Tatiana Demus, 9
When Tatiana Demus’ leg started to hurt, her parents assumed a minor soccer injury was to blame. But when the pain got worse, a trip to the doctor and ensuing medical tests revealed she had osteosarcoma, the most common type of bone cancer in children.
Tatiana was referred to MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital and placed on a lifesaving treatment plan: chemotherapy to shrink the cancer, followed by surgery to remove the tumor, then more chemo to kill any remaining cancer cells and minimize chances of the cancer coming back.
A year later, she’s finished with treatment and back in the game.
A straight-A honor student, Tatiana’s doing well and enjoying her favorite things: Reading, video games, Chinese noodles and taking care of her guinea pigs, Bambi and Smores.
To help patients like Tatiana win their battles with cancer, MD Anderson researchers are developing leading-edge approaches to outwit the disease and, when possible, prevent it altogether. At MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital, studies are underway to:
- Identify the genes and chemical interactions that may lead to osteosarcoma
- Train the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells
- Test an aerosolized, inhaled chemo for cancer that’s spread to the lungs
- Develop a blood test that detects cancer in its earliest stages
At the Children’s Cancer Hospital, more than 770 patients have contributed tumor samples to a biobank — a repository of biological samples that will be used to advance research that will help pediatric and adult patients alike.