Class blog for sharing and commenting on current events in biology.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Emma Cancer Free.

Andrew Lemberger
Biology Current Events

            I have just finished ready a very well written and extremely interesting article on the story of a five-year-old girl with cancer who has just turned seven and is cancer free. Doctors at the children’s hospital of Philadelphia achieved this remarkable feat achieved this feat in April of this year and some are calling the work, “phenomenal”.  Emma is a young child suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukemia and was on the verge of death. With nothing to lose her parents Kari and John decided to give consent to an experimental treatment that had never been done on children before. Doctors then proceeded to inject Emma with a disabled form of the Aids virus in order to reprogram her immune system to fight off cancer cells. At first Emma became very sickly with a fever over 105, which was a expected result, she became swollen to the point of no recognition. With the treatment almost killing her doctors noticed that her level of one of the cytokines, interleukin-6 or IL6 was through the roof.  But then Dr. June one of Emma’s attending physicians remembered a drug that could lower her cytokine levels, his daughter took it for her rheumatoid arthritis. With nothing to lose dr. Stephan Grupp ordered the drug to be given to Emma, immediately results were seen. Emma’s symptoms completely ceased and woke up two weeks later, cancer free.  For me this article is very interesting and warming in that it shows that there is hope for victims of certain forms of leukemia and other cancers. Its always cool to me when I see something so revolutionary being devised on any random day. On may 2nd Emma awoke from her hard fought battle, the hospital staff then gathered and proceeded to sing Happy Birthday, it was her seventh birthday. The relevance of this article to todays world is that this is a sign that maybe someday we will have a full blown marketable treatment for some if not all forms of cancer within my lifetime.  Overall I thought the article was well written and the author provided all the right details and facts in order for someone not in the cancer field to understand.  I really enjoyed reading this article and hope that this breakthrough will lead to greater things.               


  1. Isabelle Shinsato 12/10/12 Emma Cancer Free Comment Core Biology

    Andrew did an excellent job with this review. There were many aspects of it that I liked. First, I liked how he explained the process and consequences of the experimental treatment it was very clear and easy to understand. I also liked how he kept reiterating that the doctors and parents had nothing to lose in giving her the experimental treatment because it just showed how sick Emma was and how the fact that she ended up cancer free was a remarkable result. He summarized the article very well, it had a nice flow to it and instead of just presenting fact after fact it was almost like he was telling a story. It was amazing to me that the treatment only took two weeks to be effective in completely treating Emma’s cancer because it usually takes years to cure any type of cancer and even if its cured there’s always a possibility of it coming back and I just found it remarkable that it took such little time to work. I find this article really fascinating because it shows that there is an outstanding chance that one day there can be a drug that can completely cure cancer. Andrew did a great job reviewing this article and he was able to show that he really cared about this subject. My only suggestion would be to check over the report again because I saw a few grammatical mistakes but otherwise I think this was a very well written review.

  2. I think Andrew did a very good job with this current event report. I liked the tone that he set with his report, which was very capturing. He started generally with what topic the article was covering, and then went into the specifics of the girl and her conditions/what could help her recover and what eventually did. He created a level of suspense in his report that got me hooked and got me to finish reading his report very quickly, always wanting to know what was going to happen next. I thought it was very interesting how the personal experiences of the doctor played such an important role in this incident. I also found it pretty crazy how the girl was recovered after two weeks, since she was so infected with cancer over a long period of time. One thing that Andrew could improve on would be some spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, however those could easily be revised with a proof-read.