YOUR HEALTH: Targeting a child’s brain tumor

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HOUSTON, Texas – Sydnie Reedy loves a good joke, even when there`s not much to laugh about.

"I was diagnosed in 2011 with medulloblastoma. I was 13."

She's 20 now.   She's battled brain tumors for a third of her life.  She's fighting her fifth recurrence with a treatment pioneered by Dr. David Sandberg.

"We're trying something new because I think the current treatments that are available for children with these brain tumors are entirely inadequate," said Dr. Sandberg, a pediatric neurosurgeon with the University of Texas' Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital.

Standard chemo must cross the well-guarded blood-brain barrier to reach brain tumors.   It takes high doses, which kill healthy cells too.

To get chemo where it's needed with fewer side effects, Dr Sandberg is injecting it into the brain's fourth ventricle.

"This is a new approach and we're at the beginning of a journey."

Sydnie was treated in 2014 and went into remission. but her tumor returned, and now she's getting a higher dose.

"I'm looking for treatments that help them have a better quality of life," explained Dr. Sandberg.

TREATMENT OPTIONS:  Treatment for brain tumors will be based upon many factors, such as a patient`s age, health, medical history, the type, size, and location of the tumor itself, how likely the tumor is to spread or recur post-treatment, and a patients tolerance for particular medications, therapies, or procedures.  Treatment may include watchful monitoring, surgery, scans, radiation, chemotherapy, or clinical trial if one is available.  Microscopic tumor cells can remain after surgery and will eventually grow back, so all treatment is intended to prolong and improve life for as long as possible.  Additional treatment options may include targeted therapy or tumor treating fields. Long-term planning may be necessary, and can include follow-up care, rehabilitation, and supportive/palliative care.  (Source:

Sydnie says her family and faith have helped her through her darkest moments.   She's already learned what many people never will.

"We take for granted, the breath of air that we take in you know", explained Sydnie.   "Our parents, our family, the little things are the big things."

With Sydnie's latest round of treatment, there was no definitive change in her tumors, so Dr. Sandberg has scheduled her for yet another round of the same treatment.

He cautions that this treatment is still under study and is not a home run for everyone, but it does offer promise for children like Sydnie who have failed all other treatments.

If this story  has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Jim Mertens at or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at

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