After battling leukemia for half of her life, 8-year-old Ava Christianson has been deemed cancer-free
When Ava Christianson was 4 years old, she was diagnosed with leukemia. As her leukemia was the most common and treatable kind (acute lymphoblastic leukemia) of cancer, the Christiansons were told that they had a good chance of beating the cancer. For over 90% of children, chemotherapy is all that they need.
“So, 90%, you feel pretty darn good that you’re ok,” her mother Bethany told The Washington Post. However, after a brief remission period, the cancer relapsed.
That led them to a bone marrow transplant—something they were told would have an 80-85% chance of curing her. The cancer still returned.
“Five years ago, our doctor would have just had to tell us to go home"
Thankfully, researchers in the field of immunotherapy have been making groundbreaking discoveries that have made it possible for them to treat patients who wouldn’t have stood a chance otherwise.
“Five years ago, our doctor would have just had to tell us to go home,” Bethany said. “So we were just really happy that we just had another option.”
Thanks to an experimental treatment known as CAR-T which boosts a patient’s immune system, Ava is cancer-free—for now.
On the next page: more about this revolutionary treatment.