With the help of Solving Kids’ Cancer and the oncologists at Great Ormond Street Hospital Vanessa Moss is now in New York receiving a pioneering vaccine that hopes to prevent her cancer from returning. This is part of a clinical trial being conducted at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre and will see Vanessa receive 7 vaccinations over the course of the next year. This vaccine aims to stimulate Vanessa’s immune system to recognise and attack neuroblastoma cells, so that they are prevented from coming back.
Vanessa was diagnosed in 2012 at the age of 4 with stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma. After achieving remission in June 2014 she sadly relapsed 7 months later. Recently (April 2016) Vanessa and her family had the wonderful news that she is finally back in remission which meant that she would be able to access the vaccine trial.
Clinical trials offer novel, experimental therapies to children whose options are limited after the end of standard treatment. Neuroblastoma carries with it a high risk of relapse, which reduces survival rates further. Once a family has had the news that their child is in remission the threat of relapse is ever present. It is for this reason that many families make the decision to access trials that may reduce the risk of relapse. Immunotherapies, like the vaccine Vanessa is receiving, are showing promise in the field of neuroblastoma and one type has even made it into frontline treatment for all high-risk neuroblastoma patients.
“We hope this is the treatment that will maintain her remission and keep her alive. Vanessa now 8 months cancer free” – Vanessa’s Dad, Parker.