Dell Children’s steps into global pediatric leukemia trial

Zach Guillot was very strong throughout his treatment. "He wanted to live," said his mom, Julie Guillot.  She is working to advocate for more targeted therapies.
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After Julie Guillot’s son Zach was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2010 at age 5, “it was a like a freight train” hit them, she said.

“We were a normal family,” she said. “We were living on the lake in Austin; we were living the good life. We had no history of cancer. We tried to do all the right things: eat all organic food, get plenty of exercise.”

But then the weird bruising and the random ulcer on Zach’s tongue “all just snowballed one day,” she said. and he ended up in the hospital with a cancer diagnosis.

During the next four years, Zach endured round after round of chemotherapy. He had three bone marrow transplants.

“It was terrifying,” she said, but “Zach had a phenomenal attitude… He wanted to live.”

After Zach died in 2014 because his liver could no longer take the treatments, Guillot became an advocate with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. An engineer by training, she said she is focused on “finding those bottlenecks and choke points” in getting better treatment for kids with cancer.

Zach Guillot was very strong throughout his treatment. "He wanted to live," said his mom, Julie Guillot.  She is working to advocate for more targeted therapies.

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With pediatric cancer, some of those choke points are being able to enroll enough children in a trial as well as the focus on trying a new treatment on adults first and children years later. Pediatric cancers, however, aren’t the same as adult ones, and each cancer typically has many subtypes that make it respond differently to treatments.

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