In world first: Teenage boy is cured of deadly brain cancer

At the age of six, Lucas Jemeljanova from Belgium received a devastating diagnosis: he had diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), a lethal form of brain cancer. His family’s hopes were shattered as they learned that only 10% of patients with this type of cancer survive more than two years. But Lucas’s story took an extraordinary turn that gave hope to many around the world.

Lucas became the first person ever to beat DIPG, defying all odds. His journey began with the BIOMEDE trial in France, where he enrolled in a venture to explore new treatments for this aggressive cancer. The results were nothing short of miraculous. Lucas responded remarkably to a drug called everolimu, with MRI scans showing the tumor gradually disappearing. And the most astounding part? It has been a year and a half since he stopped using the medication, and his tumor remains absent.


Before his treatment, Lucas experienced the devastating effects of DIPG. He struggled to walk in a straight line, suffered from random nosebleeds, and frequently lost consciousness. But now, at 13 years old, Lucas stands as a symbol of hope. He has been in remission for an incredible five years, far surpassing the average life expectancy for this disease.

Dr. Grill, the head of the brain tumor program at the center, expressed his awe at Lucas’s resilience. He watched as the tumor completely disappeared during a series of MRI scans, stating, “I don’t know of any other case like him in the world.” Lucas’s tumor had a rare mutation that made its cells highly sensitive to the drug. Understanding and replicating this effect in other patients is now the focus of researchers.


Researchers are currently studying genetic anomalies and cultivating tumor organoids in laboratory settings to find a drug that can mimic the effects seen in Lucas’s tumor cells. However, the process of developing a drug can take 10-15 years. Marie-Anne Debily, a researcher leading the laboratory efforts, emphasized the importance of identifying a drug that can produce similar changes in tumor cells.

Lucas’s story is a testament to the power of resilience and the relentless pursuit of finding a cure for devastating diseases. As he continues to inspire others, researchers work tirelessly to unlock the secrets of DIPG and pave the way for more success stories like Lucas’s.

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