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Curing Cancer

Medical College of Wisconsin pediatric oncologists treat cancer’s tiniest victims
Michael Kelly, MD, PhD, and Maddy Erwine

"Dr. Kelly never gives us the impression that he has to be somewhere else.  He won’t leave the exam room until he feels our questions have been answered."

Maddy Erwine was diagnosed with cancer two weeks before Christmas 2008.  She was three years old.

She had complained of fatigue throughout the fall, but her parents, Brien and Jessica Erwine of Milwaukee, didn’t worry.  Maddy had recently started preschool, so the tiredness and random fevers seemed par for the course.  All kids, they thought, get sick when they start school.

But when Maddy’s fever spiked to 105.6 and she developed hundreds of purple dots all over her abdomen, Brien and Jessica took her to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, where Maddy was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia, the most common childhood cancer.  Suddenly, the family’s focus shifted from Christmas to saving Maddy’s life.

The family chose Michael Kelly, MD, PhD, Medical College of Wisconsin Associate Professor of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, as Maddy’s primary oncologist.  “Dr. Kelly never gives you the impression that he has to be somewhere else,” Brien said.  “He won’t leave the exam room until he feels our questions have been answered.  Plus, Maddy loves him.”

Dr. Kelly planned Maddy’s treatment—a 27-month course of intensive chemotherapy and monitoring—in conjunction with the rest of the oncology team.  Maddy also is participating in a clinical trial that is comparing different steroid treatments.

Children with leukemia, like Maddy, typically do not need radiation therapy as part of their treatment.  However, radiation therapy is an effective treatment for other childhood cancers. Medical College radiation oncologists provide nationally recognized expertise in treating both children and adults at the Froedtert & the Medical College Clinical Cancer Center.

Maddy is currently in the maintenance phase of her treatment.  Her initial response to the chemotherapy was excellent, so her family and physicians are optimistic for her future.  They hope 2011 will mark the end of Maddy’s treatment and the beginning of the rest of her life.

 

Medical College Physician Expertise in Pediatric Cancer at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
  • The pediatric oncology team is one of the most experienced and successful teams in the U.S. and sees more than 150 newly diagnosed patients each year and actively manages the care of over 600 patients.  Because they treat so many cases of childhood cancer, Medical College pediatric oncologists bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to each case they handle.
  • Medical College pediatric oncologists originated pilot studies for acute lymphocytic leukemia that have become national protocols.
  • The pediatric oncology program at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, led by Medical College physicians, is ranked in the top 10 nationally for the number of children enrolled in clinical trials.  Clinical trials allow patients access to the latest treatments and advance the science of cancer care.
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Page Updated 07/23/2013