In loving memory of Jack Brown

In January 2005, Jack Brown developed a limp and after spending over three weeks in Barnet General and Great Ormond Street Hospitals was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma.

He began chemotherapy two months later which did not have any effect but responded well to radioactive MIBG therapy and the treatment successfully removed most of Jack’s cancer with the exception of the disease in his skull.

One year after his diagnosis Jack had brain surgery to remove the tumour, high dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplants. Tests indicated that the high dose chemotherapy had removed all residual disease from Jack’s skull and he was eligible to travel abroad for further treatment.

In April 2006, Jack began receiving daily injections of the immune system boosting GM-CSF drug before going to New York for monoclonal antibody treatment. At the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Jack received the 3F8 antibody treatment followed by radiotherapy. Despite ongoing treatment, he began to complain of a headache and doctors discovered that Jack had relapsed with neuroblastoma in his brain.

In December 2006, Jack had further brain surgery followed by chemotherapy and targeted radiotherapy, followed in swift succession by more brain surgery. Despite receiving further antibody treatment in March 2007, bone samples found the presence of neuroblastoma cells, although one month later his bone marrow was clear once again.

In October 2007, scan results showed brave Jack he had relapsed in both legs, his knees, thighs, pelvis, hip and right shoulder. In the following months, the cancer also returned to Jack’s femur and bone marrow. In January 2008, he travelled to Vermont for a treatment which had the potential to make the cancer cells more sensitive to chemotherapy. With cycles of chemotherapy continuing over the following few months, tests suggest once more that Jack has been cleared of neuroblastoma everywhere except his fight femur. He received radiation treatment directly to his femur to address this residual disease.

In September 2008, Jack returned to the UK where his oncology team worked with his US prescribed medications until he returned to New York for further antibody treatment at Sloan-Kettering. All scans and tests continued to remain clear and Jack was finally termed NED (no evidence of disease).

In November 2008, Jack was hospitalised with a severe urinary tract infection. The underlying cause was the BK Virus which occurs in those with suppressed immune systems. However, it was later discovered that Jack had relapsed in multiple areas – leg, pelvis, spine, shoulders, arms, and jaw.

After first deciding that Jack would remain in the UK and receive palliative care, he soon returned to Vermont to pursue further chemotherapy treatment. Despite giving Jack all the treatment possible, the neuroblastoma continued to progress. Brave Jack passed away in Vermont on 3rd May 2009 surrounded by his family.

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