Acute leukemia cures in 80% of cases ... But the research must remain intense, to find a solution for the 20% who, like Robin, are in therapeutic failure. Innovative treatments exist, but they are priceless. The solidarity of thousands of people had allowed Robin to go to the United States. He could not be treated because of the worsening of his condition.
Acute leukemia is a cancer of the blood, capable of carrying away - without other precursory signs - a state of fatigue, quite often enough-anybody, at any moment of one's life. Rather than cancer of the blood, we should say bone marrow cancer. This one has nothing to do with the spinal cord. It may be obvious to some, but it's worth remembering. The main function of the spinal cord is to prolong the information of the brain. The bone marrow, it is responsible - among other things - to manufacture the elements of the blood as red and white blood cells.
Red blood cells are used to carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. When they are affected, we speak mainly of anemia. White blood cells are used to fight infections. They are the ones who produce the antibodies that defend us. These are the white blood cells that are involved in leukemia
White blood cells gone crazy
These globules are made in the bone marrow by particular cells, the leucoblasts, which, for some reason, one day do not start to generate white blood cells, but to multiply in an identical and indefinite way. No more mature white blood cells are produced, but millions of useless leucoblasts. It is acute leukemia, a formidable blood cancer, because always fatal if we do not take care of it.
How is leukemia suspected? It is often, in a state of unexplained fatigue, a simple blood test that evokes the disease. To confirm this, we analyze the bone marrow - this is called a myelogram - which will define the treatment, because medicine, particularly French, has found weapons against this cancer.
Chemotherapy + bone marrow transplant
Thanks to medications and bone marrow transplants, it is now estimated that in children, in the most common form, the cure rate is now 80%. Admittedly, it is a very aggressive treatment where all the cells of the spinal cord are killed to allow it to be reborn - either spontaneously or with the help of a transplant - and to reproduce globules. quality whites.
Unfortunately there remain some dramatic cases resistant to any form of medication, which justifies all the fear that provokes this disease. And that's what happened to Robin: his cancer had resisted conventional treatment.
New revolutionary techniques
For these children, research is progressing fast. With highly personalized medicine techniques such as Car-T cells. A strange name to define a custom-made medicine, designed by the genius of man.
We know that the failure in the treatment of cancer is that of the cells of immunity that lose their fight against the enemy, the cancer cell is a hyper-organized terrorist cell and no longer respects anything inside the body. Isolated at the beginning, hidden in the immensity of the body and the confidentiality of the organ which saw it being born and which it wants to destroy. When they regroup, these terrorists first form islands of destruction - the metastases - then take power and as they have no purpose, cause death ...
We try to kill all the cells - healthy and sick - through chemotherapy and then repopulate with healthy cells, what we call the bone marrow transplant - but when the troops are disorganized and they are to shoot each other is atomic war and its consequence destruction.
The chosen technique is ambitious, unique! To put it simply, we take a cell-soldier of the patient, not yet contaminated. We change its internal structure by adding weapons of mass destruction. Making a simple first class an elite element of the GIGN able to reproduce at a very high speed when it will be on the battle zone. Simple in theory; incredibly complex in reality. A high fashion achievement, individually, worthy of the biggest houses
The genetic manipulation of the few cells of these children takes place in the United States and lasts 3 to 6 months during which it is not necessary that the disease worsens, which is unfortunately often the case. But if the maneuver succeeds, a simple infusion and the war resumes. Special forces turn the site of the tumor into a blaze.
The speed and effectiveness of this treatment are hallucinating. In a few days hope a few days. It is certainly one of those treatments that Robin should have, thanks to the solidarity of thousands of people moved by his case. Because these treatments cost a fortune. More than 500,000 euros for the Car-T Cells.
For those who struggle on a daily basis in the pediatric oncology ward, the cost problem should no longer be an obstacle to saving a child's life. It's up to the community to find a solution. Not to doctors.