New drug offers hope to young cancer patients

Published On: Jun 19 2012 02:26:13 PM CDT   Updated On: Jun 22 2012 06:07:00 AM CDT
Medical Surgery Kidney

A new cancer drug is bringing hope to some children with cancer. It worked for one young boy when nothing else would.

Zach Witt, 4, has lymphoma. A relapse overwhelmed his little body.

"We just didn't know what was going to happen," said Zach's mother, Pam.

Doctors offered more aggressive chemotherapy. Instead, the Witts chose to take part in a trial of the oral medication Crizotinib.

It works by turning off the abnormal ALK gene which fuels some cancers but leaves healthy tissue unharmed.

"I think it's finally understanding what drives a cancer, what cancer is actually addicted to for it's growth and for it's survival," said Dr. Yael Mosse, a pediatric oncologist.

Zach started improving after just two days.

"It's like wow, our boy is bouncing back," said Zach's father, John.