risen to 98%.

Retinoblastoma was one of the first cancers to have its genetic origins identified in the late 1980s — a finding that helped launch the current era of personalised treatments that have transformed treatment of breast, lung, and prostate cancer.

To date though, children who develop these rare tumours have not benefited from that wave of precision diagnostics and therapies. This is mainly due to the fact that doctors have not been able to biopsy the tumours for genetic information that could guide treatment, without removing the very eyes the clinicians are trying so hard to save.

You can read about our own Little Fighter, Helen’s story HERE

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Honouring Aleem Bowman – 👼 Forever 5 👼


Last week we put out a plea for donations to help make a make a last wish come true for young Aleem, a 5-year-old boy with terminal cancer.

It is with overwhelming sadness and aching hearts that today we have to share with you the heartbreaking news that Little Fighter Aleem Bowman earned his Angel Wings at 19H20 last night, 15th October.

Rest in Peace, Aleem ^Forever 5^

Aleem would have flown to Durban with his mom and sister – accompanied by Mandie from the Little Fighters Cancer Trust – this coming Thursday to meet Gambit and the other dolphins at uShaka Marine World…

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What will CAR T-Cell Therapy for Paediatric ALL Treatment Mean to Africa?


Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-Cell Therapy is a form of cancer immunotherapy which seeks to sharpen and strengthen the immune system’s inherent cancer-fighting powers.

CAR T-Cell Therapy was approved in August 2017 ~ the first time that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved CAR T-cell therapy for a form of cancer ~ for the treatment of paediatric and young adult patients with B-cell ALL that has relapsed or hasn’t responded to previous treatments.

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) is a type of leukaemia in which a group of white blood cells, called lymphocytes, are affected. Leukaemia is the most common form of cancer in children, and about 80% of children with leukaemia have Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.

CAR T-Cell Therapy involves treating patients with modified versions of their own immune system T cells ­– white blood cells that help protect the body from disease.

Lewis Silverman, MD, Clinical Director of the Hematologic Malignancy Center at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, said:

It’s a very exciting development in our ability to treat childhood ALL. It offers hope to those that we haven’t been able to treat with conventional therapy. This is a hugely exciting time in childhood leukaemia research”

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❣️URGENT❣️ Help Make a Dying Boy’s Wish Come True 🙏


Today we put out a very urgent plea for help to make a wish come true for young Aleem, a 5-year-old boy with terminal cancer.

Little Fighter Aleem Bowman was born on 25 July 2012. When he was admitted to Red Cross Children’s Hospital on 15 September 2016, he was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma.

Aleem went through RCCH High Risk Neuroblastoma Protocol until April 2017, which included tests, scans, blood work, regular transfusions, hospitalisation, intensive chemotherapy and other treatments, and loads more.

Mommy Kaneez, a single mother, has had to handle a lot, and unfortunately this became even worse when the doctors informed her recently that there are simply no more treatment options for Aleem. He was on maintenance chemo for a short while, which was given purely to extend the time he has with his family, but even the maintenance chemo has now been stopped, as it serves no purpose anymore, and could now be harmful.

Aleem lives with his mommy (who had to give up her job to look after Aleem) and his older sister Kami at Kaneez’s elderly Parents’ home. Things have been very difficult for this family and The Little Fighters Cancer Trust has been offering whatever assistance we could such as food, clothing, bedding, and other practical needs since 7 October 2016.

Aleem was friends with another Little Fighter who lost his Fight last year, but who, before he died got his greatest wish and was able to visit Durban and have a very special interaction with the dolphins at Ushaka Marine World. Aleem saw the photographs, and has been talking about the dolphins for months!

Last week LFCT received a letter from Aleem’s Oncologist, positive about this travel and clearing him medically for the trip!

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Powerful Resource to Advance Treatment of Childhood Solid Tumours Unveiled at St. Jude


In an effort to improve outcomes for patients with some of the deadliest Childhood Cancers, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital scientists have created the world’s largest collection of Childhood solid tumour samples, drug-sensitivity data and related information and have made the resource available at no charge to the global scientific community.

St. Jude and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute collaborated to create the resource, known as the Childhood Solid Tumour Network (CSTN), which was launched in 2013.

Survival rates for children with recurrent solid tumours have not improved significantly in more than 20 years and remain below 30 %,” said corresponding author Michael Dyer, Ph.D., Chair of the St. Jude Department of Developmental Neurobiology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. “This research will change that by promoting scientific collaboration to leverage the efforts of researchers worldwide to advance understanding and ultimately treatment of Childhood solid tumours.”

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Should Junk Food Adverts be Banned?


For the first time in history, there are more obese individuals in the world than underweight people. Both are symptoms of malnutrition, part of a global food system geared towards profits.

Activists are calling for a radical shift in the entire food system, including a total ban on junk food advertising. Is it possible and will it make a difference?

Consuming junk-food, especially sugary carbonated drinks, is “effectively poisoning your body”, according to Andrew Bennie, a food sovereignty activist and researcher, based at the University of the Witwatersrand. “So why are people allowed to advertise the consumption of poison, really?” he asks.

Last year, the United Nations called on all governments to outlaw the advertising of junk food to children saying that these “commercial messages have the potential to shape children’s long term consumer and financial behaviour, and they are growing in number and reach”.

In South Africa, the Advertising Code of Practice was amended in 2008 to limit the marketing of unhealthy foods to children under the age of 12, but this has not yet happened – a National Department of Health-led policy to increase this to all school-going age children has been stalled for several years.

See our previous articles; Link between Blood Sugar & Brain Cancer Found and Does Cancer Have a Sweet Tooth? for more information about sugar and cancer…

 

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✨Foodie Friday ✨ Rainbow Smoothies


Today we thought we would continue the “Colourful Foods” or “Eat the Rainbow” vibe that we started yesterday, seeing that it is Friday… nearly weekend… and we want to have a little fun… and we like unicorns 🦄

Smoothies are great “go-to” nutritional drinks for Children with Cancer who are having difficulty eating due to their cancer or as a side-effect of their cancer treatments.

Smoothies can generally be more easily tolerated and are one way to ensure that your Child with Cancer is getting the vitamins, nutrients, phytochemicals etc. that they need to boost their immune system and help them fight their cancer.

Smoothies are also a great way to get children to “drink their veggies” and the best part of it all is that they will not even realise that those great drinks actually contain veggies because they go down so smoothly 😉

 

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Benefits of Foods by Colours


Foods can be divided into categories based on their colours and each category has a collective set of health benefits. This not only makes foods interesting, but also helps remember which food is good for which health aspect.

Eating a variety of colourful food provides vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to nourish your body that can’t be replicated in a supplement.

So what does colour have to do with diet anyway? One word: phytochemicals. These substances occur naturally only in plants and may provide health benefits beyond those that essential nutrients provide.

Colour, such as what makes a blueberry so blue, can indicate some of these substances, which are thought to work synergistically with vitamins, minerals, and fibre (all present in fruits and vegetables) in whole foods to promote good health and lower disease risk.

According to the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH), phytochemicals may act as antioxidants, protect and regenerate essential nutrients, and/or work to deactivate cancer-causing substances.

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