While the DNA profile of Harrison’s cancer was now known to be resistant to chemo, doctors offered another treatment option. A new type of targeted therapy, administered in conjunction with the chemo, showed promise for treating Harrison’s specific type of cancer, EBF1-PDGFRB-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Doctors explained that Imatinib could work by blocking a protein that triggered Harrison’s cancer cells to grow.
Yet there were risks. This new treatment was so new that it had never been used on children. While the drug was untested on anyone like Harrison, it was his only chance.
Miraculously, the targeted therapy worked on Harrison, and he went into remission shortly after receiving it. At times the treatments were grueling but they worked. In a little under two months, Harrison had been diagnosed with cancer, told it was incurable, offered a long-shot treatment and then went into remission.