Cancer Survivor to Run Boston Marathon Alongside His Organ Donor, HIV Drug Shows Promise in Treating Metastatic Colon Cancer and More

From liver cancer survivor planning to run the upcoming Boston Marathon with his organ donor to a common HIV drug showing promise in treating colorectal cancer, here’s what’s happening in the cancer space this week.

Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal reveals aggressive prostate cancer diagnosis.

Earlier this week, the 70-year-old coach of the Netherlands national soccer team announced that he was being treated for an aggressive form of prostate cancer. Van Gaal initially said that he planned on carrying out his role. Later in the week, it was announced that Ronald Koeman will take over as the coach for Netherlands after the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, where Netherlands will play Senegal, Ecuador and Qatar in the group stages.

Prior to coaching Netherlands, van Gaal also served as the manager of Manchester United and Barcelona.

"In each period during my time as manager of the national team I had to leave in the night to go to the hospital without the players finding it out until now. While thinking I was healthy. But, I am not," he said, according to CNN Sports.

"You don't die from prostate cancer, at least not in 90% of the cases,” he continued. It is usually other underlying diseases that kill you. But I had a pretty aggressive form, got treated 25 times. Then you have a lot of management to do in order to go through life.”

Liver cancer survivor to run the Boston Marathon with his organ donor.

On April 18, 51-year-old Phil Shin will run the 126th Boston Marathon alongside one of his best friends, Mark Murphy, who donated his kidney to Shin in 2019.

After a routine physical in 2018, Shin learned that he had hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of liver cancer. The athlete was devastated, and underwent surgery. Soon after, he began to run again, initially logging only a few miles at a time, but eventually working up to 20-mile runs within a couple of months. That November, he ran the Revel Big Bear Marathon, and with a time of 3:12:34, he qualified for the Boston Marathon.

Soon after, he learned that his cancer came back, and with surgery no longer an option, he was put on the liver transplant list. At this time, he discovered the late Gabriele (Gabe) Grunewald, another cancer survivor and runner, who inspired him to keep moving forward. However, the real inspiration came when his longtime friend, Murphy, told him that he was going to donate a part of his liver to Shin.

Six months after the transplant, the pair ran the L.A. Marathon together, raising more than $10,000 for Gruenwald’s nonprofit, Brave Like Gabe, where Shin currently serves on the board.

A drug commonly used to treat HIV shows promise in the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer.

Epivir (lamivudine) is an antiviral drug that has been used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) for years, but now research has shown that it might be useful in the fourth-line treatment setting for metastatic colorectal cancer.

Trial findings that were published in Cancer Discovery showed that Epivir stopped disease progression in 25% of patients with colorectal cancer that has already underwent four lines of treatment.

“After giving them only this one drug — nothing else — we saw signs of disease stability,” co-senior author Dr. David T. Ting of Mass General Cancer Center in Boston, told the “Harvard Gazette.” “If we see this kind of response with just one HIV drug, the next obvious trial is to see what else we can achieve with HAART, or highly active anti-retroviral therapy,”

Pediatric osteosarcoma survivor continues to play baseball through pain and chemotherapy treatments.

After then 8-year-old Nolan Madsen heard a “pop” when playing with his friends in 2018, he underwent a series of medical tests that revealed his diagnosis: osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.

Madsen, a Georgia native, underwent 29 rounds of inpatient chemotherapy before undergoing surgery in 2019 to remove the bone at the top of his femur, where the cancer was located. But throughout treatment, Madsen, who said that he “revolves around baseball,” continued to play the game he loved, often playing with a walker and a chemo port in his chest.

Now the 11 year old continues to play baseball with an artificial titanium femur that has a gearbox right below his right hip.

"I feel fine," he said to Fox 5 Atlanta. "I'm living life, and I'm living it well."

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