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About Myles and Precision Medicine

Myles is a sweet and thoughtful twelve-year-old. But last spring, Myles began experiencing overwhelming headaches that caused his behavior to become erratic and unusual. The pain and personality change alarmed his parents enough to take him to the emergency room, where a CT scan revealed that Myles had a brain tumor.
Doctors did a biopsy and scheduled surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible. After a ten-hour operation, his surgeon was able to take out 78% of the tumor. The initial pathology showed it to be a high-grade glioma, an aggressive and fast-growing tumor with a very poor prognosis.
“The oncologist and radiologist couldn’t agree on the diagnosis,” said Myles’ mother, Melissa. “I felt all along that they would come back and say it was benign. When I asked the doctor what result he wanted to see, he said, ‘Anything but a high-grade glioma.’ It was then that I knew how bad this was.”
A sample of the tumor was sent for genetic analysis through CURE’s Precision Medicine Program. One of the aims of precision medicine is to confirm or change a diagnosis so patients avoid enduring treatments that would have no chance of working. Today’s treatment for high-grade gliomas includes multiple rounds of radiation combined with toxic chemotherapies, which often cause debilitating long-term side effects. The results of genetic testing altered Myles’ diagnosis and radically changed his treatment path.
Myles’ tumor was proven to be a rare, unclassified tumor. And while it defies classification, scientists understand what causes it to grow, and, more importantly, they have learned how to prevent growth. So rather than harmful chemotherapies and radiation, Myles takes a daily pill. He has experienced no side effects, and the residual tumor has shrunk by more than 40%.
“It is truly a miracle,” shared Melissa. “Genetic testing led us to a treatable tumor with no side effects. Myles is going to school, playing basketball, and doing everything a boy his age should.
Ironically, Melissa had attended a local CURE event called Catie’s Gathering just months before Myles’ diagnosis.
“It’s surreal to think a year ago was my first year attending Catie’s Gathering. I listened to the stories and the amazing things CURE does to help children with cancer and their families,” Melissa recalled. “I left that evening, never thinking my family would become a CURE family in a few short months. Thanks to CURE, we learned about the genetic testing that changed Myles’ diagnosis from terminal to targeted and treatable.”
Myles’ miracle happened because of you and your support of CURE’s research efforts. Until precision medicine becomes the standard of care for all children, more kids facing childhood cancer are counting on you for their miracle to find effective treatments without life-altering side effects.

Please give today to bring us one step closer to a world without childhood cancer.


What Is Precision Medicine?

Every child is unique. Thanks to your support, their cancer treatments can be too.

Our focus on advancing the use of precision medicine to treat children with cancer launched in 2017 and has been our highest priority since then, with a total investment of $12 million.

An easy way to understand precision medicine is to think of it as “personalized medicine.” Although we know that every child is unique, today’s childhood cancer treatment does not take into account the genetic differences of each child. Rather, a child’s cancer is treated according to disease type. But often, children with the same type of cancer respond differently to the same treatment. A chemotherapy which is effective for some may fail altogether for others because of the genetic differences at play. That is where personalized medicine comes in.

The vision of precision medicine is to provide personalized, non-toxic, and curative therapy for all children with cancer by genetically mapping a child’s tumor and targeting the problem mutations. To achieve this aim, genetic testing seeks to identify targets that allow doctors to create individualized treatments to destroy the mutated cells.

Since our focus on precision medicine began, 85% of the children who received genetic mapping with CURE’s funding found their treatments impacted by the information obtained. But the impact of precision medicine goes well beyond the child’s cancer treatment. Genetic testing can change a diagnosis or reveal a genetic predisposition to cancer that can affect a family for generations.