Natalie Thompson of Hobie Sound, Florida, was only 2 when doctors at Nicklaus Children's diagnosed her with stage IV neuroblastoma, an aggressive childhood cancer.
Challenges: Natalie did not tolerate the chemotherapy and it did not reduce the tumors in her brain and abdomen. They continued to grow despite aggressive treatment. When Natalie proved too weak for a stem cell transplant, her oncologist, Dr. Guillermo De Angulo of Nicklaus Children's Cancer Center, sought a new solution for the tiny girl, who was growing steadily weaker.
Finding the Right Treatment: With family approval, Dr. De Angulo enrolled Natalie in an FDA Phase II study of the IMC-A12 IGF-I receptor monoclonal antibody. This antibody is made in the laboratory and targets a receptor that is common in pediatric tumors. The antibody binds to the receptor of the tumor and blocks the synthesis of a protein needed for tumor growth. The tumor cells then begin to die because of lack of the necessary protein.
Today: Little Natalie, now 4, has completed her 120-week treatment and is cancer free. She is enjoying life and making huge strides in regaining ground lost during her prolonged illness.