Health Beat: A chemo shot to the brain

Health Beat: A chemo shot to the brain

HOUSTON – 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,” said Reedy.

Now 20, Reedy has 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 Sandberg, the director of pediatric neurosurgery and at Mischer Neuroscience Institute/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, Sandberg is injecting it into the brain’s fourth ventricle.

“This is a new approach, and we’re at the beginning of a journey,” Sandberg commented.

Reedy 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,” said Sandberg.

Reedy said 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. Our parents, our family, the little things are the big things,” she said.

And that means slipping in a good joke whenever she can.