In April, little Daria Rozhkova of Russia’s Ryazanskaya region and her family were fresh out of hope.
Diagnosed with Lynch syndrome, a genetic disorder that increases the risk of colorectal cancer, the child had undergone numerous surgeries and chemotherapy treatments aimed at curbing cancerous growths in her colon. Yet, after each exhaustive intervention, the cancer would return.
Finally, the Russian doctors advised they could offer no hope that additional treatment would improve the child’s outlook and that Daria, 12, likely had but six months to live.
Fortunately, hope is a commodity in which Miami Children’s Hospital (MCH) specializes. And thanks to a novel procedure and the collaboration of a 50-member multi-specialty care team of doctors and nurses at MCH, Daria and her family recently returned home to their native country with a big smile, a bright future, and memories of new friendships forged at the famed children’s hospital.
“Daria is a brave little girl with a family who would not give up on her,” said Dr. Andrea Maggioni, medical director of Global Health at Miami Children’s, who coordinated the MCH care team including surgeons, pediatric subspecialists, nurses and the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit staff.
“The teamwork has been amazing and it has been our privilege to provide this family with the next generation of treatment.”
On Sept. 18, a surgical team led by Dr. Cathy Burnweit, chief of Pediatric Surgery at MCH, performed a marathon 19-hour hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) or “heated chemotherapy” procedure that only has been used for pediatric patients at a handful of centers within the U.S. Miami Children’s became the second hospital in the country to offer the pediatric procedure in 2011.
After removing the cancerous tissue, Dr. Burnweit and her team introduced heated chemotherapy directly into the child’s abdomen. This treatment helps destroy tiny cancer cells that may linger following tumor removal and inhibit re-growth.
“Daria has made a remarkable recovery after a challenging treatment. Our hopes are high that this intervention will offer her a healthy future,” Dr. Burnweit said.