INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Tyler Trent’s fight against bone cancer is now leading to groundbreaking discoveries in cancer research.
The Purdue superfan dedicated the last portion of his life to finding a cure for cancer. Thanks to his efforts, Indiana University School of Medicine researchers have found a breakthrough.
Samples of Tyler Trent’s cell lines have been tested day after day. After all that hard work, researchers at IU School of Medicine have finally found a way to actually slow the growth of tumors just like Tyler’s.
When Tyler Trent was still alive, he was checking in with researchers, making sure he did everything he could to help find a cure for his aggressive bone cancer, osteosarcoma.
“He had had a couple new tumors pop up and he said ‘Well, do you want to take this one?'” Tyler’s mom, Kelly Trent said. “I mean, he was offering his body and of course they were like, ‘No, Tyler, that’s OK.’ But he would have given whatever they needed.”
The two cell lines, named TT1 and TT2 after Tyler himself, have been more than enough for researchers. Through those cell lines, they found that by combining two different drugs, also known as combination therapy, they can slow down tumor growth to almost nothing in a two-month period.
“If you can get patients where they can be maintained and have a high quality of life, that’s a good thing too,” said Karen Pollok, associate professor of pediatrics.
The effects of the therapy could give patients more time on earth, but this isn’t a cure. The research found that when you stop taking the drug combination, the tumor starts growing again.
“You can almost see it like that whack-a-mole that you see at circuses or whatever, fairs, where you’ve got to hit it down and then you’ve got to hit it over here and you’ve got to hit it over here,” Pollok said. “And that’s kind of our philosophy on how we’re going to be going. It’s more of a multi-phase therapy.”
But this breakthrough doesn’t mean the work is over. Tyler’s cells are still being used everyday as efforts to find a cure continue.
“Our challenge is, number one, how to best use this therapy,” Pollok said. “Maybe there’s a way we can absolutely cure it. And then number two, what is another drug we can come in with that’s going to actually kill those remaining cells.”
“We might go back up to Carmel and see him dancing out of his grave when we go back up there,” Tyler’s dad, Tony Trent said. “Because he would be so happy!”
A cure is still a ways off, but if you’d like to find out how you can help donate to the cause, click here.