Father dedicates efforts to finding cure for son’s brain cancer

April 12, 2024 by No Comments

Frederico Goldsztein was just nine years old when he was first diagnosed with a life-altering brain tumor called Medulloblastoma, the most common brain tumor in children. Frederico, now 17, was living a healthy life with his family. He loved school and loved to read. His father, Fernando Goldsztein said he has read every Agatha Christie novel. Then came Frederico’s diagnosis.”It’s simply, the worst thing that that, that a father or mother can hear,” Fernando told reporters. “It’s very sad to see a kid suffering from cancer, particularly because they have the whole life ahead of them.”But there is now a bit of hope for the 500 families a year whose children have been diagnosed with this form of brain tumor: a possible breakthrough thanks to the efforts of a determined father and the doctors at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington D.C. Fernando, a cancer survivor himself, travelled from Brazil to the US to find a breakthrough cure for his son and a way to minimize the brain damage and side effects caused by treating this deadly form of brain cancer. “Technology and medicine have evolved tremendously in the last decades, decades, but unfortunately not for kids with brain tumors,” Fernando said. Many of the patients relapse. That’s what happened to his son Frederico.When he relapsed in 2019, Fernando teamed up with a leading children’s brain tumor specialist in the U.S. and the Medulloblastoma Initiative was born.”We put together what we thought was a dream team of the best investigators around the world to focus specifically on one form of Medulloblastoma,” explained Dr. Roger Packer, the Director of the Brain Tumor Program at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington D.C.”Fernando essentially asked me or challenged me, could we come up with a different approach to try to create better therapies quicker? And he knew very well the way that medicine worked. It sometimes took between ten and 15 years to go from a discovery to a new treatment, to proving that the treatment is better.”Medulloblastoma is the most common form of brain cancer in children accounting for 20% of all childhood brain tumors. Approximately 500 new cases are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. The current treatment developed in the 1980’s, leaves kids with lifelong cognitive and developmental problems.Now they are on the verge of two FDA approved treatments that could result in a cure and fewer side effects for children facing treatment: one which changes the immunology of the tumor, using vaccines like those used to create the COVID vaccine.”We hope they’ll be approved soon. And within that, two, two and a half windows should have novel therapies for children with a subset of Medulloblastoma, which again, should be generalizable in the very near future to other brain tumors,” Dr. Packer explained. Every dollar raised contributes to the scientific research behind a cure.”We know that we have a long way ahead of us, and we still need more support and more people helping us to help all of these kids, Fernando said. “They know that their kids have no options. So they ask me to help them. I’m not a doctor, I cannot help them. Some of them I send to Doctor Packer. They see our initiative as their only hope.”