An Ottawa family has received a late Christmas present for their son to undergo clinical cancer treatment in Philadelphia.
The Miracle Marnie Foundation says the Health Services and Review Board has overturned a decision by OHIP to deny access for Jacob Deforge to travel to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for treatment.
Deforge was diagnosed with cancer in 2017. He has been weakened by years of chemotherapy and radiation that has not worked.
Deforge is a candidate for a treatment called Car T-Cell, where his own lymphocytes are extracted, genetically modified and returned to his body. Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto performs the procedure, but doctors say Deforge is too weak to have his own lymphocytes extracted in the procedure..
The family pushed for Deforge to participate in a trial study at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which uses a donor’s lymphoctyes. The Ministry of Health rejected the application to fund the treatment.
In a note to CTV News on Tuesday morning, the Miracle Marnie Foundation says in a letter dated December 30th to the team lead at CHEO, “The Health Services and Review Board overturned a previous decision by OHIP to deny access for Jacob Deforge to travel to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to receive life saving UCART19 T Cell Treatment which is part of an international clinical trial.”
Thomas Geniole of the Miracle Marnie Foundation says the General Manager of OHIP has 30 days to appeal the decision, but “it is deemed highly unlikely that this will happen.” Geniole adds the team at CHEO and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia "deserve the most credit for being able to convince the review board that this was his best fighting chance at getting the cancer into remission."