Portland teen with rare cancer taking part in clinical trial - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland teen with rare cancer taking part in clinical trial

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A Portland boy is getting a new type of cancer treatment that could save his life, and eventually, the lives of many other children diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma.

Sam Day is one of 15 children in the country who have taken part in the first phase of a clinical immunotherapy trial at Mary Crowley Cancer Research Center in Texas.

Doctors took a piece of his tumor to create a personalized vaccine for Sam.

The hope is the vaccine will teach his immune system to treat the cancer as foreign and fight it.

“We're optimistic that it's doing something. We have to be,” said Lorna Day, Sam's mother.

Sam Day was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a rare cancer, after discovering a tumor in his leg in 2011.

Doctors treated the cancer with chemotherapy and amputated part of his leg.

He was cancer free for a year, but it returned a second and third time.

“As discouraging and scary as it is, we have reason to be hopeful,” said Lorna Day, his mom.

When spots showed up in Sam's lungs this spring, Lorna Day contacted Mary Crowley Cancer Research Center in Texas.

She'd learned about the clinical trial through her connection with the mother of another Ewing's sarcoma patient.

Last month, Sam flew to Dallas to have the first of six monthly vaccines.

They won't know if the vaccine is working until January, according to Lorna Day.

Researchers have seen promising responses to immunotherapy for young Ewing's sarcoma patients, according to a spokeswoman for Mary Crowley.

In some patients, the disease has stabilized or stopped growing, she said.

The trial is in its first phase and testing continues.

The Day family is comforted by the support that has poured in from the community, family and friends over the last four years.

It's helped the family raise money for The Rutledge Foundation, which supports Ewing's sarcoma research, included a targeted drug to fight the cancer that's in development at Mary Crowley Research Center.

“I've realized that just having hoped makes all of us stronger,” said Lorna Day. “So knowing that there is something that could realistically save my son keeps us positive, keeps us able to live well, keeps us planning for the future and continuing to support the work that they do.”

Friends have set up a GoFundMe account to help the Day family pay for their upcoming trips to the Mary Crowley Research Center.

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