A Special Treatment Helped a Girl with Neuroblastoma

High-risk neuroblastoma can be difficult to treat in children. Some research suggests that between 40-50% of children with high-risk neuroblastoma relapse following treatment, causing poor outcomes. When Flora Gentleman was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma in 2021, her parents Stephanie Kent and Jamie Gentleman knew that they would do anything to help. According to a story from STV News, Flora did successfully complete treatment in Scotland and was declared cancer-free. However, concerned about the statistics, her parents enrolled her in a New York-based cancer vaccine trial to help improve her odds.

To bring Flora to the trial, her parents fundraised. Their efforts culminated in over £300K (approximately $370,578) and a multi-week trip to New York. During the visits, Flora began trial participation; she received multiple doses of the vaccine candidate. 

Right now, it is hard to say whether or not this trial drug will be beneficial for Flora—and whether it can actionably prevent her from relapsing. In fact, we won’t know much about the trial itself until more data is released. But it has given her family hope for the future, and that in itself is a beautiful thing. 

Learn about Neuroblastoma

Neuroblastoma is a rare cancer that forms from immature nerve cells called neuroblasts. It often begins in the adrenal glands, but may also form in the abdomen, neck, or in nerve tissue near the spine. Neuroblastoma is most common in children aged five years old or younger, and has even been found in infants prior to birth. However, it is extremely rare in children older than ten years old. Symptoms and characteristics of neuroblastoma can, but do not always, include:

  • A lump or mass in the neck, chest, or abdomen
  • Shortness of breath
  • Uncontrolled eye movements
  • Appetite loss
  • Movement issues
  • Painless, bluish lumps under the skin (in infants) 
  • Bulging eyes
  • Dark circles around the eyes
  • High blood pressure
  • Bone pain
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Extremely pale skin
  • Anemia (low red blood cell count)
  • A painful and bloated stomach
Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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